Memories Of Days Gone By

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I'm having a moment today... a trip down memory lane, if you will. I started looking through baby pictures of my children, and it's brought a tear to my eye. I'm not sure how the years have gone by so quickly, but if I could give some advice to new moms it would be this: Cherish every second, every sleepless night, every cuddle, and every diaper change. Remember it all. Before you know it, your children will be older, and you'll wonder how the years passed so fast!

It's not easy for me to part with special clothes my boys wore when they were babies, like the fire truck pj's they both wore when they were two months old, or the toys they loved the most. I keep all these special things in a big box in our basement, and I'll never give them away.

One item that I (and my babies) truly loved was the Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium. If I turn on the soothing music today, it's an instant flashback to the days I'd put my babies to sleep in their crib, and see their smiling faces when they woke up from their nap.



The Ocean Wonders Aquarium was one of the first things I added to my baby registry when I was pregnant with my first born son, and it's the one item I knew would be passed down to my second baby when he was born. I loved watching them look at the moving fishies, and get sleepy and relaxed listening to the soft music.

Another Fisher-Price item both my boys used (and loved!) was the Fisher-Price Infant to Toddler Rocker. I even fed them both their first meal of cereal in this rocker, before we moved on to the high chair. Now my boys use this rocker when they're playing with their toys, and it has also come in handy when my sister comes over with her two year old and one year old. I am always prepared for little visitors!


Fisher-Price has identified 12 items that have been deemed Fisher-Price Favourites and both these items made the list. No surpirse to me, though!

If you're looking for quality items for your children (or looking to add items to your baby registry) that are guaranteed to last, encourage child development, and support children in achieving milestones, check out the Fisher-Price Favourites list:

Gear Items:

1.    Ocean Wonders Aquarium
2.    My Little Snugabunny Cradle N Swing
3.    Infant to Toddler Rocker
4.    SpaceSaver High Chair
5.    Discover’n Grow Jumperoo

Toys:

6.    Brilliant Basics Rock a Stack
7.    Laugh & Learn Love to Play Puppy
8.    Laugh & Learn Say Please Tea Set
9.    Laugh & Learn Click ‘n Learn Remote
10. Brilliant Basics Stroll-Along Walker
11. Little People Wheelies Stand ‘ n Play Rampway
12. Little People Animal Sounds Farm

As my boys got a little older, play time became more important, and Little People soon became a favourite toy they played with. They both loved the Little People Animal Sound Farm, and it's still in our house for when their little cousins over to play. I also love buying the Little People Wheelies Stand 'n Play Rampway and the Little People Animal Sounds Farm for my friends who have young children. I know they'll get great enjoyment from playing with these toys.

Fisher-Price has always been a staple in our house, even back in the days when I was a little girl. In many of my childhood photos, you'll always see a Fisher-Price toy peeking out in the background. I love good quality, and I love that Fisher-Price has been around for all these years.

Here's a great bonus for my readers: Mom Central Canada and Fisher-Price are offering you a discount code so you can go shop! You'll receive 20% off Fisher-Price Favourites at Toys 'R Us. Just enter the code FISHERPRICE20 when you visit Toys 'R US and enter your special PIN code. This code is valid until April 30th.



Happy Shopping... and make sure to enjoy every moment!


Disclosure: I am part of the Fisher-Price Blogger Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.
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The Things I Loved

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I've been watching John Hughes movies like I'm a thirtysomething woman going through some sort of almost mid-life crisis. I mean, I'm not, but still, I've been taking a serious trip down memory lane lately.

There is a lot I loved about my childhood and teenage years, and watching my favourite movies like Say Anything, Clueless, Heathers and Reality Bites makes me remember all the things I used to love back in the day.

I loved Christian Slater.



















I loved Pretty In Pink.



















I loved Chachi.















I loved BOP and Tiger Beat.


I loved my Converse running shoes.
I loved teasing my hair even though it looked awful.
I loved Alyssa Milano and Tony Danza and Who's The Boss.
















I loved Kirk Cameron, before he got all, you know, crazy weird.
I loved the Mini-Pops and had a crush on the boy who sang Eye Of The Tiger.

I loved Fashion Plates.
I loved push-down socks and wearing two different earrings to look cool.
I loved that I went through a skater phase even though I have never been on a skateboard in my life.

I loved the smoking section.

I loved skipping class and playing Dominos and cards with my friends in high school.

I loved Friday night school dances, but hated having to wait two agonizing days to see the boy I liked again on Monday morning, when things were always different and weird and not at all sweet and romanatic like they were on Friday night.

I loved passing notes in class. I still have all these notes in a special wooden box.
I loved Nirvana. And the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And Black Sabbath. And Guns N' Roses.

I loved dancing.
I loved Girls Just Want To Have Fun.

I loved that the friends I had back then are still my best friends today. We've really been through it all together.

I loved Top Gun.
I loved River Phoenix.
I loved WHAM!














I love Rainbow Brite, and my Cabbage Patch Kid.
I loved Esprit and Benetton, and shopping with my parents on Sunday afternoons.

It's amazing how much of my childhood and teenage years are still so very clear in my mind. I love my memories, and I love remembering the things I loved.

What about you? What did you love, back in the back?
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One Hundred Dollars (And The Difference Between Mother And Child)

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When you're new to parenthood, you think those first few weeks are the hardest. They are, in many ways, especially when you bring home your first born child. However, as children get older we realize those baby years were almost easy. Feed the baby, play with the baby, wipe the baby, bathe the baby, read to the baby, love the baby, rock the baby to sleep... it was quite simple, really, despite the fact that it was a 24 hour a day job (it's always a 24 hour a day job!) done on 3 hours of broken sleep a night.

But as children get older, parenting gets harder. Much harder. We have to be careful about what we say, the words we use, and how we react to problems and situations. I swear a lot, especially if other people are driving like morons around me, and my children hear this. Hearing them use bad words (even though I applaud them in my head for using these words in appropriate situations) makes me feel bad. This is just one example of how careful we have to be when we're around our children. They watch us, and they learn from us.

As children get older, we are also faced with new challenges—helping them with homework, encouraging them to read, making learning as enjoyable as possible, cheering them on on the soccer field, and making sure that socially, they're doing okay. We're there for them when they get upset, hurt, or nervous, and we do our best to pick them up, love them, and encourage them.

We are also responsible for teaching our children important life skills—having good manners, being kind and polite to other people, teaching them the importance of patience (as hard as it may be) and teaching them to respect their belongings.

We're supposed to teach our children the value of a dollar, too. And this is where I begin to struggle, because I'm a terrible (or rather great) spender of money. In fact, I have to say spending money is one thing I do best, which is really bad for my debit and credit cards. In fact, my spending habits were the reason why my father got grey hair. Or so he likes to tell me... I've had a spending problem for years and years, and I've blogged about it before. It's a constant struggle for me to stop! spending! money! But everything calls my name... those sexy shoes, that gorgeous Louis Vuitton purse, even that cute Mad Men dress. Wants become needs... and well, my credit cards get maxed again and I find myself in a terrible situation.

LUCKILY for me, my oldest son, my second grader, does not take after me in this regard. He love collecting coins, he asked for a gold bar for his birthday from his grandparents (which he received!) and he  has more money saved than I do, already.

An example of how he and I are different when we're dealing with money?

Here's what he would do with one hundred dollars:


And here's what I would do with one hundred dollars:


I am so, so glad he has more sense than I do when it comes to... well, cents!
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Jamaica? Yes, Please...

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It's March 21, and the weather outside looks nothing like spring. I'm not sure when all this snow is going to go away, but I'd love for it to be now. Really, it is almost April, and it's starting to get a little ridiculous, no?

Sigh. I would love to be able to pack up my suitcase and head south, to where it's sunny and warm, and enjoy a pina colada on the beach.

There is a great contest going on right now that I'm happy to spread the news about, because hello, trip for two to Sandals Resort in Jamaica? Sign me up, please!



To celebrate the launch of  #FeelGoodMovies on CTS (Crossroads Television System) every Friday and Sunday night at 7:00 p.m., they'll be sending someone (and a friend!) to Sandals. Isn't that so generous of them? I think so.

To enter to win a trip for two to Jamaica, click here. It is really that simple!
This vacation getaway package includes airfare, too, so you're all set. You have to be a Canadian resident to win this trip, and when you enter the contest, make sure to share it with your friends—the more you share, the more ballots you get towards winning this prize!

Good Luck, everyone!

Brought to you by CTS, Sandals Resort, and  Air Canada Vacations.





Disclaimer: I received compensation for this post.
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Why I'm Looking Forward To Spring

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So it's March 18th, and spring is coming... it is, I swear, despite the fact that the forecast is calling for 20 centimetres of snow this week. (What!) March always has a way of getting us excited and then blasting us with one last snow storm before we can start to really get excited about warmer days and breezy nights.

Here are the things I'm looking forward to as the weather starts to improve:

No more winter gear! I'm so over helping dress my children in their snow pants, stepping in wet snow, and looking for gloves/hats/neck warmers every single morning. I'm looking forward to wearing cute little trench coats, (like my new green trench coat I picked up at the grand opening party at Joe Fresh!) and children who don't have to be bundled up to go outside. They can't wait for the warm days to return, either.

Playing outside! There's nothing I love more than spending hours outside with my boys, playing. At the park, on our bikes, kicking the soccer ball around, blowing bubbles, playing golf, whatever. As long as we're outside (and not freezing!) we're having a good time.

Sunshine! I can't wait for days filled with sunshine, and sunny skies. And days lunching on patios. And after dinner drinks on the patio. And blue skies! And birds chirping, and flowers blooming, and colour everywhere. No more grey skies!

Sexy shoes! Yeah, I love boots, but enough already... I'm ready for my cute sandals and sexy new heels! And flats! And of course, my beloved flip flops. I love the ease of dressing that comes with warmer days, don't you?


Mad Men! Finally, you guys... finally... in just a few short weeks, Mad Men returns for another amazing season. I cannot wait for more Don Draper! I'm also loving the new Mad Men collection at Banana Republic and I need to add this dress to my summer wardrobe...



Soccer! This year, finally, both my boys can play soccer! I'm so excited, even though they both play on the same night, on different fields. That's going to be a challenge, but still! Two boys playing my favourite sport all summer long? SO excited.


Kicking it pool side! I can't wait for hot days of lounging by the pool and swimming all day long. Seriously, this is probably my favourite thing about summer.



Yummy drinks! Pina colada, anyone? Chilling in the backyard with friends, fresh fruit, yummy drinks, BBQ's... so much to look forward to!


Happy days! There are a lot of great things going on, and exciting news: I've got a few articles coming out in  Ottawa Magazine and Ottawa Family Living Magazine that I'm excited about, I'm going to Toronto for an event at the beginning of April, and I get to see some of favourite people.

What are you looking forward to the most as spring finally arrives?

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SunRype: Snacks, Simplified!

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Lately, it feels like I've been so busy with everything I've hardly had time to eat. As a mom of two young boys, I need my energy, so not eating is not an option for me. Eating on the go can be tricky, though, because I want to make sure my children and I are eating healthy most of the time.

It can also be challenging to make sure we're eating enough fruits and veggies every day, too, which is why I'm so in love with the SunRype Just Fruit & Grains bars.

 Of course, healthy snacks that taste delicious are ideal, right? When I discover awesome snacks I can eat on the go, that are healthy and tasty, I love sharing the news, because I know you're also looking for something easy and healthy to feed your little ones. (And yourself, too!)

 SunRype's Just Fruit & Grains bars are a perfect balance of 70% fruit (or fruit and veggies) and 30% grains and seeds, with nothing else added. Each bar contains two to three grams of fibre, and best of all? The bars are nut free, so they're safe to pack in your children's lunch for school. It's so simple to keep these bars stocked in the cabinets at home, or even in the car. They are the perfect go-to snack after school, too.

Look for the new packaging design, hitting stores this summer.

Current packaging:


New packaging--coming soon!

I also love that SunRype is Canadian. Yup, they're based in Kelowna, British Columbia, in the heart of the Okanagan Valley. They're committed to providing simple, nutritious, and refreshing products that make it easier for families with busy lifestyles to eat healthy when they are on-the-go. By the way, SunRype's Facebook page is full of useful product information, too, including recipes. I love visiting their site for new ideas!



To find out even more about how SunRype's simple, natural snacks are different from many of
the snack products on the market, check out findoutnow.ca.


Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post, but opinions and views are my own and I love SunRype snacks for my children.



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Torn

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I am torn, you guys.

Torn!

Listen, this isn't a real big problem, and it's not an incredibly huge issue, but still, it's something I have been thinking about for days, and reaching a decision has been difficult for me. I'm stressed and this has nothing to do with what I shoud wear or what shoes to buy!

California or Chicago?

I've attended three BlogHer conferences, and I've loved them all. I actually loved the two in NYC the most, because, well, NYC is one of my favourite cities. I won't get into all I love about BlogHer, because I wrote about it here and here.

In summary: the parties are awesome, I love seeing my friends, and I enjoy exploring the city I'm in for a couple of days. It's a mini-vacation with a professional twist. I also really enjoy BlissDom Canada and I was honoured to be a Community Leader this past October. I love giving back to this amazing community when I can.

I attended Mom 2.0 last May in Miami, and this conference was a game-changer for me. It was the one conference where I left refreshed and inspired. It was amazing to be around talented, successful women who were leaders in their fields—from authors to bloggers to CEO's. Although I haven't left any conference with jobs lined up, these conferences, especially Mom 2.0, certainly open doors for me, and through networking and connections made in person, new opportunities arise that always lead to work for me.

The more you put in, the more you get out, right? Sometimes, spending a few days with women who inspire is enough to make you become better at the work you do. Also, spending time with friends is an added bonus.

Ah, but life is not full of easy decisions! I mean, getting dressed in the morning can sometimes be challenging enough. I can't afford both conferences this year. I have to choose one. Door number 1, or door number 2?

There are pros and cons to both, but all signs are pointing towards Door number 1. Mom 2.0. If it is something I can figure out. I'm not going to stress about it too much, but it's something to think about, for sure. Mom 2.0 is a more worthwhile conference for me, and the fact that all my favourite people are going to be there is making it very hard for me to resist.

Cons? It's in California, and it's far from home. I know my boys are always in good hands when I go away once or twice a year for a couple of days, and I know they'll be fine. I know it's actually healthy to take time for myself, too, but I'm Greek, and therefore suffer from some serious mommy guilt.

Decisions are never easy, are they? Something that is also not easy is missing out on the things you really want. I have a bad case of FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out! Especially when I know I'd be missing out on something great.

I'll let you know what I decide... in the meantime, if you want to let me know what you'd do, I'd love to hear from you!

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Signs

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I was recently introduced to a new company called Signazon, a company that does pretty amazing custom work, which includes signs, car magnets, vinyl decals, and more.

Here's an example of the great work Signazon does...


Pretty impressive, huh? The best part about EZ Stick Vinyl is that you can use it on every surface you can image including walls, glass, wood, metal, tile, and plastic—basically anywhere you want to put it! It also contains a satin finish and works amazingly well on flat, dry surfaces. The special low-track adhesive leaves no residue and will not pull off paint or wallpaper, so that's an added bonus, for sure.

Signazon also makes great sign accessories, vinyl banners, car lettering, and stickers. I love the idea of using magnets or stickers instead of business cards—I've seen that recently and it's a really great way to advertise your business!





Disclaimer: I received compensation for this post.
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Must Watch Television!

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On my incredibly long list of things I love: My children's laughter, sunshine, vacations to beautiful destinations, and funny television shows.

I gave up watching sad and depressing shows this year for good quality television—and television shows that makes me laugh—and it has been a much more enjoyable experience. Some of my all-time favourite TV shows are Friends and Modern Family, and I just found out that there is a new aweome (and Canadian!) television show called Seed that airs on CityTV Monday nights at 8:30 p.m.



This show is like a modern version of Friends crossed with the totally hilarious Modern Family. It's totally a show you should be watching if you like to laugh. You don't even have to thank me for spreading the news—I like making people happy!

Now, here's the totally awesome part: right now when you watch Seed on Mondays at 8:30 p.m., you can be entered to win one of three Grand Prize trips for two to LA! Seriously, how amazing is that? I went to LA many years ago when I interned at Entertainment Tonight, and it was absolutely beautiful. The ocean, the mountains, the palm trees, the shopping... I can't wait to go back one day! Anyway, to enter this fabulous contest,  all you have to do is share this link on Twitter or Facebook, and boom, you're entered! Simple, right? I love contests that don't make you work hard.

You can follow Seed on Twitter and Facebook, too.

Happy TV watching—hope you love the show, and Good Luck!

Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post.
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Fairmont Le Château Montebello

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There's so much I love about my childhood, and the memories I have from frequent family vacations tops my list. Not just summer vacations spent in Greece, but plenty of weekend road trips. One place I always loved going to with my family was Fairmont Le Château Montebello. This resort is a perfect destination because it's so close to home, but once you arrive, you feel like you're a million miles away... and this week, my boys are going to be experience it for themselves!




I remember summers of horseback riding and swimming, and winters getting warm and toasty in front of the amazing fire place in the lobby.

Fairmont Le Château Montebello is a beautiful resort that reminds me a little of Great Wolf Lodge, only more grown-up, of course. The best part about staying here? There's always so much going on: horseback riding, golf, outdoor and indoor tennis, outdoor and indoor swimming, cross-country skiing, dogsledding, tubing, skating, an amazing spa, and more.

I can't wait to take my boys to this resort this week during March break—I know they're going to love it, and I can't wait to share their excitement with them once we arrive! They're planning on playing tennis, and swimming, of course. There are tons of activities on the agenda during March break for families, including a sugar shack, puppet and cookie workshops, a massage clinic, supervised movie nights for the children, and so much more—tons to keep everyone busy both inside and outside.

I'll let you know how much fun we all had once we get back, but I wanted to let you know what a great travel destination Fairmont Le Château Montebello is if you're looking for a quick vacation somewhere close to home!
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A Glamorous Smile—And A Crest Giveaway!

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A thousand things make me smile every day, from the moment I wake up and get my morning hugs from my boys, to listening to my children playing after school. I'm constantly smiling, from morning to night.

 
I'm often asked if I've ever had my teeth professional whitened, and my answer is no. I do, however, use Crest—and I've been using Crest for as long as I can remember. If I love a product, it takes a lot for me to switch to something new when I'm so happy with the results!

I've been using Crest 3D Vivid White Toothpaste and the Crest 3D White Muti-Care Whitening Rinse for a while now, and I was recently introduced to the new Crest 3D White Glamorous White Toothpaste. I've been using it for a week and it's amazing. In just one week, I noticed an even whiter smile than before, which made me, well... smile.

To have a bright white photogenic smile, it helps to use amazing products at home (talk about easy, right?) that'll make your smile go from dull to glam in no time at all. A daily oral care routine with Crest is simple and very effective.


Crest sent me their newest whitening trio to try:

Crest 3D White Luxe Glamorous White Toothpaste
Crest 3D White Multi-Care Whitening Rinse
Oral-B White Vivid Toothbrush

When used together, these products give you a whiter smile in just two days. But don't take my word for it—I'd love to send you the exact same package to try, too, so you know exactly what I'm talking (and smiling!) about.

Just leave me a comment below telling me what makes you smile the most and you'll be entered to win this great giveaway!

I'll pick a winner randomly on March 18th.

Good Luck—Keep Smiling!
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I'm Going To Be Dancing With Dancing With The Stars!

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One of my favourite movies is Girls Just Want To Have Fun. I've seen this movie so many time I could actually write it word for word. Dancing was a huge part of my childhood, and recital days were the most exciting—the make-up! The costumes! The pictures! It was such a thrill being on stage performing. I never considered a career in dance, but as my primary extra-curricular activity, I loved every second of it. I started dancing when I was four years old and continued until grade 10. Ballet to jazz, I loved it all. I knew my days of dancing were over, though, the day I skipped jazz class to go to the mall to buy the new Guns N' Roses Use Your Illusions I and II CD. It was a very big deal, remember?

Now, I'm bringing dancing back into my life, because I received some very exciting news yesterday.

I was asked to be a celebrity dancer for the upcoming Dancing With The Stars For Easter Seals Kids!

I'm going to be partnered with a professional dance instructor from Fred Astaire Dance Studio. I'll learn two dances—just like on Dancing With The Stars! I'll be in the studio almost daily practicing, dancing, working out, and learning my routines. I am SO excited, you guys. Of course, there will be a panel of celebrity judges, too, watching our every move, so I've got a lot of work to do... I just hope I don't fall!

Even though there won't be a camera recording my every move, it'll be just like you see on TV, only better, because this event will be supporting a very worthwhile charity—the Easter Seals. Easter Seals helps children with physical disabilities achieve independence, accessibility, and integration. How amazing is that? They do such amazing work.

The live event takes place in October at the beautiful Ottawa Convention Centre. This night begins at 5 and lasts until midnight, and includes (for the guests) a cocktail hour, a celebrity meet and greet, a gourmet dinner, silent auction and raffle, and, of course, the actual dance competition that I'm SO SO proud to be a part of.

Of course, I will keep you all in the loop as my journey begins—I promise to share with you the good, the bad, and the painful!

Stay tuned...  as I dust off my dancing shoes...
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