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HGG2012 – A Lush-ious Holiday

We can all use a little pampering now and then. Gorgeous, uplifting or calming fragrances. Soothing oils. Masses of scrumptious bubbles in a bath. Products to clean our bodies and cleanse our minds are always a great option for holiday gift giving. We know this is true for the gals on our lists (and for ourselves), but it is true for our kids as well. Anything that encourages them to get in that tub and spend some time with the soap is a good thing.

ONE Bank Ltd.

Enter Lush Cosmetics. I love walking into their retail stores. So many aromas tickling my senses and instantly bringing on a sense of both luxury and calm. I recently visited with Little Boo for the launch of a new product – FUN! I can best describe this as a cross between play-doh and soap, with great scents, no preservatives, and a biodegradable wrapper. FUN is a 4-in-1 product, combining soap, shampoo, bubble bath, and a modelling compound for bath time play.




Available in five different colours and scents, this all-purpose bath staple will keep your kids in the tub and enjoying themselves until they are squeaky clean and smell incredible. I have been tearing off a chunk of one or two colours for Little Boo and letting him mold his creations, then suds himself up for a top to toe cleaning. He thinks FUN really is fun. FUN retails for just $6.95 for a 250g tube, and 2.5% of all sales are contributed to the FUNd, a LUSH initiative which supports charities in Fukushima, Japan that create safe places for children to play outside after the 2011 tsunami, earthquake, and nuclear disaster. This would be a great stocking stuffer for kids of all ages, and a gift that gives twice!



Of course, Lush has many other items specially designed for holiday giving and receiving.


The Captain Bubblebeard Reusable Bubble Bar ($9.95) is reminiscent of Santa’s own mustache, and is a cute way to add skin-softening bubbles to your tub. There’s some snowflake sparkle in there too.


The Ickle Baby Bot ($3.95) is designed to relax and ease your wee one to sleep, and would appeal to any young boy on your list. Robots are always a hit.




Lush also offers a wide array of gift sets, from the $11.95 Secret Santa for those office exchanges, to the Wonderful Christmastime at $199.95 for your sweetie, so there’s a gift option for all budgets and needs. You can visit to find a store near you, or to shop online (my favourite!)

A Giveaway

Now, just for you, Lush is offering one of my dear readers a special treat of their own for the holidays. I mean, I guess you could gift it but I’m pretty sure I’d keep it for myself if I won. We busy women can always use some pampering. Lush has provided one of their special gift collections, a Christmas Candy Box, which will be going out to a lucky Raising My Boys reader in Canada. This prize includes one Rock Star Soap, a 3.3 oz Snow Fairy Shower Gel, Candy Mountain Bubble Bar, Butterball Bath Bomb, and a Bubble Gum Lip Scrub. Prize retails for $39.95.

Entry is via the Rafflecopter widget below. Giveaway is open to Canadian residents only, and entries will be accepted until 12:00 midnight EDT, Nov. 30.

A Pawsitively Warm Winter for Your Feline Friend!

I’m amazed to see how much our dog loves the snow. The first flakes start to fall and she just wants to run outside and romp around and catch the snowflakes on her tongue. I think she’s a weirdo. She only starts to complain when it gets too deep for her short beagle legs. I shovelled a path for her to run on after the storm we had last week, and she’s all about the backyard once again.

27 Best Winter Quotes - Short Sayings and Quotes About Winter

Me and the cat, we’re much happier snuggling indoors in front of a roaring fire. PJ Tricky is not a fan of the snow and cold. He takes after me and pretty much refuses to go outside until he sees green grass again, So, we’re hibernating together and enjoying lots of cuddles. Plus, he’s pretty big, so he keeps me nice and warm when he jumps up on my lap.

Our pets really are family members, and it’s important that we look after them and keep them feeling happy and comfortable in our homes. I know I become a lot more sedentary this time of year, so I get a lot more bonding time with PJ as we watch movies or read or whatever.

According to the Ontario SPCA, nearly one-fifth of adopted cats were returned to shelters in Ontario in 2013, post-holiday. The top three reasons included cats conflicting with other pets in the home, allergic reactions, or facing behavioural problems, including litter box issues. Taking the time to make an informed adoption choice, and then taking the time to help your new friend adjust to life with their new family can make all the difference.

Treat their tummies: Make sure your cats maintain a healthy and balanced diet. This may require consulting your veterinarian. Just like humans, cats have different nutritional needs depending on their age and health. Otherwise, stick to quality food and fresh, clean water. Despite popular belief, milk shouldn’t be their main source of hydration and may actually cause stomach discomfort.

Set the stage: Just like we want to curl up during the cold winter, so do our cats! That’s why it’s important to make sure your cats are comfortable. Cats are naturally very clean so an untidy litter box won’t do. Try Arm & Hammer™ Clump & Seal™ Complete Odour Sealing Cat Litter, the only litter that forms a tight seal around their mess and destroys it with unique odour eliminators and Arm & Hammer™ Baking Soda. Also, place litter boxes far from food areas and use the North and South,
East and West rule. Putting food and litter at opposite ends of your home encourages proper practices.



Toy with trinkets: Cats are incredibly curious about their surroundings. They’ll pounce on anything that moves, rolls or sways. Pair a scratching post with a ball of string, a feather teaser stick, or even a stuffed mouse – any of these will do the trick! Just be sure the items you bring are safe for your cat and cannot be swallowed or easily torn apart.

Cozy up with your furry little feline this winter and enjoy a lasting companionship!

For more tips and information on taking care of your pets, visit

Disclosure: I am a member of the Church & Dwight Ambassador Program, and as such receive special perks, products, and other compensation for my participation. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

What You Should Not Put In The Microwave

The microwave saves us from many situations when we don’t know what to cook fast or when we come tired at home after a long day at work. The food at the microwave oven is fast and helps us to win precious time with the ones we love. However, don’t confuse the microwave oven with the stove, as you can’t prepare everything at the microwave.

No matter how much you love some foods and technology, don’t cook everything with the microwave. Here are some things that you can never cook with the microwave.

Eggs in shell put in the oven is a guaranteed disaster, as it will explode before being cooked and you will need a long time to clean it: walls, the door and the rotating support.

Chicken liver can be a disastrous failure if you try the microwave. At high temperatures, the chicken liver becomes sticky and might also explode. Instead of cooked liver, you will have to clean the oven and it is not a pleasant thing to do.

Don’t think about melting butter or fats inside the microwave. The melted solution will get out of the recipient and it might even leak out of the oven. Moreover, it is believed that melted butter in the microwave can also be toxic.

Popcorn is one of the most popular things to do with the microwave, but you will need to take some cautions also. Make sure to find the right temperature: if it is too big, the corn might burn and you will not be able to eat it. If the temperature or power is too low, you will have a lot of uncooked corn in the bag and you might even break your teeth.

Don’t try to warm liquids in porcelain vases with golden ornaments. If you try to heat your coffee into such a cup, you will assist to a real spectacle of fire and artifices in the oven, or even break it completely! It seems like you can put a metallic pan inside without worries, but any gold or silver part of a cup will create those sparkles.

Real disasters with the microwave

Some other foods could transform your microwave cooking experience in a disaster.

  1. Don’t heat food in plastic recipients – unless the recipient has the label ‘microwave safe’. These recipients are resistant at high temperatures, and it does not contain harmful substances that would be released through melting. However, the majority of plastic recipients would melt and mix with the food, making it toxic and unhealthy. If you are not sure about the recipient, move the food into a safer one made of glass or ceramic. Melted plastic cannot be removed from the oven, and you will eventually have to replace it.
  2. Don’t heat baby milk bottles in the oven. Such recipients might remain cold on the outside, while the inside is really hot. Always test the temperature of the milk on your skin before giving the milk to your child.

This is called unequal heating and it is a common problem with all the microwave ovens.

MGA Entertainment Prize Pack – next in the #holidayshowcase

Tis the season for giveaways! I love bringing my readers chances to win fun and/or useful items, and I think you’ll be excited by this one. Today’s prize is a $258 prize pack of toys from MGA Entertainment. MGAE includes many popular toy brands, and for this giveaway they are offering a selection to please both boys and girls, from the Little Tikes, Lalaloopsy, and Bratz lines.

MGA Entertainment - Wikipedia




The Giveaway

  • 3 Action Adventures Robot Flashlights
    · 4 Lalaloopsy bundle
    · 4 Bratz Catz
    Total Prize Value: $258Personally, I know Little Boo would love those Robot Flashlights. He has a bit of a flashlight obsession, and add a robot to the mix? Total win!

    Entries for this giveaway are via the Rafflecopter widget below, until Dec. 9th. Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents.

Thank you to Kidsumers for organizing!

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?

Dreamworks’ Turbo Speeds Onto BluRay and DVD November 12 #TurboFastFun {Giveaway}

The little snail who could. DreamWorks Pictures’ Turbo comes to Blu-Ray and DVD on November 12, just in time for holiday giving! Turbo tells the courageous story of a little snail with big dreams of becoming a race car. Despite the discouragement he receives from his peers, Turbo knows what he is capable of. With amazingly creative celebrity performances by Ryan Reynolds, Snoop Dog, Samuel L. Jackson and Maya Rudolph, this film is great fun for the whole family.

TURBO – Need for Speed | Pragyan Thapa

I like the message here to go after your dreams and listen to your heart. This would be a wonderful movie to enjoy together, cuddled on the couch in the cold and snowy days to come. It could even inspire some conversations about the aspirations of your own little ones. Being a strong proponent of family movie night, I always include a selection of DVDs in our holiday gifts, encouraging us to spend some quality bonding time together with some giggles and popcorn. Turbo would make a great gift for your own kids, or as a family gift to give to friends.

When you give a movie, you are giving the gift of time spent together, as well as the entertainment itself. I’ll be highlighting additional new releases in this gift guide over the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, how much do you know about snails? Here are a few fun facts to share with your kids.

Snail Facts and Fun

  1. Salt is a snail’s biggest enemy! In the film, Chet falls down in the stadium and just barely makes it through the center of a pretzel! He was so relieved he didn’t touch it, because salt can kill a snail, so they have to be careful!




  1. It would take a snail 2 hours to move from one side of a football field to the other. That’s 50 yards per hour. If you ran your fastest, it would only take about 20 seconds!
    3. Some snails can be as big as 12 inches. Can you imagine a snail the size of a ruler?


  1. Garden snails have thousands of teeth, located on their tongue!
    5. Snails do not have ears, but they sure can smell! That is how they find their fruits and veggies to eat.
    6. Snails can live to be up to 20 years old!
    7. Snails are nocturnal, that means they sleep during the day and get their work done at night and in the morning. No wonder Turbo could stay up all night watching Racecar videos!
    8. A garden snail can have as many as 430 baby snails in a year!


  1. Garden snails hibernate in their shells during the winter, and some hibernate during the summer too.
    10. When a snail moves, it leaves behind a trail of liquid slime. This mucus protects them from the hard surfaces underneath them. Snails are able to hang onto walls and move upside down thanks to this slime!


A Giveaway

One lucky Raising My Boys reader will receive a copy of Turbo on Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack. Entries are via the Rafflecopter widget below and will be accepted until 12:00 midnight EST, November 23. Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents, excluding Quebec. Best of luck!!

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!

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!

Habitat’s Gingerbread Build – A Deliciously Sweet Way to Give Back as a Family

A couple of weeks back, Boo and I had the opportunity to take part in Habitat for Humanity GTA’s Gingerbread Build. It was a great chance for families to get together and create their own personal gingerbread masterpieces to take home, while enjoying a festive atmosphere and yummy treats. There were raffles, a silent auction, hot chocolate, and even visits from Santa himself!!

Photos: Gingerbread Build is edible architecture for a cause


Each kit came with a gingerbread house (either pre-built or ready for construction – your choice), and an assortment of candies and icing for decorating. You could tell that there were some seasoned pros in attendance. They were the ones who had brought a box of cereal squares with them to decorate their roofs with shingles. Every kind of gingerbread house was represented, from the randomly strewn with candies, through ones attempting designs (like ours), right up to these masterpieces. It was pretty awesome. Habitat volunteers were present with extra candies and icing for sale if you used up everything in your kit and still had the desire to decorate more.


We ended up taking ours to finish at home, along with an extra bag of icing. Boo had started outlining the windows in Nibs, and when we ran out nothing was going to substitute. I made it to Bulk Barn finally, so we’ll be finishing up our house this weekend.


This was a great opportunity for me to include Boo in my work with Habitat. He is too young to go on a real build site, but the Gingerbread Build is perfect for him. We may not be building actual homes for families in need, but 100% of funds raised from this initiative go directly to that home building. I made sure to talk to him about why we were there, and why this organisation means so much to me.


Although the build weekend is over, take-home gingerbread kits are available until Friday, Dec. 19, so there’s still time to get yours and make a difference in the lives of GTA families waiting for their home. Visit for all the details and to place your order. And don’t forget – you can also purchase a kit to donate to a family living in a local shelter, to make their holidays a little brighter.

* Gourmet Gingerbread kits include one 9″ gingerbread house in cellophane wrap, two gingerbread cookies, one red “tool box”, two bags of icing, oodles of candies and a tax receipt! *
Disclosure: I am a P&Gmom. As part of my affiliation with this group I receive products and special access to P&G events and opportunities. The opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

HGG2012 – Space Chums (CD)

More fun kids’ music on the gift guide today! Little Boo and I recently had a listen to the new CD from Toronto-based children’s entertainers, the Space Chums!, and I’m delighted to share it with you now.


The Space Chums! are Disco-Cosmonaut Nickolai, Space Ninja Linda, Galacto-Fashionista Gussy and Bleep Bloop their robot drummer. They have recently arrived from outer space and are on a mission to discover planet earth with the help of their young earthling fans “who know a thing or two about a thing or three.” Their CD is titled “Blast Off!” and includes 10 high-energy, dance-able tracks. I say we had “a listen,” but actually we put the CD on repeat and listened about 4 times through in the car.


Little Boo and I each had our own favourites. I’m a big fan of “Beeble Bop,” which is basically a silly and funny, speeding up song. LB really got into the groovy “Crazy Moves,” acting out the lyrics with his crazy booster seat dancing. “I got crazy arms, watch me dancin’, dancin’. I got crazy arms, watch me dance!” There’s also some fun rhyming action in “Word Wizard,” where Disco-Cosmonaut Nickolai proves his prowess by rhyming even the prehistoric word icthyosaurus. You’ll have to listen to hear how he does it ??

Kids’ music that is fun, upbeat, and pleasing to adult ears is always a welcome addition to our home. Music that gets you moving and grooving together as a family is a great idea for holiday giving. If you’d like to check out “Blast Off!” for yourself, you can stream it on the Space Chums website for a preview. You can support the group and purchase this album online at, either as a physical copy or an MP3 download. (Songs can be purchased individually as well.) The physical CD comes with a sticker sheet for some extra fun.



A Giveaway

The Chums have kindly provided a copy of their intergalactic CD (with stickers!) as a giveaway for one of you lucky readers. Entries are via the Rafflecopter widget below and will be accepted until 12:00 midnight EST on December 7. Open to Canadian residents only.


Best of luck!