For Kids · Parenting/Life

Sticky Brick Tape, a Lego lovers dream

Disclosure:  Although items in this post were provided to me, all comments, opinions and photos are strictly mine.

A few months ago social media seemed to be a flutter with all kinds of posts talking about the latest and greatest in the Lego world -that being flexible Lego compatible strips that could be attached almost anywhere.  My little Lego lover informed me almost immediately he HAD to have this and I have to admit,  Sticky Brick Tape is probably one of the coolest things that I have seen in the toy world in the longest time.

The tape comes in 1 metre ( just over 3 feet) lengths and is 2 Lego dots wide.  The Sticky Brick Tape versions come in 4 different colors – grey, red, green and blue.  The material is quite flexible and can be cut to whatever length that you want to use which means the different ways to use it are limitless.  The tape portion it quite strong and will hold on well to whatever surface you choose.

My son and I have so many ideas of what we could use this for.  We decided we would start by using it to attach some of his minifigures to his Lego storage unit so he could display them.   We weren’t sure if we wanted to do one long strip or individual blocks, so we started with a smaller 2×2 block.

After attaching it to our storage unit, he was able to attach one of his minifigures to display.

The figure attached very easily and has a strong hold like regular Lego so I am not worrying about them falling off.  We decided we would add longer strips on the side of the container and then be able to add multiple figures randomly along it.

My son has yet to decide which of his overabundance of minifigures he will be putting on there but I am sure it will look fantastic once he is finished.  It will also make it easier to find them, instead of having to dig through a drawer to find the one he wants.

Using Sticky Brick Tape to help display minifigures is only one of probably a million ways you can use this product.  You could stick it on walls, on tables, on notebooks, on whatever your imagination can come up with.  Would your little Lego lover go crazy with their very own Sticky Brick tape?

Enter to win a prize pack of 4 rolls of Sticky Brick Tape by clicking on the image below!

Contest open to residents of Canada, US and UK.

Contest ends September 30, 2017.

 

DIY

Quaker State and Canadian Tire Get You on the Road

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CanadianTire #QuakerState #CollectiveBias

This summer we plan to visit family quite a bit, so the first thing I need to ensure is that my car is in tip top shape.  Sometimes you don’t have the choice of being at a standstill when traffic issues block your way, but you definitely don’t want to have your trip come to a standstill due to some easy preventative maintenance you could have done beforehand.

And who really wants to be sitting in the dealership during their summer break?  If you can do a few of the maintenance items in the comfort of your own driveway, you can at least enjoy the sunshine while you are doing it.  So head on over to your local Canadian Tire.

Quaker State Canadian Tire

One of the first maintenance items you need to check off your list is ensure your the oil in your car is clean and up to date.  Your local Canadian Tire will have all the items you need including Quaker State® Advanced Durability™ Motor Oil  for your at home oil change.  Quaker State is a great oil but also a great price especially at Canadian Tire.

Quaker State in aisle

When it comes the oil in your car, it isn’t something you want to skimp on quality.  Quaker State oil helps your car get through all those kilometres of stop-and-go traffic, the idling and extreme temperatures that are a true test of toughness.  Quaker States tests its oil in all of these conditions and also in taxi fleets across North America to ensure it delivers even more protection for your car.  Quaker State® Advanced Durability™ Motor Oil has been proven to deliver twice the protection of the industry standard.  Your car is not a small investment, so you want to ensure have an oil to protect your car.

Quaker State for my car

Be sure when you are at Canadian Tire you pick up any other of the items you may need for your oil change.   It’s your one stop shopping store and the last thing you want is to be part way thru your oil change and find you don’t have everything you need.  Doing your own oil change isn’t as easy as just pouring oil into your car, and you need to ensure you following all the safety steps like ensuring you have something blocking your rear tires to prevent it rolling away when you have it up on the jack.  Be sure you consult your car’s manual to ensure you are using the proper oil type for your car.  And don’t forget to follow your community guidelines when it come to disposing of your dirty oil.

Quaker State safety

I always like to do a quick check over of my car to ensure it has everything it needs before we head out of any trip.  Making sure that your windshield wipers aren’t coming apart, ensuring you have plenty of wiper fluid, making sure all the lights are working and tires are fully inflated are just a few of the items.  I have a little checklist that I keep on hand to make sure that I don’t forget anything.

I go around the car and check off that everything is working and clear so that I can fix anything that needs fixing prior to hitting the road.  Fluids, replacement bulbs and wipers are just a few of the many things you can pick up as well at Canadian Tire.

The last thing you want is rain dampening your trip but even more important, you don’t want to be in a situation where driving becomes dangerous due to faults with your car.  While you’re at Canadian Tire picking up any of your maintenance needs, you can pick up anything else you might need for your trip.  Road snacks are always a treat and if you trip involves a little fishing, don’t forget the worms!

You never know what kind of weather and conditions you’ll come across when travelling so it’s nice that Canadian Tire is Made for Life in Canada.

DIY

Bookshelf Makeover with Minwax

Disclosure:  Although items in this post were provided to me by Minwax, all comments, opinions and photos are strictly mine.

When I moved earlier this year, there were several book shelves left in the home that I was able to keep there for my own use.  My previous home had a very large built-in bookshelf, so I was going to need to find something to replace that.  These bookshelves were just what I needed.  Only problem….they were awful looking…beat up and ugly.  Thankfully to the people at Minwax, I was able make these bookshelves in to something usable and actually decent looking.

Minwax before

I decided that I was going to eventually put them in my bedroom and so I wanted to stain them to match the darker laminate flooring that is there.  But before any of the staining could happen I needed to get these shelves into staining shape.

The first thing I had to do was remove any of the old paint, stain, polyurethane, whatever was on these old things.  Truth be told, I had no idea what was on them.  There was bare particle board pieces, trim that seemed to have polyurethane on it and goodness knows what else.  I needed to get it down to the bare bones.  

The first step was to use the Minwax Paint & Varnish Remover.  You definitely need rubber gloves for this and a very well ventilated area.  This stuff does not smell good.  But I can say that it definitely did the job.  I was able to remove most of whatever was on those shelves on the first try.  Be sure to have a ton of drop clothes down thru this whole process, it does get messy.

Once I got it down to the bare wood and because I really had no idea what kind of wood it was made of (there were several different types), I decided that I would be smart to use the Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner to prep the wood.  This is a very watery consistency and dripped quite a bit, so was glad I had everything protected and had lots of rags and paper towels on hand.

Once that had dried, I was ready to start staining.  One thing I learned very quickly is that I needed a lot and I mean, a lot of patience wit this project.  It wasn’t like I could continue from one step to the next without having to wait hours or even overnight for each step to dry.  I was happy to see that the stain color that I chose was going to match well with my floors.

After 2 coats, I had reached the color that I wanted.  I probably could have done a 3 coat but I was afraid it would go too dark and be too overpowering in the room.  Once that had dried, with was time to apply the polyurethane and seal in the stain and finish up the project.

I wanted the shelves not to have too glossy of a finish to them, so only 2 coats was needed to give it the look I wanted again.  Again, I had to play the waiting game to make sure they were completely dry to put them back into place and start using them.  I was really pleased with how they came out.  Definitely a huge improvement from what we started with.

I may have complained a little (ok, a lot) about the waiting, it was only because I have no patience and the end product was well worth the wait.  And the products were very easy to work with, did exactly what they claimed they would do which is a huge plus in my eyes.  I don’t have a lot to spend on decorating my home, so when I take on a project such as this, I want to ensure it does what it says it will.

The only problem with this whole project was that by the time I had finished these shelves, I only had them in my room for about a day before we reconfigured my living room/office area and they ended up being used there and now house my office supplies and one is dedicated solely showcasing my son’s Lego creations.

Parenting/Life

Back to School – Saving Your Sanity

Back to School

Get your back to school season started right with our amazing round-up of back to school posts! Here you’ll find everything from meal planning to travel safety and so much more!

 

A Boy and His Mom | Meal Planning and Why It’s So Important

Link: https://aboyandhismom.com/meal-planning/

This time of year is a busy time for everyone.  Getting back into routines, extra-curricular activities, making lunches, and homework can all take up time in your day.  Having a meal plan in place and having the right foods in your home can reduce the stress of feeding all the hungry members of your family and give you more time for your other daily activities.

Back to School

Mama Indulgences | Back to School—Breakfast 3 Ways

Link: http://www.mamaindulgences.wixsite.com/mysite/single-post/2017/08/04/Back-to-School–Breakfast-3-ways

Is it just me or did this summer fly by? With “back to school” slowly creeping up on us, I am sharing easy 3-in-1 breakfast recipes. That’s right: 1 base 3 different ways!

 

Travels With Tots | Kid Friendly Overnight Oats

Link: https://travelswithtotsblog.com/2017/06/16/toddler-friendly-overnight-oats/

A healthy breakfast is so important to make sure your kids start their school day on the right foot. Here’s my recipe for fast, easy, nutritious, and delicious overnight oats that your kiddos (and you) will love!

Live Love Learn Gracefully | Back to School Books to Prepare for that First Day

Link: http://livelovelearngracefully.com/back-school-books-prepare-first-day/

It’s back to school time. There is no better way to prepare (other than shopping) than by reading a few back to school books. Whether to help prepare or ease the jitters this list is perfect!

Fab Working Mom Life | Back to School Driving Safety Tips

Link: http://www.fabworkingmomlife.com/2017/08/back-school-driving-safety-tips/

The back to school season means more traffic for us commuters and more opportunities for not-so-safe situations on the road. Let’s take a moment to think about back to school safety and specifically driving safety.​

Little Bit of Learning | DIY Rose Gold Mamma’s Toolbox

Link: http://www.littlebitoflearning.com/mammas-tool-box-free-printable-labels/

Back to School is about getting the kids organized… But it also means time for you to get yourself organized for the new school year. Learn how to make a DIY Mamma’s Toolbox! Now you can organize your mom cave or office, because who doesn’t want to look at a beautiful chalkboard floral designed toolbox while they work? Pick and choose the labels that fit what YOU need this back to school season.

Viva La Dolce | 5 Language Learning Tips for Your Everyday

Link: http://www.vivaladolce.com/2017/07/5-language-learning-tips-for-your.html?m=1

Back to school means back to class and back to homework! Check out this post for a few fun ways to help out with any language homework that may come your way! The best part is these suggestions don’t need to be done sitting at a desk! Have fun with language learning and incorporate it into your everyday!

 

A Life With A Little | A Letter to My Future Self as School Starts Back

Link: http://www.alifewithalittle.com/2017/08/14/letter_to_future_self_for_school/

It’s time for the kids to go back to school, but around here we aren’t going back to school just yet. This letter to myself is all about giving yourself permission to say no during the school year. As moms, we need to give ourselves a little grace in the midst of school bag packing, carpooling, sports schedules, homework helping, and everything else we do regularly. Take a moment to relax, read up, and give yourself permission to say no sometimes.

Recipes

Banana Flax Seed Muffins

I can’t believe we are already having to think about back to school.  Not only does it mean summer is over and cooler weather is on the way but it also means back to packing lunches. I am always looking for new go-to recipes to make mornings easier.  This recipe for banana flax seed muffins is definitely one of my go-to recipes.

This recipe can be used for either muffins or a loaf, you just need to adjust your cooking time accordingly.  It’s super easy to prepare and you can add chocolate chips or nuts for variation.

Just start with those browning bananas that we all tend to have sitting around and mash them up well in a large bowl.  When I have a bunch of bananas, I will make multiple batches and then throw them in the freezer and just pull them out when needed.

You then add the rest of our ingredients and mix it all together well.  The flax seed will give you that extra boost of Omega-3 and fiber and even the pickiest eater won’t even know it’s in there.

If making muffins, distribute the mixture evenly into a well greased pan and cook in a 350 degree oven for approximately 35 minutes until golden brown.  If adding chocolate chips, sprinkle the top of each muffin with a few chips.

If making a loaf pour the mixture into a well greased pan and bake for approximately 55 minutes until golden brown.   If adding chocolate chips or nuts, stir into mixture prior to pouring into pan.  Use a toothpick to test that the loaf is fully cooked.

Let cool for approximately 10-15 and remove from pan to cool completely.  If making multiple batches to freeze, you can put them in plastic freezer bags but I have had better luck storing them in a freezer safe storage container.

These muffins are great for busy morning breakfasts when the kids are back to school and if you do not add nuts, they also make a great snack to send in their lunches.

banana bread muffins

Banana Flax Seed Muffins

These easy muffins/bread are great for back to school breakfasts or lunches. Make a few batches in advance, as they freeze well.

  • 2 to 3 bananas (very ripe, peeled)
  • 1/3 cup butter (melted)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar (I used a combination of brown and white sugar)
  • 1 large egg (beaten)
  • 1 tsp vanilla (extract)
  • 1 1/2 cup flour (I used a combination of whole wheat and white)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (Optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.

    Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, mash up bananas.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
  4. In a well greased pan, add mixture. If making muffins, cook for approximately 35 minutes until golden brown or a toothpick comes clean. If making a loaf, cook for approximately 55 minutes.
  5. Let cool for 10 – 15 minutes in pan Remove from pan and let cool completely.

DIY

Inspire My Creativity – Chalk Paint (and Link party)

I can’t believe we are already into August and it’s that time again to co-host our link up party with my favorite crafty ladies  If this is the first time you’ve visited, on the 2nd Wednesday of each month we will be bringing you our latest DIY creations. This month our theme is “Chalk Paint”.    And let’s not confuse it with chalkboard paint, which is something completely different.

If you aren’t familiar with chalk paint, it is a type of paint that can be used on furniture and other items to create a chalky appearance.  In recent years it has become popular with those looking for that “shabby chic” style of decorating.  It has an aged, rustic look to it.

Last month, when I made over my lamp, I mentioned I was going to be focusing on completing my bedroom after our recent move.  Having the chalk paint theme was the perfect motivation to refinish my bedroom furniture.

The furniture that I originally had in my room had previously been painted grey and just wasn’t the look I was going for anymore.  I wanted something more feminine and rustic looking.  I had recently bought a new bedspread and pillow shams that had that country, feminine look and feel and just need to update the furniture and my room would be complete.

I decided that I wanted to go with a white chalk paint and picked up a can of Rust-Oleum Chalked Ultra Matte paint in Linen White.  I was skeptical that this small can would be enough for all the pieces I wanted to cover but the I was assured at the store it was going to be enough.

Before I could start painting, I went over each of the pieces with fine sandpaper and then a damp cloth to get rid of all the excess dust.

The paint went on very easily and didn’t need a lot to get the proper coverage.  You definitely need to use light brush strokes to ensure you don’t get lines.  It took me a while to get the hang of it and get the look I was going for.  It was a long and tedious process getting all the drawers done.

I was surprised how quickly the paint started to dry and get that lovely chalky look to them.  The paint indicates that one coat is usually adequate but could take up to 3 coats based on the look that you want.  Luckily I was able to achieve the look that I wanted with just one coat.  I had plenty of paint left too.  There was still about a half a can left.  I left the paint to dry overnight to ensure it was fully dried.

At this point, I could have again taken some fine sandpaper and roughed up some of the corners to give it more of an antiqued look to it, but I was quite happy with the results and left it as is.  I then used some Minwax Paste Finishing Wax to seal the paint.

This step was quite easy and took no time at all.  I used a clean J Cloth ( or you could use cheesecloth) and put a small amount of wax into it and then applied to each of the pieces.  After about 15 minutes of drying time, I went back with another clean cloth and buffed it.  My pieces were now finished and ready to use.

When I finally got the drawers refilled and back into place, I was delighted on how good they looked in my bedroom.  It’s that perfect feminine, country charm look that I was going for.  The entire project costs me less than $50 and looks amazing.

As I previously mentioned, I am a co-host for the Inspire My Creativity: Chalk Paint and link up party.   If you’d like to join us, we post the second Wednesday of each month.

Meredith  |  The Designer DIY
Cathy  |  A Boy and His Mom
Missy  |  Gypsy Magpie
Meg  |  The Kusi Life
Kim  |  Creigh-ations
Candice  |  She’s Crafty

https://static.inlinkz.com/cs2.js

What I'm Wearing

The Versatile Kimono from PinkBlush

Disclosure:  Although items in this post were provided to me, all comments, opinions and photos are strictly mine.

I am not sure why but I am one of those people that is either always hot or always cold.  And when push comes to shove, I tend to run on the cold side.  That is why I am always dressing in layers and adding or taking off as I need.  Even in the summer, especially if air conditioning is involved, I always have at least a light sweater on hand.  That is why this kimono that that I recently received from PinkBlush is the perfect layer to have in my closet.

It’s a light rayon material so it isn’t super heavy, but just enough to help take the chill off in air conditioning but not too heavy to wear over a tank top in the summer outside.  What I love about this piece as it can so easily dressed up or dressed down.

PinkBlush kimono close up

It can be thrown over a tank top and pair of leggings for a super casual but stylish outfit for during the day.  Or over a little black dress for an evening look.  I am looking forward to pairing the kimono with a pair of skinny jeans and love sleeve shirt this fall.Having pieces like this kimono and other pieces that I have gotten previously from PinkBlush that can be easily used for both day and night outfits and even different seasons are the kind of things that I really prefer to have in my closet.  Having pieces that work so many ways, make getting ready each day a lot easier.

PinkBlush Kimono dressed up close upAnd let’s face it Moms, if getting dressed is not one of our stresses in the morning, all the better.

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

Local dining at it’s best at Bistro 67

Disclosure:  Although items in this post were provided to me, all opinions, comments are strictly mine.

There is nothing better than finding that local hidden gem of a restaurant that is close by and has the most amazing food.  I recently found that a Bistro 67.  Last Thursday, I joined a few of my favorite local bloggers for the Wine and Cheese night and was definitely not disappointed.  In fact, I am looking to go back there again soon.

Bistro 67

Bistro 67 is located within Durham College’s award-winning W. Galen Weston Centre for Food (CFF).  Meals are prepared by students in the college culinary program and the food is either grown in their very own gardens or sourced locally in the Durham region.

Bistro 67 inside

The Wine and Cheese meal included a choice of Creekside white or red wine.  I am not a seasoned wine drinker but I thoroughly enjoyed the white and will be trying it again.  The cheese board included pickled beets, garlic scapes, a raspberry compote, a spicy feta just to name a few.  It came paired with the most amazing freshly made bread.  The Wine and Cheese Thursdays are held from 11am until 8pm includes 2 glasses of the wine for only $25 plus taxes.  An amazing meal high quality dinner for such an affordable night out price.

Bistro 67 wine and cheese

After we enjoyed almost every morsel, we took a tour of the gardens and were able to see the wide array of produce grown literally next door to the restaurant.  From fork to field in mere steps.

Upon our return to the restaurant, we were give a tour of the kitchen by Executive Chef Raul Sojo and were able to see where all the magic happens.  The students were very enthusiastic to welcome us and answer any questions that we had.

As we passed by this large pot of corn cooking, we were asked if we would like to have a sample once it was ready.  I was excited to have a taste of field fresh corn.  When it was brought out, it was topped with a chipotle aioli, lime, Feta, cilantro.  One word to describe it – amazing.  So many wonderful flavors in each bite.

And what is a meal without dessert?  We all shared a gluten-free cake that was delicious.  With bellies full and being treated to the most amazing service, we were sad to leave but vowed to return soon.  With harvest season upon us, I am looking forward to returning to see what the students create with the bounty from their gardens.

Bistro 67 has been rated as  a 3 Star Certified Green Restaurant and also holds a Feast ON designation in recognition of its use of local food and beverage. It is open Tuesday – Fridays for lunch and Tuesdays – Saturday for dinner and open year round not just during the school year.  Although reservations are not required, I would recommend making a reservation so that you aren’t disappointed.