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Mother’s Day Gifts From Blurb.com

Mother’s Day is coming up soon, and you may still be looking for ideas of what to get for the woman who gave you everything. How about a collection of memories?

Mother's Day 2020 Wishes: How to greet 'Happy Mother's Day' in ...

Blurb Designer Instant book templates allow you to easily make a professional quality photo book filled with memories for mom. Scan and upload pictures from your childhood, or hers. Or send Grandma a photo book filled with beautiful images of her grandkids.

 

Instant Books are easy to create, take about an hour, and start at just $12.99. This is definitely a present she will leave on the coffee table for everyone to see each and every day! Start creating your Blurb Designer Instant Book today and save 20% with promo code LOVEYOUMOM, valid through 5/10/13!

Blurb Yearbooks – New Discount Code

My big 25% off code for Blurb Books expired yesterday, but you can still get 15% off all books until April 30 with the code APRIL15. Plus, there’s a special new discount code available to celebrate the launch of the Blurb Yearbooks.

Our Family Photo Yearbooks: Blurb Book Review » Everyday Little ...

Remember all of those special moments of the last year? (Your child graduating and moving onto a new school, your kids first soccer season or school field trip!) Now, you can remember them forever by creating a Blurb School Book! The best part about Blurb School Books is they are easy to create and a great fundraising tool for your school or class (there are discounts for bulk orders). Or, get together with other parents and create a wonderfully meaningful teacher’s gift for the end of the year.

Use the code MYSCHOOLBOOK to receive your 15% discount* on Blurb School and Yearbooks until 5/31/2013.

*Offer valid through May 31st, 11.59pm Local time. A 15% discount is applied towards product totals for books made by you. Maximum discount avail is USD $200, CAD/AUD $250 or EUR 160. This offer is not valid for GBP purchases. This offer is good for one time use only and may not be combined with any other offers, discounts, volume discounts, gift cards or used for adjustments on previous orders.
Disclosure: I am a member of the Blurb Books affiliate program through ShareASale.com

Heard From the Backseat

 

Little Boo was playing a Mario game on his DS. He was talking about the Boos in the game, which are a kind of ghost. He said you couldn’t kill them and you couldn’t scare them. So I asked him, is that because ghosts are so scary nothing scares them? “Yeah,” he said. “Except maybe a zombie. Zombies are scarier.”

Are Backseat Seat Belts Required in Florida? » Abrahamson & Uiterwyk

—-

As I looked up and thought Hubs was about to run a red light (he wasn’t and didn’t), I inadvertently blurted out in fear, “Jesus!” A voice from the back answered, “Yes?”

Resolutions and Me

 

Happy 2011! I’m still a little shocked that 2010 is over and we’re in January already. And in a bit of denial that I have to go back to the 9-5 on Monday. Between Little Boo getting sick and then our holiday closure, I’ve been off for 2 and a half weeks, and I’m very much getting used to it.

Display resolution - Wikipedia

Lots of my friends have been talking about making New Year’s Resolutions. It is something that I used to do every year. I would even put my resolutions in writing and pin them up by my desk or carry them in my purse to remind myself and (in theory) to keep me on track. But I gave up probably a decade ago. Some resolutions stuck, some didn’t. Some caused too much anxiety when I failed. And I have to say that this is not my best time of year. Once we get past my birthday later this month, I go into a bit of a slump right through February and into March. So it’s not a great time of year for me for motivation and making changes. I mostly just need to focus on soldiering through and getting to the brighter days and warmer weather.

These days my resolutions may be made at any time of the year when I see the need for a change. It’s a bit like how I feel about Valentine’s Day I guess – why wait for one arbitrary day a year to show your love? or to start out on a new path or try a new skill?

In general, I’ve been resolving to be a more patient mother, and a more present friend. I’ve been working on getting out of the house more, networking and learning, both to help me figure out what my next career steps might be, and to create some balance and “me time” in my life. This directly feeds into my ability to become a more patient mother! These are the types of things I expect to continue working on in 2011, but I don’t consider them Resolutions. Just good decisions I made for myself and my family over the past many months.

What about you? Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? And, if you do, could you share some here?
Cheers!

Don’t Forget To Look After You!!

The Heart and Stroke Foundation tells us that the following are all warning signs of a heart attack:
• Chest discomfort (uncomfortable chest pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain, burning or heaviness)
• Discomfort in other areas of the upper body (neck, jaw, shoulder, arms, back)
• Shortness of breath
• Sweating
• Nausea
• Light-headedness”
Do you want to guess how many of these I experienced at work yesterday afternoon? Every. Single. One. Seriously. I was terrified.

Look After You (Look After You, #1) by Elena Matthews

And at the same time, part of my head was telling me, “Don’t be so silly! You are in an extremely low risk category (non-smoking, great cholesterol & blood pressure, no family history). You’re too busy to go to the hospital. What a waste of precious time. And who will pick up Little Boo from daycare?” Do any of these excuses sound familiar to you? Mom can’t go down. Period.

On the other hand, the Heart and Stroke Foundation has different advice. If you experience these symptoms? Call 9-1-1. Stop what you are doing, take an aspirin if you have the chest pain, and lie down. I was miserable, in pain, numb, short of breath, dizzy, scared.

So what did I eventually do, once the chest pain really kicked in? I walked two blocks to my preferred hospital. (I did at least take my assistant with me in case I collapsed on the sidewalk. I’m not a complete fool.) After a brief 90 minute wait (triage nurse clearly wasn’t worried by what she saw), I saw a doctor, had an ECG, and was assured that what I was really experiencing was just the worst anxiety attack I had ever encountered. The doctor took a quick history, including a run-down on the hellish week I’ve just come through, patted my hand and gave me a script for something to take when necessary. He also told me to go home and rest, take a couple of days off work. I am following those orders.
And I still made it to daycare in time to get Little Boo.

The bottom line, I decided to go with better safe than sorry. I have experienced panic attacks before, but this was unlike any other. What if I were wrong and this were a heart attack? Who would look after my family if something happened to me? So I called on my dear friends to arrange help with Little Boo. I called on my assistant (and friend) to help me to the hospital. And I called on the medical professionals to check me out and fix me if need be. I realised while in the Emergency waiting room, if any of my friends, family, or staff had reported these symptoms to me, I would have been the first to haul their butt in to a doctor.

The doctor I saw was wonderful. And he was very clear with me – I did the right thing by coming in. I want to share this story with you, my readers, to encourage you to listen to your bodies. If something doesn’t seem right, if something is scaring you, it is worth getting checked out. See your family doctor, or a walk-in, or go to emerg if necessary. Keep yourself well! Your friends and family are counting on it.

Please note: this post is in no way sponsored by or authorised by the Heart & Stroke Foundation. The opinions here are my own. The symptoms and actions listed above are from the Heart & Stroke website, as noted.

Empty Nests

I had intended to tell you a story tonight about my wonderful week. You see it’s been one of those weeks where my job really rocks. I’ve seen friends and movies, and friends at movies. I’ve had spa treatments and enjoyed cocktail parties and helped to launch charitable events. My work isn’t always this eventful or “in-person” social, so this week really stood out. And I’m now exhausted, but in a really good way.

Empty Nest Advice — Empty Nest Syndrome Tips and Solutions

But something not very awesome at all happened at some point Wednesday evening or overnight.

The baby robins are gone.

Hubs had chased away some crows earlier in the day who’d been showing a little too much interest in the nest. And then all seemed well. The parents were taking turns watching and feeding the babies. I got to see them lifting up their little beaks to accept the worms. I didn’t have time to grab the camera and take a picture, and told myself I’d get one another day. But it was not to be.

When I got home Wednesday evening, there was no parent at the nest. And no parent when I glanced out the window while making coffee. When I came back to pour my first cup, there was again/still no parent, so I went to investigate. And I found an empty nest.

I talked to Hubs and he commented that he didn’t see any robins when he got home the night before either, and had worried. It’s all very sad, but I guess it’s the circle of life, right? Crows and Common Grackles are known to be natural predators to robins and likely one or the other of these chased off the parents and grabbed the babies while we were away.

So now I feel guilty for being away for 7 or 8 hours. Like the babies were my responsibility, which I know they weren’t , but still.

I’ve read that robins build a new nest for each new clutch of eggs, plus I don’t think this was a great location for them anyway. The hanging basket kept the babies safe from squirrels and chipmunks, but there was no coverage to hide the nest from flying predators. So, I removed the nest, intact, and sent it in to school with Boo. His teacher said she will use it in the science curriculum. It is in awesome shape, since it didn’t fall out of a tree or anything. You can really see and appreciate the amount of work that went in to weaving the grasses and twigs and cementing it all with mud. The structure also includes some strings and ribbons momma found, and the nest is lined with really soft grasses. It is a thing of beauty.

I truly hope that momma and daddy robin have better luck with a second set of eggs, and that they find a more secret place to safely raise their family.

Legoland – It’s Our Turn Now!

Lego is truly a toy to entertain across the generations. I love watching my three boys – the dad, the teen, and the schoolager all bonding over their building projects. Actually, our Lego collection itself spans the generations, including bricks that Hubs played with as a boy, right up through sets bought for the boys over the last couple of decades. When a new set or series is announced, I think Hubs is even more excited than the 7 year-old.

Resort Village LEGOLAND Feriendorf, Günzburg, Germany - Booking.com

For grown-ups like my big boys, LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Toronto will be holding a series of adult only evenings, beginning on May 29, 2013. For these events, the centre will open its doors to give adult visitors a chance to leave the kids at home and reconnect with their own childhoods. In conjunction with Superhero movies like Iron Man 3, Man of Steel and The Wolverine coming out this summer, the first adult only night will be Superhero themed.

Adult night will take place from 6:00 – 9:00 pm, and tickets can be purchased online for $15 or at the door for $19. In addition to the café and LEGO shop, guests will have access to the LEGO Factory Tour, MINILAND, Kingdom Quest laser ride, Merlin’s Apprentice and the 4D Cinema. LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Master Model Builder, Graeme Dymond will lead building challenges throughout the evening. Each of the activities in the attraction will be set up to win prizes, including a Superhero scavenger hunt in MINILAND, Kingdom Quest High Score Challenge and a Superhero vehicle building competition at the Build and Test racetrack.

Adult Night’s will also feature fun, interactive games and photo opportunities. On May 29, there will be a costume theme and all guests are encouraged to come dressed as their favourite superhero and take action shot photos in front of a green screen to win a prize! Voting for Best Dressed and Best Builds will take place at 8:00 pm, with winners being announced at 8:30 pm.

On the grown-up event dates, LEGOLAND Discovery Centre will be open to the public during the day, with the last admission being at 4:00 pm, and adults’ night beginning at 6:00 pm. Only those 18 years of age or older will be granted access after 6:00 pm.

I’m not sure the costume theme would appeal to Hubs or the Teen, but the chance to get kid-free access to the Legoland Discovery Centre for an evening of building certainly would. These evenings will provide a wonderful opportunity for any grown-ups without kids to experience the Centre, as unaccompanied adults are not normally admitted.

My Soda Stream, My Love!

I don’t usually drink a lot of pop, though I do love it. My boys, especially the Teen, would drink it constantly if I let them. So, when I heard about the Soda Stream company, I was intrigued. The concept of making our own pop at home, with our own tap water certainly appealed to me, both from a cost-saving and a convenience factor. Not to mention the environmental impact. With Soda Stream you re-use your bottles over and over again for up to 3 years, rather than creating masses of plastic bottles needing to go to recycling. And the Soda Stream bottles are BPA-free.

SODASTREAM Spirit Pink Blush - Soda Maker | Alzashop.com

 

But how does this all work? And, most importantly, how does the pop taste??

 

Soda Stream machines require no electricity or batteries. The fizz comes from a CO2 carbonating cylinder and a simple push (or pushes) of a button. More pushes = more carbonation, so you can choose how fizzy you’d like your drink to be. Also, because you add the flavour syrups yourself, you can choose how sweet and/or flavourful your drink will be. Because the machines require no electricity, they are very portable and would be a great option for a small kitchen with few outlets, and are easy to carry to a different room, on a picnic, etc.

 

As for taste, my family is impressed. When I introduced the Teen to the machine he was more excited than I’ve seen him in ages. Seriously, it was pretty awesome to see. We did a quick training session, and he crafted himself a bottle of orange pop. Which was devoured in minutes. We’ve tried a number of different sodamixes so far, and haven’t had a miss yet. Cola, Diet Cola, Orange, Ginger Ale, Lemon-Lime, and more all taste as you would expect them to. They taste like the name brand versions, not the discount or no-name labels. Even the root beer, which I was worried about, received the seal of approval from the Teen. He declared it excellent and likened it to the root beer of a rather well-known fast food/root beer establishment.

 

From a mom’s perspective, I like that I can be in charge of how much syrup is flavouring our pop now. And I appreciate that the mixes are sweetened with cane sugar rather than HFCS. This pop is lower in carbs and calories than store-bought pop, which definitely works for me. Here is a sample comparison from the Soda Stream website:

 

Prepared Size: 250 mL

Coca-Cola Cola
Calories 100 35
Fat/lipides 0 g 0 g g
Saturated/ saturés + Trans/ trans 0 g 0 g g
Sodium 30 mg 2 mg mg
Carbohydrate/ Glucides 27 g 7 g g
Fibre/ Fibres 0 g 0 g g
Sugars/ Sucres 27 g 7 g g
Protein/ Protéines 0 g 0 g g

Looks good to me! If we are going to drink pop, I would rather it look like the column on the right. The Teen is heading off to college in the fall, and I’ve decided that one of these machines will make a great addition to his dorm room. Let’s face it – I know there will be far too many nights of pizza and root beer. If he makes his own pop he’ll be saving money and drinking a little healthier.

 

Soda Stream systems, carbonators, and syrups can be purchased from a variety of retailers or online at their own website. I recommend purchasing one of their variety packs to start out, so you can sample a number of flavours at once. Each of the 500ml bottles of sodamix will make 12 litres of pop.

Disclosure: I received a Soda Stream Jet system starter pack and sodamix to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received. All opinions on this blog remain my own.

Educate Yourself #WorldMeningitisDay

Today, April 24th, is World Meningitis Day, and yesterday I participated in a webinar designed to share information about this devastating disease. The experts on the panel, Alyson Schafer, Dr. Dave Greenberg, and Furakh Mir, provided a wealth of information on prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes. Furakh, founder of Meningitis Relief Canada (MRC), shared her own story as the mother of a child who contracted meningitis at one week old.(He is now a happy and healthy toddler, but continues to be monitored for any possible developmental issues arising from his early illness.) You can read her son’s full story on the MRC website.

World Meningitis Day - What is Meningitis and How To Treat It

Meningitis has always scared me, but I really didn’t know too much about it. What I did know was that it is a potentially life-threatening disease, that presents much like a flu. This is scary, because the symptoms could so easily be dismissed, and by the time these symptoms are recognised for what they are, it could be too late. One important point that Furakh made in her talk, and that Dr. Dave really emphasised as well, is to trust your instincts on this one. You know your child better than anyone else. Your child may have a fever and still be able to play and essentially still act like themselves. But if you notice a marked change in behaviour, lethargy, etc., and your child doesn’t seem “right,” bring them to your doctor or the hospital. Be sure your physician understands the behaviour change, and advocate for further tests or care. (But don’t be rude!)

I encourage you to visit Meninfo.ca to learn more about this disease, its symptoms, prevention and more. Knowledge is power. Know what you’re looking for!

I’m going to share with you some myths and facts about this disease, which actually is a pretty good synopsis of key points from the webinar.

Meningitis Disease – Myths and Facts

There is only one type of meningitis. MYTH – Meningitis can be caused by different germs including viral, bacterial and fungal. A viral infection is less severe and can typically be treated at home. Bacterial meningitis occurs when bacteria enters the blood and migrates to the spinal area. Given the rapid progression and severity of meningitis, medical attention should be sought immediately if someone suspects meningitis.

Meningitis has flu like symptoms. FACT – Early symptoms of meningitis are similar to flu symptoms, including fever, headache, stiff neck and vomiting. Other symptoms can include confusion, light sensitivity and no interest in eating or drinking. If you notice these symptoms, seek medical attention.

Meningitis is easy to diagnose. MYTH – Because early symptoms are very similar to symptoms of other illnesses especially the flu, cases of meningitis can be overlooked and misdiagnosed initially. It’s important at the onset of symptoms to seek immediate treatment.

Meningitis will go away on its own. MYTH – Bacterial meningitis requires quick and aggressive treatment and can result in devastating consequences including varying degrees of blindness, deafness, paralysis and intellectual disabilities or death.

Canadian children and young adults are most susceptible to meningitis. FACT – Children under one year of age and adolescents (15-19 years old) are among the age groups with the highest incidence of meningitis.5 College and university students are also susceptible to contracting meningitis 6 because of their increased likelihood of sharing items such as drinks, utensils and cigarettes.

Meningitis can be contracted by casual contact. MYTH – Meningitis is spread through direct contact with an infected person through the droplet route by means of respiratory secretions when air or liquid secretions are shared.

All vaccines to prevent against meningococcal disease are the same. MYTH – Most meningococcal infections are caused by five different strains, A, C, Y, W-135, and B. Vaccines are currently available against four of the five strains, A, C, Y and W-135, 8 and a vaccine against the B strain is under review.

Canadian children who have received meningitis vaccines are protected against all strains. MYTH – Many Canadians feel that their children are protected against all meningococcal disease, however, this is a misconception. There is currently no protection available for meningitis B,9 however Health Canada is currently reviewing for approval and use for Canadians, the first meningitis B vaccine. This vaccine would be the final piece of the meningitis vaccination puzzle.

And here’s a video produced by Meninfo.ca and released for World Meningitis Day – please share to spread the word and raise awareness!

The Speroway Blog

 

I just thought I’d post a quick follow-up on the Speroway Share & Win contest and their fundraising efforts for Haiti. Speroway has their own blog, and yesterday they posted about their efforts to build the new medical clinic, and they included some pictures. You can check it out here.

Speroway | Food. Education. Health. | Speroway

Speroway is a registered Canadian charity doing great work at home and abroad, specifically in the area of relief work with children (food, education, medical). Please consider making a gift if you can.