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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 gingerbreadbuild.weebly.com 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.

Finish Quantum vs. Eggplant Parmigiana

Cheesy, yummy goodness. I love eggplant parmigiana. It’s not the fave of the rest of my family, but sometimes Mom gets to pick the meal. When that happens around here, it’s usually some kind of baked pasta. Often lasagna, but eggplant parmigiana is a special treat.

Eggplant: Health benefits and nutritional information

However, as yummy as it is, I don’t love cleaning up after it. Baked on mozzarella and parm are not fun to get off. Check out this baked-on, hardened, sticky mess.

 

The bottom of the pan is never too bad, since it’s the eggplant slices that sit directly on it. But the edges are always coated with stuck-on, baked-on cheese. In my experience, this is not an easy clean-up job.

This is the type of dish that Hubs would just put in the dishwasher. Then I would re-wash it with a nylon scrubbie after it came out. (We have a history with this. Sometimes I wonder if he does it on purpose to create more work for me, since he doesn’t really like baked pastas.)

I have not had much success with my usual detergent getting off baked-on cheese, or starchy things like mashed potatoes or white rice. But, since I have joined the #FinishRevolution, and I have been challenged to get a messy dinner cleaned up with Finish Quantum in the dishwasher … in it went.

I did wait til the next night to get a full load as well. So it had some time to really dry out and set in. Was I nervous? A little. But Finish Quantum had been doing well for me so far.

The results? Surprising and exciting! See for yourself:

 

 

Sparkly clean! There were a few little dried bits left (you can see one if you look closely at the first picture). But they flicked off with my fingernail. The turners came clean too:

 

(Please ignore the holes in my counter top. It’s on “the list.”)

What do you think? Personally, I think this experiment was a success!

underWAY – review and giveaway

I’ve mentioned here before that I’m trying to lose some weight. I think many of us, especially as we are staring down the barrel of swimsuit season, are feeling the same way. I’ve been trying to cut back on my calorie intake, and drinking lots of water, but I find I am always starving!!! And a hungry me is not a pleasant me. (Just ask the Hubs.)

Underway or Under Way – The Correct Way to Use Each - Queens, NY ...

 

So, I was pretty excited to hear about this product – underWAY supplement drinks – and to be invited to try it out and participate in this MomCentral blog tour. I was sent a big package of underWay drinks and Smart for Life products (cookies, cupcakes, soup, cereal, shake, etc.)

I received 4 bottles each of two flavours of underWAY – grape and acai-pomegranate. Each bottle is considered to be two servings – 10 calories per serving and only 2 grams of carbs. Each bottle has 9 grams of fibre. The drink is not only a supplement, but an appetite suppressant. The fibre is a special formulation called HeroFiber, a soluble dietary fiber that helps maintain normal levels of cholesterol, glucose and insulin that are already in the normal range and promotes slower absorption so we feel fuller longer. So, drinking one of these between meals, you are not only hydrating with a sodium- and caffeine-free beverage, you are also tricking your stomach into thinking you are consuming more calories than you are, and fighting against the urge to snack. Plus, we all know fibre is important in our diet, so getting more is a good thing.

Of the two flavours, grape is definitely my favourite, though both are good. I guess I would compare them to something like a sport drink flavour, or weak kool-aid. Not too intense, not really sweet, nicely refreshing. I found the Acai-Pomegranate to have a bit of an aftertaste, though it didn’t last long. The Grape I am really enjoying and haven’t noticed any aftertaste. There is also an Orange flavour, according to the website. I’m not sure how to describe this, but the drink felt “hearty” going down. Not thick really, but substantial. I had one last night on my way to an event, having not had time to eat dinner. I was hungry, but not starving. I drank a full underWAY and I really did feel satisfied and conquered my desire to dash through a drive-thru somewhere on my way. I was happy with that. I can see these drinks working well for me during my work day. I am particularly prone to giving in to snack cravings and tummy rumblings mid-morning and mid-afternoon, when I’m sitting at my desk and healthy options are not plentiful. I will be bringing a bottle to work with me each day next week to see how they help me stay on track, while not feeling those hunger pangs (I hope!).

I also received the selection of Smart for Life products. I’ve been reading about their Cookie and Cupcake Diets. You can get more information through the link below, but, basically, you replace most of your meals and snacks over a period of time with regularly consumed cookies or cupcakes that are filled with healthful ingredients and specially formulated fibre. They all contain a balance of fruits, veggies, proteins and grains designed to give maximum nutritional punch. I have been trying another diet plan that included snack and meal replacement bars, and I have to say that I find the Smart for Life product much more appealing. I found the other replacements I had tried tended to be sweet and sugary tasting. I don’t have a big sweet tooth to begin with, so this doesn’t really work for me. But the Smart for Life cookies are filling and tasty and not sweet. I think I might actually be able to keep that up. And you can substitute one of their soups or cereals for a cookie or cupcake serving, adding variety. (Plus you eat a healthy dinner – details in the diet plan.)

 

You can learn more about Smart for Life and underWAY products, developed by physician Dr. Sasson Moulavi, at www.smartforlife.com and www.under-way.com. Check this out for yourself and see if you think these products are something you think could help you achieve your healthy weight goals.

 

Now for the big fun … my first giveway! Yes, MomCentral and underWAY are providing ten prize packages to lucky blog commenters. These packages will contain eight bottles of underWAY supplement drink, plus an assortment of Smart for Life products. The same package as I received to try out for this blog tour, so you could try out this program for free too. To enter, please simply leave a comment below telling me why you would like to try underWAY and/or Smart for Life products. Contest closes on August 4. I will be choosing 10 winners from all comments received, using random.org. Contest is open to Canadian residents only. You may enter the contest through multiple blogs participating in this tour, but can only win once. *Be sure to include an email or a Twitter handle so I can contact you if you win!*

 

In the meantime, if you want to try the drink out for yourself you can receive a 10% discount on online orders of underWAY with the following code: MCCAN10OFFUW.

 

Disclosure – I am participating in the underWAY program by Mom Central on behalf of Better Health Beverage, LLC. I received a gift card as a thank you for my participation. The opinions on this blog are my own.

P&G; Has Solutions for Those “Oh No!” Summer Hair Moments #PGMom {Giveaway}

How many times have you settled in at a backyard BBQ, wearing the sweetest little sundress, only to look down and see that crazy patch of hair you missed just above your ankle? You will see it all night once you’ve noticed it. Others probably will never notice it, but you will and it will drive you nuts. If you’re like me, you’ll be sure to comment on it and point it out to someone or other, because you can’t stop focusing on it. But what if you had a secret emergency fix in your bag?

Summer Solstice 2020: Celebrate the First Day of Summer on June 20 ...

 

Meet the Gillette Venus Snap with Embrace. This is the first mini razor of its kind in Canada. It comes ready to travel with a convenient, portable compact case and a Venus Embrace blade cartridge. The easy-to-grip mini handle fits into any Venus blade cartridge, allowing you to choose your perfect match blades or switch it up with something seasonal such as Gillette Venus Spa Breeze cartridges with scented shaving gel bars. Throw it in your purse or gym bag, and don’t forget to pack it in your suitcase for family vacations. There’s no need for shave gel, just a splash of water guarantees that instantly smooth skin is a quick shave away. So, if you have this in your purse, just excuse yourself, slip into the bathroom and fix up your little “oh no” moment in no time. I love this convenience!

 

Not a good humid hair day

Of course, the heat and humidity can play havoc with our beautiful tresses as well. I will never complain about heat and humidity. I love it! But I do like to have some control over my hair. Vidal Sassoon has a couple of products specifically for this season – Vidal Sassoon Pro Series Waves Enhancer Spray and Vidal Sassoon Pro Series Waves Crème Pomade. The 7-in-1 wave enhancer spray allows for maximum styling so you can achieve that tousled, beach hair look with ease! After a quick spray, just apply the crème pomade for genius curl control, leaving hair soft, touchable and beautifully defined for up to 24 hours.

 

Treating your hair right and prepping it to withstand the humidity is a much better and more fashionable approach than my usual stand-by – the hair elastic and ponytail.

A Giveaway

One lucky Raising My Boys reader will receive these products to try themselves, valued at approximately $45 and including: Gillette Venus Snap with Embrace, Gillette Venus Spa Breeze cartridges, Vidal Sassoon Pro Series Waves Enhancer Spray, Vidal Sassoon Pro Series Waves Crème Pomade. Entries are via the Rafflecopter widget below and will be accepted until 12:00 midnight EDT, August 15. Giveaway is open to Canadian residents only. Best of luck!

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.By entering this contest you are accepting that, if you win, your contact information will be shared with a P&G PR and shipping agency for the purpose of mailing your prize. Please allow 4-6 weeks from the contest closure date to receive your prize. This giveaway may appear on other blogs as part of the #PGmom/#mamanPG program. However, to be fair, you can only win once per giveaway. If your name is chosen more than once, another winner will be selected. All winners must be from within Canada.