Menu Close

New DVDs from DreamWorks for Family Fall Viewing {Giveaway}

We have had some awesome weather here in southern Ontario so far this fall. But the evenings are definitely getting colder, and the days are definitely getting shorter. I’m already finding myself looking longingly at our fireplace and daydreaming about cuddling on the couch with a blanket and warm cocoa.

Top 10 Dreamworks Films Ranked

It’s getting to the time of year when we begin to spend more time indoors with our families. And our focus turns to finding new ways to keep everyone entertained and fight the cabin fever that can come from our long Canadian winters. (Can you tell I’m not a winter gal??)

Just in time for the change in the weather, DreamWorks Animation is releasing two new DVDs with episodes of some of our favourite character’s TV series.

“Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness – The Scorpion Sting” and “Monsters vs. Aliens: Cloning Around” both hit stores on October 15.

These series, based of course on the hit movies that first introduced us to these characters, provide some great family entertainment for long fall evenings on the couch. I’m a particular fan of the goofy and sweet B.O.B. from Monsters vs. Aliens, while Little Boo is big on Kung Fu Panda, given his love of martial arts.


Since Hallowe’en is just around the corner, here are a couple of fun printables for you. Just right-click the image and choose “save as” from the drop-down menu in order to save to your own computer.


Kung Fu Panda wishes you a happy Hallowe’en:

And, how about a creepy mad scientist stencil for your jack o’lantern?


A Giveaway

Dreamworks Animation is providing one lucky Raising My Boys reader with a prize pack including both of these new DVD releases. Entries are via the Rafflecopter widget below and will be accepted until 12:00 midnight EDT, October 26. Giveaway is open to Canadian and US residents, excluding Quebec. Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I did receive a DVD for my family’s viewing pleasure. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

Cyber Monday Deals from Mabel’s Labels

Surf, Shop and Be Merry! Cyber Monday is upon us, and the online deals should be great!

Using AI intelligently in cyber security - Information Age


Beginning Monday, November 26th, 9:00am, through Tuesday, November 27th at 5:00pm (EST), Mabel’s Labels is ringing in the holiday season by offering 40% off Skinny Minis, The Basic Kit, Shoe Labels, and Preschool Labels.* Mabel’s Labels products make great stocking stuffers, party favours and personalized add-ons to other gifts. And of course, this is just in time for labeling all of those new items that will find their way into your homes this holiday season. I know I will need labels for the new winter boots and snowsuit we’ll be picking up this week.


Hurry – before this offer ends!


Happy Shopping!

Ain’t Misbehavin’ – Review and Giveaway – We Have a Winner!

Lisa_june said…


I would love to read this book. My 3 year old is starting to act up with my 10 month old. I think sibling rivalry is beginning. This book will help me get some tools to react appropriately.

Ain't Misbehavin' Sheet music for Piano | Download free in PDF or ...



Congratulations Lisa! I’ll be passing along your name and mailing address to MomCentral for delivery of your prize. I am sure you will find it helpful.


Thanks to everyone for reading and entering.


Unique Mother’s Day Gift Idea from Canadian Tire

With Mother’s Day fast approaching, are you still looking for unique gift ideas for the special mom in your life? Or are you pondering what you’d like to receive for yourself? Have you ever considered how special a clean car can feel? Canadian Tire has. How about dad and the kids pitching in to give your vehicle a Mother’s Day make-over so you can chauffeur in style?

Mother's Day 2020: Gift guide for last-minute delivery gifts -


For me, some days it really feels like I live in my mom van. Thankfully, with the change in schools, I’m now walking Little Boo to school, but there’s still the driving to karate and swimming and soccer. Plus playdates and doctor’s appointments. And then there’s drives to and from the dog park with a stinky and often muddy pup. None of that even touches on my own activities and my chores – pilates classes, grocery shopping, masses of errands. You’ll often find me quickly sneaking in my breakfast or lunch while en route. And there’s usually a coffee at hand.


All of this leads to a kinda messy driving environment. The crumbs, spills, smells, and assorted debris add up. Salt and mud from the past few months had made a solid hold on my vehicle as well. I was pretty excited when Canadian Tire contacted me with an invite to check out their line of DIY detailing products. Better? Their crew was going to do all the work, pampering both me and my van. Sweet!


First, I want to show you a few pics of the “before” situation:

I probably should be embarrassed to share these with you, but I trust you, and I’ve shared worse here. You can see the coffee spills and dog hair, the muddy smears and the masses of pine needles from the tree next to our driveway. The crew actually found a pine cone in my glove box. Don’t ask. I have no memory of putting it in there.

This was all in my glovebox. Years of build-up. Duplicates of take-out menus. Kazillions of drive-thru napkins and ketchup packets. Just take a peek in your glove box, I dare you! See what you’ll find.


Basically, my van was cringe-worthy and not a pleasant environment. But then the CT crew started working their magic. While I sipped on coffee and learned about the products they were using.


Don’t forget the tires and rims! I never knew they could shine so bright.

For the tires they used Simoniz Tire Foam – thick foam clings to tire and dissolves dirt, mud and grime; helps to clean, shine and protect – and Autoglym Custom Wheel Cleaner – uses a special blend of biodegradable surfactants, solvents, and alkalis to safely dissolve brake dust, corrosion and traffic film from the most intricate and elaborate wheel designs. The Tire Foam works without scrubbing and doesn’t need rinsing either. For the rims, they scrubbed with a Simoniz Wheel & Fender Brush, then rinsed.

Here are a few “after” pics. See how everything shines? It smelled great too! They finished the job with a Febreze Auto Vent Clip and a line of Rubbermaid organisers.


Those Tub O’ Towels you see in the second image? They replaced my napkin collection. Not only will these extra large fibre-weave towels remove grease, oil, bugs, stains off any surface inside or outside your car, they also are

gentle on hands, containing lanolin, aloe vera and vitamin E. I used one myself after I pitched in to help remove a greasy mess (I am incapable of truly letting people look after me) and I was pleasantly surprised at how soft my hands felt afterwards. They smelled great too.





Here are some car cleaning tips from CT to get your own family crew started:



Step 1 – Clean the Interior. Remove loose items including floor mats and contents inside glove boxes, and trays. Vacuum and spot treat, and follow up by cleaning the dash, door handles and other vinyl surfaces using a protectant. Using protectants regularly can help prevent cracking and fading due to sun damage, and keep interiors looking new. (try – Armor All 4-pack Wipes)

Step 2 – Shine the Windows. Tackle that thin film, fingerprints and other marks that can cause buildup on interior auto window surfaces. Using glass cleaner that is specially formulated for use in cars won’t contain ammonia like household varieties, which can harm automotive window tint. (try – Invisible Glass)

Step 3 – Wash the Exterior. Rinse to loosen dirt, including bird droppings and bugs, which can damage the car’s paint. You can try new products designed specifically to remove droppings or bugs. Using the wash mitts or sponges, scrub the surface. Don’t use household soaps to clean your car’s exterior; properly formulated products are safe for you vehicle’s wax coat and will work with cold water. Some products combine both wash and wax for greater convenience. Use a drying towel to bring out the shine. (try – Simoniz Wash & Wax)

Step 4 – Focus on Tires and Rims. Special rim cleaners, tire foams and tire gels can help not only remove brake dust and road grime, but protect tires and rims to keep them looking new. Use a wheel brush to scrub away dirt. (see above!)


So, do you think your kids might gift you with a DIY car makeover this Mother’s Day? Have them make it a fun family task with dad on a warm weekend morning. It might become a habit!



Disclosure: I received a complimentary car make-over, along with a variety of products so I could have my family keep up the clean at home. No other compensation was received. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

Me and My Windows Phone { #summerswitch }

I’m half-way through my test-drive of the Nokia Lumia 920 Windows Phone. Time for an update! What do I love? What do I not love? There’s stuff on both sides to be sure.

Microsoft Delays Windows 10 Mobile's Death by One Month - ExtremeTech

The screen size. This phone has a 4.5 inch display, as compared to my iPhone 4 with a 3.5 inch display. Huge difference! Whether reading an email, writing myself a note, or watching a video, this larger display makes for a more enjoyable experience, and easier on my eyes. The phone is bigger and heavier than my old phone, but neither is an issue. And it is really not heavy at all compared to phones I had in the past! I quite like the substantial feel of it in my hand.

Live Tiles. These allow me to pin my most used apps to my start screen for easy access. But the tiles don’t just sit there. Many of them update me with the most currently available information. My AccuWeather tile is constantly updating the current conditions and forecast highs and lows. My pinned email account lets me know how many new messages have arrived. The pin for my photos scrolls through my camera roll,
providing a constant slide show. One of my faves – “My Daily Planner” app gives me the option to pin a tile which shows me my daily events, updated automatically each day. I can do the same with my daily tasks. Super easy to keep me on track!

The camera. Now, I’ve been reading some of the reviews from my fellow testers, who have mixed views on the camera. Primarily because of a lack of sharpness in the images. I have to admit that I probably just don’t have the eye to notice that. Much like Hubs can’t understand why I don’t care whether or not we watch a movie in HD. For me, the quality of the 8.7 mp camera with image stabilization and a Carl Zeiss lens is great in normal shooting situations. I do find the zoom produces a very blurry image (not unlike my experiences with my iPhone camera), and shooting into a lighted area from a darker one creates a pretty spectacular field of just light. But, I have my Nikon for more challenging photo shoots. Overall I have been very impressed with the quality of the pictures I’ve taken with this phone.

The camera related apps and lenses. Fun! The native editing tools in Creative Studio are awesome. The standard crop, rotate and auto-fix are available of course, but Creative Studio also provides a set of filters (like with Instagram) plus the ability to enhance focus and create blur, allowing you to highlight particular areas of your image. Edit your photos right on your phone!

For those of us with wiggly kids, a lens called Smart Shoot may become a best friend. When using this lens, the camera will take a quick series of 5 images with your single click. Then it will present you with the set of 5 so you can choose and save the best. You might actually get everyone looking at the camera at the same time.

And CamWow is just a bunch of fun. This lens is packed full of filters and distortions to add some innovation to your picture taking. I’m a fan of the pop art look myself.

This sketchy one is fun too.


And I can’t forget panorama.


– Nokia apps. In particular I love the Nokia Music streaming service and Mix Radio. There are numerous curated playlists in different genres. You can buy a premium subscription for enhanced sound quality and the ability to skip an unlimited number of songs you don’t like each month. But the quality and variety in the free service is great. These playlists are a great way to find new favourites, or to just find the music that suits your mood on a particular day. You can pin a playlist to your start screen for easiest access, and can even save material to make it available offline.


Office functionality. I can open and edit Microsoft Office documents. Enough said.

Document formats supported: Excel, PDF, Word, OneNote, Powerpoint


Things I Don’t Love So Much

Availability of apps. I mentioned this in my first post. There are a number of apps I am missing, including Hootsuite, Instagram, and some games. Instance is an ok way to access my Instagram account, but it doesn’t have the same or as many filters. I am using Rowi for Twitter, and I’ll probably adjust to that. My bank doesn’t (yet) have a mobile banking app for the Windows Phone. The WPBlogger app is pretty useless. You can just type and post – no saving as a draft, no ability to add images. I gather the WordPress app is much better though and have heard good things from friends mobile blogging with that. I hope more and better apps will become available over time, as the Windows Phones become more widely used.


Although this app issue may be allowing me to break my sudden Candy Crush addiction. Just saying.


The search button. This little magnifying glass icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen has become the bane of my existence. I am constantly bumping into it and having my screen shift to the Bing search screen. I realise this is a my clumsiness issue, but it’s in an awkward spot for me. It would be great if I could have a way to disable it. (I have disabled it from the lock screen, but that’s the most I could find.)



So, it looks like the pros are outweighing the cons so far. Will report back again soon!

Float Your Way to Relaxation at the Rest Nest Float Club

When the stresses of everyday life start to get too much, we may turn to such treatments as massage therapy, or maybe try meditation or yoga. Actually, we should be investing the time and effort to protect ourselves with these treatments and activities before stress gets overwhelming. An ounce of prevention and all that. Am I right? I was recently invited to try out a new, relaxing spa treatment here in Toronto at the Rest Nest Float Club . What is floating? Well, a little bit of heaven is my answer to that.

What I wish I knew before my first float – Palm Ave Float Club ...


Floating is about eliminating sensory input to allow total relaxation. Alone in a private pod, within a private room, you float in 10 inches of water and dissolved magnesium salts. There is no sound, and there can be no light. The water is set at body temperature, so you even cease to feel that after a while. No inputs. No efforts. Total relaxation. Sensory deprivation in the best of ways.

The Rest Nest is a brand new location, extremely clean and comfortable, with lots of light and great atmosphere. There is reception and a seating area on the ground floor, with an attendant desk, lounge, lockers, and treatment rooms upstairs. Complimentary tea and water are provided and guests are encouraged to take the time to slowly ease back into their day after their float. There’s even free wi-fi! Rest Nest has three float pods, each in its own treatment room with a private shower. The treatment area is separated from the main room by a closed door to dampen sound, although each room is itself fairly soundproof. This experience is all about tranquility.

Now, I am claustrophobic, so I was initially hesitant to try this treatment. What would it be like in the pod? How hard is it to open? Will I feel trapped? The owner reassured me and suggested that I could always try with the pod open at first and then lower the lid when/if I felt comfortable doing so. I’m trying to test my limits lately (like wall climbing!) so I went for it. And it really wasn’t claustrophobic at all. The pods are quite large and I could sit up comfortably in them with plenty of room to spare. That tiny little opening under the lid doesn’t look like much, but it’s ample for air flow. The lid itself is easy to lift and lower with one hand so I never felt trapped.

The pod is filled with about 10 inches of extremely salt water. You will float with absolutely no difficulty. It feels very secure and comforting. You can choose to float in total darkness, or use one of the softly coloured light options, via a button inside. The pod is also outfitted with a spray bottle of unsalted water and a clean cloth, in case you get the salt in your eyes.The red button in the picture is a “panic” button, just in case you have a problem or start to freak out. It sends a signal to the attendant who will immediately come and check on you. They haven’t had anyone press that button yet though ??

How was my experience? I honestly loved it. I will say though that the first session felt a little strange and it wasn’t so easy to let myself relax. I had one moment of worry, not really panic, during my first visit. I had put the lid fully down after a few minutes, and that was fine. But then I turned out the lights. I felt wonderful, even opening my eyes to fully appreciate the complete darkness. And then I started to THINK. Wrong. This experience is about letting go and clearing your mind and relaxing. And when I started to think, I realised I no longer knew which way I was facing in the pod. Was I near the button for the light? What if I pushed the panic button instead? Could I find where to push up on the lid? All of these thoughts were pretty silly really, because I just had to sit up and feel the curve of the lid to orient myself. I was completely safe. I found the light, turned it on and enjoyed the rest of my session. On my second visit I was much more prepared, and I even managed to reach a sort of trance state in the pod, not quite asleep, but not quite awake either. And in total dark for the whole session.


Mentally, the float helped me to empty my mind and give up my stressors for at least a short time. Physically, the float eased my muscle aches, relaxed my body, and gave me an overall sense of well-being. I came out feeling fabulous, and the benefits lasted for days. Honestly, even looking at the image of the open pod above helps me to relax.

Bottom line – this one gets my strong recommendation. But promise me that if you try it, you won’t give up if you aren’t sold after your first float. The experience is so different than anything you’ve likely done before it does take a little adjusting. My first float was great, and I didn’t leave with a negative feeling at all, but it wasn’t all it could be. My second I was able to give in to the relaxation more easily and the experience was incredible.

The Rest Nest Float Club is located in the downtown neighbourhood of Yorkville, at 21 Yorkville Ave. There are numerous parking garages in the area, including one just down the block. On-street parking is available but extremely limited. The location does offer so many options for lunch or shopping before or after your treatment, so make a day of it if you can. Float sessions are 60 minutes long, and cost $100 per, or 3 sessions for $240. You can also buy a membership with one float each month at a cost of $80 monthly. So the costs are about the same as a massage.

Keep in touch with Rest Nest on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Happy floating!!

Disclosure: I received complimentary treatments to facilitate this review. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

Cherry-Picking Time

When we moved into this house 6 years ago, there was a little spindly cherry tree sapling in the backyard. The first couple of years we were here it produced basically nothing. Three summers ago it started to show some promise, but there wasn’t much fruit, it was small, and the birds got it all before we could. Last year, more improvement. I managed to pick some cherries, but they weren’t ripening properly and were mostly rotting on the tree before they got to maturity.

U.S.: Northwest cherry prices stronger in 2019 -

This year though? This year it’s an embarrassment of cherry riches.


Little Boo has been helping me in the garden, and he loves to pick cherries. I use the step ladder and he picks from the low branches from the ground. Here’s my basket from the other day:


And here’s his:


Yup. That is precisely how long his attention span is.


I went back and filled his bucket up:


All in all I’ve been pretty impressed with our little tree this year. This was our third picking, and the tree is still laden down with more than we could ever use. Or reach. The cherries are nicely tart and juicy. Little Boo has always said he hates cherries, but now he’s delighted with them.


Anyone got a good recipe for cherry pie? Cherry jelly? Cherry anything?

Protect Your Investment with Mabel’s Ultimate Back to School Combo #BTS

Boo had a week of camp in mid-July. As I was getting his gear ready on Sunday night, I went to grab my trusty Mabel’s Labels to get his name on his new water bottle, baseball cap, etc. Except I couldn’t find them. I looked everywhere I could think of, haunted by this nagging feeling that I’d poked them away somewhere really safe. Somewhere that made perfect sense at the time. But now, it looked like they were lost forever.

Life cycle net-worth and investment strategies |

Devastated! I have a good collection after all.

This week he is at camp again, and again I went looking. No luck. But then out of the blue on Monday it hit me – I knew exactly where I had put them, and it was a totally logical spot. Labels retrieved, items named, and all is well again. For the record, Boo lost his unlabeled, new water bottle at that first camp. The first item that never found its way back to us, after all these years!

With school starting in less than two weeks, moms and dads across the country are stocking up on supplies for the new year. Backpacks, lunch bags, pencils, crayons, hoodies, indoor shoes, and more. The costs add up, but you can protect your investment and make sure your items get home again safely by labeling everything with your child’s name. Mabel’s Labels has you covered with this great combo pack of durable, washable, labels:





It’s everything you need!


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Celebrate Easter with kaboom! Entertainment and Treehouse TV! {giveaway}

We love a good family movie around here. Snuggling on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn and a special show is a great way to relax and re-connect. And with March Break this week, and the Easter holidays coming soon, there’s lots of extra time to enjoy some of our favourites. Just in time for all the coming down time, kaboom! Entertainment has released a great assortment of DVDs for the young kids in your life.

Easter Monday in Belgium in 2021 | Office Holidays

On March 3rd the brand new Treehouse Ultimate Collection Cube hit the stores. Inside a fun, colourful storage cube you’ll find over 100 episodes of your favourite Treehouse TV shows on 10 DVDs – Toopy and Binoo, Franklin, Max & Ruby, The Berenstein Bears, Octonauts and My Big, Big Friend. I have to admit I am to this day a huge Toopy and Binoo fan. I love how goofy Toopy can be, and their adventures are always such fun. These shows are a wonderful encouragement to let your imagination run wild.

March 10th, saw the release of the first DVD for Zack & Quack – Zack & Quack: Popping Hopping Easter. This series follows the adventures of a boy named Zack and his best friend, an impulsive young duck called Quack, who live inside the most amazing pop-up book ever! It’s a place full of fantastical surprises – where pulling pop-ups makes exciting and unexpected things happen. This is a new one to me, since Boo is beyond the Treehouse stage now. But both of my boys always loved pop-up books, so I can imagine how engaging this show is for the pre-school set. This DVD has 5 episodes, including “The Pop-Up Easter Egg Hunt.” Will Zack & Quack be able to help the Easter Bunny get her special chocolate chickens back to the coop in time to save Easter? Watch and see!

And finally, why not round out your Easter viewing with a little bunny love? Guess How Much I Love You: The Adventures of Little Nutbrown Hare – Someone Special includes 7 episodes of this series featuring the Little Nutbrown Hare and his dad, providing 80 minutes of sweet family entertainment. This series is a lovely adaptation of the books and a special way to celebrate the love of parent and child.

Although Boo is a little out of the age range for these shows (when did he become a tween, exactly?), I am looking forward to gifting these DVDs to my cousin’s young girls when we celebrate Easter with them in just a few weeks. I know they’ll be super excited!

You can keep in touch with kaboom! Entertainment on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

A Giveaway

One lucky Raising My Boys reader will receive their own bundle of family entertainment, including all the DVDs mentioned here! Entries are via the Rafflecopter widget below and will be accepted until 12:00 midnight EDT, March 26, 2015. Giveaway is open to Canadian residents only, excluding Quebec. Best of luck!

Vacation Time – Sort Of

Hello my dear friends! As of August 1, I am officially on vacation. Sort of. Boo and I left Friday afternoon to fly home to Newfoundland for our annual visit. And I took the weekend totally off from blogging. But I didn’t stay off line. Oh no. You see, my mom is about as addicted to Facebook as I am, and so we spent Saturday night sitting in the front room, enjoying a drink and some lovely music (VOCM’s Cabin Party – classic country, for the record) while we both played on Facebook and commented back and forth on the goings on we saw. It’s how we roll.

Your Summer Vacation Plans & COVID-19 | UKNow

We have a lot of plans for the next two weeks, but I do still have some writing to do while I’m here. The focus of most posts will be on family fun and family travel. We were checking out some fun attractions around the GTA before we headed out, and I’ve saved those posts for now. They’ll be coming up over the next little while, and hopefully will help you plan the rest of your summer. You can see many pictures from our adventures over on the Raising My Boys Facebook page.

There’ll also be posts about our adventures here in the far east of the western world. This afternoon we are heading to Middle Cove Beach to hunt for sea stars and jelly fish. Or just climb on the rocks. Plus, I need to dip my toes in the North Atlantic again.


So, be good while I’m gone. But I’m not really gone. Does a blogger ever really take a vacation?