Thursday, June 30, 2011

Booty Camp Results Are In

(Don't worry, there will be no picture in this post.)
So in case you missed it, I explained in this post that I had finally signed up for Booty Camp Fitness. That was back after the (glutinous) Easter weekend, as a result of my chocolate and over-eating guilt.  I had originally signed up for a 4-week session, but was really pleased with the results so decided to keep on it for another four weeks.

Last night was my last night and we did all the measurements and weigh-ins and here are my results for the past eight weeks:

Weight Lost: 7 lbs
Inches Lost:  14.5
Body Fat Lost: 8.5 %

There you have it. Feel great. Feel strong. Feel more defined and slightly more confident for bathing suit season.  If you're looking for a great kick off to a fitness routine that isn't really happening right now, really recommend the Booty Camp Fitness program. Maybe not for an extended amount of time (cost is a bit high for that), but definitely a 4 or 8 week session. Targets all those wonderful areas - butt, thighs, bum, arms and abs!  Put it this way, I am no longer scared of the word "plank," I can now do a proper burpie and no longer freak out if my shirt happens to ride up while holding one of the kids and (gasp!) exposes part of my side or stomach.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Family's Story: Keeping Kids Safe

July long weekend is fast approaching here in Canada - the official kick off to the summer and family vacation time!

As many of you are parents with precious little ones to take care of, I would like to share with you something that happened to my family and I a couple of years ago. I have posted this story before, but feel it is important to share .... if only to remind all of us how very careful and proactive we have to be to keep our kids safe.


In 2009, while visiting Manitoulin Island, my husband and I endured the horrible experience of a cottage accident that resulted in our 22-month-old son being rushed from a family camp by ambulance to a local hospital and then air lifted by helicopter for a 2-hour flight to a children’s hospital in Ottawa.

The accident was one of those things you never dream of happening ... on the last day of our annual getaway to Manitoulin Island, a large tube television came crashing down and fell on my son’s head, sending him to the floor and knocking him semi-conscious with a literal dent in his head.  We were absolutely panicked and had no clue what to do. We ran next door where my aunt and uncle live, my husband carrying my son’s lifeless body and me, seven-months pregnant, screaming and tripping along the way.  Once there, my aunt and uncle immediately called 9-1-1 (why didn’t we think of that?).

In the minutes that followed, I was asked a series of questions by the 9-1-1 dispatcher about my location that I couldn’t answer.

I was at a camp I had visited every summer for the past 30 years, but knew nothing of the “official” name of the road or the camp-numbering system (something told me the dispatcher would not know where “The Beaver Lodge”  was located) ... hysterical and feeling the pressure of critical seconds passing by, I handed the phone to my aunt.   Thankfully, she took control and explained where we were as best she could.  As in most cottage destinations, the directions into our camp are informal at best. These types of directions, I can assure you, are not helpful in an emergency situation where accuracy and timing can mean life or death.

The minutes, hours and days that followed after our 9-1-1 call are all a blur now and involved an ambulance, multiple emergency rooms, being airlifted to Ottawa, x-rays, CAT Scans and a final diagnosis of three skull fractures.  The good news:  no brain damage or long-term effects and a HUGE wake-up call as to just how careful we, as parents (grandparents, aunts, friends and family), have to be with our precious children.

That fateful morning, we became one of the 100 Canadian families that would rush their child to an emergency room this year due to a toppling television set and one of the more than 9,000 whose child became injured because of falling furniture (

With summer on its way, many families are looking forward to vacation time. Parents and cottage owners alike need to be proactive and aware of the dangers that exist for young children when they are visiting or lending out their cottage.

Common areas to be aware of for possible hazards include: 

Old Furniture that may be easily toppled
Bunk Beds – mattresses should fit properly and beds placed tight against the wall with proper side rails in place.  Children under six years old should not use the top bunk
Dated Children’s Equipment –Safety standards for cribs, play pens, high chairs, car seats and other toys are in place for a reason. Ensure the equipment being used is acceptable and has the appropriate labels and instructions
Toxic Substances and Medicine; Exterior Doors – keep locked and make sure that your children cannot open them
Water– whether in the lake or the bathroom
Televisions – need to be kept on low, sturdy furniture, never on dressers or make-shift stands. Place on the floor if appropriate furniture does not exist
Electrical Outlets and cords
Blind cords
Emergency Information – have all appropriate phone numbers, addresses and directions available by the telephone.

I don’t know what we would have done had it not been for the health services that were available on The Island.  I was pleasantly surprised, given our isolation, at the fast arrival of the ambulance. I was so thankful that The Island had emergency centres to receive my son and diligently care for him and coordinate the proper next steps.

I shudder to think of what would have happened if it weren’t for the helicopter and paramedics team,  who flew to get us and were so well trained, and took complete control of the situation and stabilized our son for the long ride to Ottawa.

Thanks to everyone involved, my family and I are able to return to The Island we so love in good health this year.  We will, however, ensure that wherever we stay, we know all of the important emergency information, including our exact phone number and address with proper directions to our location.  We will also make sure any precariously-perched television sets are placed safely on the floor.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

So Funny, I Cried

 I haven't seen a movie this funny in so long.

I started laughing at the beginning, kept on laughing right on through to the end.

I needed kleenex for tears within the first five minutes (sure, the one time I decide to wear mascara!) and wept over the humour and even over some touching moments.

My aunt was visiting from out-of-town and we went and it was so much fun.

Totally recommend. 10/10.  What a great night. Not to mention, so nice to see a hilarious movie with a virtually all-female cast!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Break up the Monotony with Spaghetti

Okay, so school is out, now what?

Days upon days with hours upon hours to fill with activities can be a bit daunting.

Or even if you are at home all of the time with younger kids, the park and the splash pad must be getting a bit old.

Well, the other day I was feeling the same way and decided to flip open one of the books I have that are packed with activities for kids.

This was the inspired result:

Yep, it cost all of about $1.49 for a super large bag of Catelli spaghetti noodles, boiled them up, cooled them off, and then dumped them in our kiddie pool. I then let the kids put a couple of buckets of water in with the spaghetti and they had a blast.

It turned a bit ugly at the end when I was trying to put an end to the activity when my eldest decided it would be fun to dump spaghetti all over my youngest's head ... but all in all, they had a great time - no injuries, lots of fun and totally occupied.

Notes:  I decided to do it on my patio because any spaghetti that did "escape" the pool would be dried out and easily swept the next day. I used a colander to gather up most of the noodles and then dumped the pool with the remaining noodles into one of my gardens in the back yard (do not let them put too much water in the pool or you won't be able to move it and you can't very well let out the water with all of the noodles floating around).

And lastly, yes those are circa 1980s WWF Wrestlers that you see in the pictures ... thank you to my in-laws for holding onto them all these years and graciously passing them down.  Nothing like Hulk Hogan, Macho Man and Andre the Giant to add some excitement to a kiddie pool filled with spaghetti!


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Meringue Giveaway Winner - Yeah Laurie-Ann!

Happy to announce that the winner of the $50 Meringue Inc. gift certificate is:


Congrats and let us know what you use it towards.

Thank you to everyone who participated, and remember you are all entitled to 15% off if you would like to purchase some products from Meringue. Just be sure to type in "cc15" at check out to use the discount.

To everyone else - lots more giveaways this week, so email a post (and cc me on it), leave a comment, post on facebook (and let me know about it), become a follower, subscribe to email or drop me a line.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Perfect Gift for a New Baby

If you're anything like me, when someone close to me has a baby or celebrates a really special event I like to get them something equally as special or thoughtful.

Meringue Inc. has these amazing canvases and prints that can be customized for new arrivals or any special child you may be shopping for. 

I fell in love with the Scott Douglas canvas when I saw it and was actually thinking about getting one for each of my sons.  You can tweak the wording too in case it's not quite what you want to say.  The colours are such a nice change from good ol' primary blue, yellow and red. I thought if you design them right, they're something kind of funky that they could keep in their rooms for quite a long while.

If you like these, remember, all C&CS readers get a 15% discount just by using coupon code cc15 at checkout.  And let's not forget about Meringue's $50 gift certificate for one lucky reader ...
To qualify for the $50 gift certificate, you must:
-be a follower or email subscriber of this blog AND
-visit Meringue Inc. and then come back to C&CS and leave a comment here letting us know what your favourite print is

 *Contest closes Sunday at noon. Good Luck and Happy Month of June!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday's Fabulous Mom: Allison Boyd

Cashmere & Carrot Sticks' fabulous Mom for this week is Allison Boyd. Allison is a woman who radiates energy and whom always has a smile on her face.  I'm sure you'll enjoy reading all about her and her Mom ways today.

I am Allison Boyd and I live in the lovely town of Aurora, Ontario. I have been married to my best friend Jason Boyd since 2000. I am the mother of Abby (aged 8) and Cameron (aged 6). I love my family and am grateful everyday to wake up to these three beautiful faces. I own my own business in health care marketing and love what I do! Outside of work and kids activities I personally enjoy Zumba, rollerblading, socializing with friends and reading.
Allison and her beautiful family

What’s on your bedside table right now?
Now this is embarrassing……my computer, iPhone, TV remote, various home decorating magazines, note cards….hmmm…not recommended items to send oneself into a deep peaceful sleep!!! Loved this question as it made me think I should probably change this!

Something you do as a Mom that June Cleaver would approve of …. And something she would raise her eyebrow at?
June would approve of my high expectations on manners. June would NOT approve of me letting my 8 year old stay up until 11pm on a school night and watching “Say yes to the dress” when my husband goes out of town.

Any words of advice for keeping all the clutter and toys from overtaking?
Marry my husband, aka: neat freak! LOL. Jason and I are a match made in heaven when it comes to having a clutter-free home. I think it helps when a couple has the same philosophy on this topic.  I would consider our family the “anti-hoarders.” Since the kids were little, every 6 months or so we take a trip to Good Will. We get the kids involved and go through the toys to decide as a family which ones they are ready to donate.  It has always been an added benefit to give the kids the sense they were really helping another child.

If you had an entire afternoon to yourself, what would you do?
If  “by yourself” means away from the family or work, it would be to spend the afternoon on a patio with girl friends. I definitely miss the days when there were endless hours to sit all afternoon and chat (thank goodness I now have my book club! J). If “by yourself” means truly on my own, then an afternoon at the spa is my perfect afternoon.

 How do you squeeze in the ever-so-important time for just you and your husband?
We are very, very blessed to have both sets of grandparents live in our town. This has given us a lot of opportunities to be together alone With such support we have been able to travel and have many “date nights.”  As the kids have gotten older, we are seeing more and more time together as the kids are starting to play with friends outside of our home. What a strange feeling to have a few hours on a Saturday when our kids are off at friends.

Something special or unique that you do for your family that you hope they remember fondly in the future:
 From the time the kids could stand/walk we have had “mom –led” family dance parties in the kitchen. Hip –hop, hard rock, reggae, pop…the kids may think that every Mom breaks into dance at any given moment.   My hope is when the kids leave home they remember a home filled with love, laughter and music.  It is impossible to feel sad when your’e dancing, so we make it a part of our daily/weekly activities.

Your go-to family meal that you know will be loved by all, eaten by all and serve some nutrients too!
The latest is quinoa and tofu stir-fry. It's packed with protein and flavor. I feel so good when the kids eat this meal.


Thank you so much for participating today Allison and giving us a glimpse into your life. I definitely can't wait to see the hip-hop version of your kitchen dance party at next book club!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fairy Cakes for End-Of-School Festivities ... and Giveaway Reminder

It's the time of year when school is ending, summer is beginning and there are lots of celebrations - class parties, Canada Day, birthdays, bachelorettes, baby showers, 4th of July - and there is no better way to celebrate, in my opinion, than with a cupcake.  And we all know, nothing beats a really awesome cupcake Mmmmmmmmm ... (and nothing is worse than a really bad, dried out cupcake with gross icing).

So here it is, an awesome cupcake recipe for all those occasions, by Nigella Lawson.

(I used this same recipe to make cupcakes for my son's first birthday. You can search Nigella's site for icing or use your own.)

Animal-themed cupcakes for son's
1st Birthday
Nigella's Ultimate Fairy Cakes


    • 130g softened butter
    • 130g caster sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 130g self raising flour
    • 4 tbsp milk (any)


    Serves: 12
    1. Preheat the oven to 190C, 375F, gas mark 5.
    2. Cream together the butter and sugar until creamy and pale. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the vanilla. Whisk into the butter and sugar mix.
    3. Sift half the flour in, and fold. Then add the milk and mix in well. Fold in the other half of the sifted flour.
    4. Spoon into the paper cases and put into the oven for about 25 - 30 mins until golden and crisp on top

    GIVEAWAY REMINDER: Helen from Meringue Inc. has generously agreed to provide C&CS readers with a 15 % off discount (use Coupon Code cc15 at checkout) as well as giveaway a $50 gift certificate to one lucky reader.

    To qualify for the giveaway, you must:
    -be a follower or email subscriber of this blog AND
    -visit Meringue Inc. and then come back to C&CS and leave a comment here letting us know what your favourite print is

     *Contest closes Sunday at noon. Good Luck and Happy Month of June!

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    Guest Blogger: Disney World Survival Tips - Part 1

    As parents of young children, the topic of a Disney World vacation - the possibilities, the interest, the insanity - comes up.  I'm happy to welcome my friend Laura Lueloff as our guest blogger for today. She took a Disney vacation this spring and is anxious to share her experience with all of you. This is the first of her two-part post for us.

    Disney World: the Mecca of Fun
    by Laura Lueloff

    “Disney is crazy”  “We are never going back”  “The line ups were insane”  “Our kids were cranky the entire time!” 

    This is just a sampling of some of the feedback I had heard from people over the years about their trips to the “mecca of fun!” - Walt Disney World ….

    Well, my family and I decided to take the plunge and just returned from our trip.  Not only did we survive, we loved it  and we are planning a 2nd trip for next spring!  Our week-long vacation went off without a single hitch and was a perfect trip. I thought I would share a few tips and tricks that helped make our time there so great….

    1.      Read, research, plan & prepare!
    • Think about the age & temperament of your kids and brainstorm what is best suited to them in terms of attractions, time lines, energy and patience levels
    Check out these helpful resources:

    2.      Be Sensible
    Disney is a Las Vegas-type experience for kids (grown ups too!)  and it’s easy to get carried away with all the things to see, experience and be part of.  "YOU CANNOT DO IT ALL! " should be your mantra.
    • Think about the most important attractions for your kids. What's worth the wait and what can you skip? -Be realistic about what you can accomplish in the time you have. Go into your days at the parks with a plan – it makes a huge difference! (We purchased a 2 day park pass just for Magic Kingdom -we could not “park hop” to other parks on those days-and decided 2 out of 6 days would be enough for us.)
    • We focused on the Magic Kingdom as this offered the most age appropriate options for the 6 and under age group.  The 3 other parks (Epcot, Hollywood Studios & Animal Kingdom) will be tackled on our next trip.Read the detailed descriptions of the parks, the attractions and the height restrictions and you’ll be able to make the best decision for your family

    3.      Take Breaks!
    • Would you go to a place like Canada’s Wonderland for 7 days straight, all day, every day, in extreme heat?  Now multiply that experience by 1000% in terms of crowds, parades, activities and rides! 
    • My advice:  do not go the parks on consecutive days with young kids.  They need a break and so do you!    Take a break in between park days – you might find your kids have just as much fun swimming & splashing – ours did!
    • Midday Breaks -In order to catch the evening parade and fireworks display, we took a siesta in the afternoon at the resort and went back at dinnertime.  It was worth it to watch them experience nighttime at Disney without any meltdowns!

    4.     Bring Your Own Food & Drinks
    • You will go through a security check before entering the parks and they check your bag thoroughly, but they do allow you to bring food and drinks in.  I brought a cooler in each day with nutritious snacks and basic lunch items and lots of water too!  the food in the parks is very expensive and your passes do NOT include food!  i.e  bottle of water = $3!

    5.      The early bird gets the worm….
    • Go to bed early, set your alarm and get to the park at least 30 minutes before it opens.  I am not exaggerating on this tip.  Find out when the park opens and be there before the gates open.  Within 1-2 hours of the opening time the most popular rides already had 30 -45 minute line ups
    • Reservations – if you are interested in any of the special character type meals (ie Cinderella’s castle) you must make your reservations about 6 months in advance.  No exaggeration here whatsoever.  If you change your mind you can always cancel, but if your little princess has her heart set on dining at the castle – 6 months out is the lead time! Call 407-WDW-DINE for more info

    6.      Celebrate something!
    • We arranged this trip for my son’s 6th birthday – something that none of us will ever forget!  Think of a milestone, a birthday, anniversary, graduation – anything that will make things even a little more magical while you are there.  Our son still thinks that the fireworks (best ever!) were specifically for his birthday – in our minds they were!
    7.      Strategic Souvenir Shopping
    • Everywhere you turn within a Disney park there is a store.  Some rides will end with you walking into a store – ridiculous!  We decided early on to not “give in” to the madness.  The entire city of Orlando revolves around Disney – even grocery stores carry Disney merchandise and the savings are huge.  Quick example – most character kids t-shirts at Disney cost about $20-$35 each – head to the WalMart Superstore and save at least 50%!
    8.      Speaking of Shopping….

    GIVEAWAY REMINDER: Helen from Meringue Inc. has generously agreed to provide C&CS readers with a 15 % off discount (use Coupon Code cc15 at checkout) as well as giveaway a $50 gift certificate to one lucky reader.

    To qualify for the giveaway, you must:
    -be a follower or email subscriber of this blog AND
    -visit Meringue Inc. and then come back to C&CS and leave a comment here letting us know what your favourite print is

     *Contest closes Sunday at noon. Good Luck and Happy Month of June!

    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    Cute Artwork for Kids' + A GIVEAWAY!

    If you are looking to for some beautiful artwork for your kids' rooms or for a gift for a relative or friend, you have to check out Meringue Inc.

    I ran into this company at a Children's Trunk Show I attended and was really attracted to the beautiful and colourful prints and canvasses that were available. Especially for boys. So often with boys everything is so "typical boy" - primary colours, overly cartoon and the look usually compromises the goal of any sort of artistic or coordinated feel in their rooms.  Check these out:

    If they like construction vehicles,
    at least these ones are attractive :)

    Meet Helen, owner and founder of Meringue Inc.  After the birth of her second child, Helen left to take on her most challenging role yet: Stay-at-Home Mum.  Upon an overwhelming need for a creative outlet she carved out a studio for herself in the basement of her small Upper Beaches home.  A cozy little corner next to the furnace.  Then she made a trip to Ikea, bought a sexy new iMac, painted the den sangria red and deemed it her office.    No-one multi-tasks better than a Stay-at-Home Mum.

    At the ooey-gooey, sweet and fluffy core of Meringue Inc. rests the belief that art for children doesn’t need to be all about yellow duckies.  It can be cool, visually challenging and as complex and sophisticated as children are today.  We have faith that filling the world with beautiful, inspiring things can only make it a better, more friendly place to be.

    Helen has generously agreed to provide C&CS readers with a 15 % off discount (use Coupon Code cc15 at checkout) as well as giveaway a $50 gift certificate to one lucky reader.

    To qualify for the giveaway, you must:
    -be a follower or email subscriber of this blog AND
    -visit Meringue Inc. and then come back to C&CS and leave a comment here letting us know what your favourite print is

     *Contest closes Sunday at noon. Good Luck and Happy Month of June!

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Greenalicious Bag Giveaway

    Congratulations to Jenn and Jennifer J. who both were lucky winner's of last week's Greenalicious Bag Giveaway

    I will be in touch with details on how to redeem your cute bags. Thanks for being great followers of this blog and taking the time to leave comments - I really appreciate it.

    To everyone else, keep Greenalicious Bags in mind as you get ready for summer camps, packing lunches, snacks for the park and long car rides. These bags are perfect and tested and approved by my kids... and they are reasonably priced!

    More prizes to come this month so become a follower, subscribe via email, send the blog/post to a friend and leave me some comments please!

    New Lights, Old Lights, Future Lights?

    This weekend my husband and I FINALLY checked something off a long over due item off our to-do list for our house.

    When we first moved into our home four! years ago, we were diligent at replacing all of the lights inside right away as well as adding two nice lights on either side of our garage.  However, this lovely light remained in our front entrance way:

    On Saturday, my husband replaced it with this:

    Ahhhhhhh! Much better wouldn't you say?

    Felt so nice to get that off the list and it makes our front entrance way look so much nicer.

    A couple of other lights we were looking at that we liked:
    Light for Master?

    Restoration Hardware
    Vintage Light String

    Light For Our Front Hallway?

    For our Master Bedroom Side lamps?

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    You're Stuck With Me

    So instead of being introduced to this week's Fabulous Mom ... you're stuck with me. I messed up on my scheduling a bit so you'll have to wait until next week to meet our next Mom. But, in the mean time, I thought since you tune into this blog, it's only fair that you know a bit more about me so I have answered a few of the questions I would normally pose to the other Moms.

    My name is Tracy and I have a wonderful husband and two sweet sons. I am a stay-at-home Mom and although it is the most challenging job I have ever had, would not change it for the world. I am  really enjoying watching my children and family grow and find the integral role I play in their lives and the support I can provide to them so rewarding.

    I started this blog approximately a year ago and find it a great way to vent share a lot of what I am going through as a Mom and a woman - the ups and downs, the funny, the frustrating, the new, etc. I have always enjoyed writing so it has been an experiment in that as well.  Being a parent of two young kids, there are periods when there isn't a lot of time for anything but kids... this blog has been my 30 minutes here and there for me.

    How does a day start for you and what’s being served for breakfast?
    Typically one of my little ones wake up at six or just before. Husband and I take turns getting up. We usually venture to the couch in our living room for a show, then breakfast around 6:30 or 7. At some point showers and getting ready happen, but it's all sort of a blurrrrr. Breakfast is usually cereal and fruit, except on the weekend when we step things up a notch with waffles/pancakes/eggs.

    Favorite bedtime story(ies) currently on the must-read list for your little ones?
    With my eldest son, the Frog and Toad series was a hit for awhile and right now it is a unique selection of books from our trip to the library last week. My youngest loves anything with animals, and flaps to open (rip).

    What’s on your bedside table right now?
    Nothing ... I am waiting for a delivery from Chapters with the 2nd and 3rd books in the Hunger Games series.

    Tip or Trick for getting those daily vegetable servings in:
    Wish I had one. We insist that the kids always have to try the food that is on their plate and if they don't, there is no dessert if we are having any or seconds of their favourites.  During the winter when I cook more casseroles I mash up cauliflower (or another vegetable) in a lot of things as it virtually disappears. Another trick is pureeing a lot of sauces and stews so the kids don't become fixated on the chunks of "stuff."  I don't believe in catering the meals to my kids so I'm hoping that with time and persistence, they will become a bit more adventurous.

    Something you do as a Mom that June Cleaver would approve of …. And something she would raise her eyebrow at?
    I don't think June Cleaver would like the fact that sometimes I clip my kids nails in their rooms (hey, you have to do what you have to do), but she would definitely approve of me hanging three loads of laundry on my clothesline yesterday.

    Any words of advice for keeping all the clutter and toys from overtaking?
    No secret. Constant tidying up. Trying to enforce the "clean up one toy before starting with the next" rule and baskets, baskets, baskets!  This way things can be sorted and put away and look somewhat tidy even if they're not. Oh and constantly going through and removing toys/giving away/handing down that are not being used or are no longer suitable. And of course, don't buy so much! (Kids don't need it).

    Something special unique thing that you do for your family that you hope they remember fondly in the future

    On each of our son's first birthdays we made them a time capsule to be opened on their 16th birthdays. We have a huge family and a lot of people came to the first birthday parties so in lieu of gifts we asked that everyone bring something for their time capsule - picture, story, family information, card, etc.  Everyone participated and it will (hopefully) be a wonderful gift and memory for them when they are older.
    Also, being a stay-at-home Mom is something that means a lot to me and my husband. I hope that the kids remember a lot of the things we got to do together and at some point appreciate the choices we made so that I could stay home and why we made them.

    Have a great weekend everyone!

    Oh What The Heck ... Let's Give Something Away

    I told you the Month of June was going to be great .... you didn't believe me?

    I have tricks (and prizes) up my sleeves that I haven't told you about yet.

    Today, let's giveaway one of these:
    (Thank you to the author, Gill Deacon, for generously providing a copy for a lucky C&CS reader!)

    And the winner is ...

    Redesigning Sarah!

    *Because this was a surprise draw, I put all of our new followers, all commenters and new email subscribers into the draw.  I promise you there are more prizes to come so comment, forward the blog/favourite post, tell a friend or start following if you haven't already.

    ANOTHER GIVEAWAY: Laurie-Ann of Greenalicious Bags has agreed to give away TWO! Greenalicious Bags to two lucky C&CS readers this week. So here is your chance. All you have to do to enter is subscribe to C&CS as a follower or via email AND leave a comment here this week telling us what or who you would use your new Greenalicous bag for (visit to check them out). The giveaway will end on Sunday at noon. Good Luck!

    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    A Mind Of His Own

    As many of you can relate, tis the season for mandatory hat and sunscreen wearing with the little ones.  Although we have multiple hats, sunglasses and sunscreen, it never fails that they end up left in the car, hidden in a bag, out on the laundry line to be dried etc. so when you go to retrieve one (or tell my son's to go to their basket and get a hat) there are often slim pickings.  This morning, this is what my youngest son chose ... no switch that ... insisted on:

    Now before anyone concludes that I am a delinquent Mom and was putting my son at risk of overheating in his wool tuque, the picture was taken at 8:30 in the morning and although a nice day, it was not yet hot enough to be an issue.  The afternoon's wardrobe choice - when it was a lot warmer - was a much cooler choice ... a baseball hat ;)

    Laurie-Ann of Greenalicious Bags has agreed to give away TWO! Greenalicious Bags to two lucky C&CS readers this week. So here is your chance. All you have to do to enter is subscribe to C&CS as a follower or via email AND leave a comment here this week telling us what or who you would use your new Greenalicous bag for (visit to check them out). The giveaway will end on Sunday at noon. Good Luck!

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    Practical & Cute Snack Bags

    I recently happened upon these super cute snack bags/pouches made by Greenalicious Bags.

    Greenalicious Bags

    Greenalicious Bags
    I was struck by these bags because of their really cute designs. After speaking to Laurie-Ann, the woman behind Greenalicous bags, I learned that they are all made out of reused kids clothes (hence the cute designs, jean pockets and zippers) and lined with organic cotton. They are ideal for holding food in lunch bags, snack pouches in back packs or as I do for myself, as a wallet.  And they are VERY reasonably priced.

    I bought three - one for each of my sons and one for ... me! :

    It always bring a bit of peace of mind when I know a product is made by a Mom who is concerned with health - both for her family and the Earth.  Greenalicious Bags was created because of Laurie-Ann's concern with all of the synthetic materials that our kids (and the Earth) are exposed to and her desire to have a more healthy way to transport snacks.  I love her tagline:

    Greenalicious Bags - made by a mom, endorsed by Mother Nature!

    And the best part ... Laurie-Ann has agreed to give away TWO! Greenalicious Bags to two lucky C&CS readers this week. So here is your chance. All you have to do is subscribe to C&CS as a follower or via email AND leave a comment here this week telling us what or who you would use your new Greenalicous bag for. The giveaway will end on Sunday at noon.

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    Wow Him With Your Carrot Cake

    This carrot cake is the absolute best. Got the recipe from a family member and it is to die for. Put it to the test this weekend and got the MIL and the FIL approval on it. It was so good that their was only the below picture left when all was said and done after a dinner serving and a breakfast! serving. What?

    Put it this way .... June Cleaver would have died to get her hands on this recipe so she could serve it at all of her important ladies' functions.

    Might be a good time to try it out this weekend for Father's Day.  ENJOY!

    Elsie's (AWESOME) Carrot Cake
    3 cups of grated carrots
    3 eggs
    1 cup sugar
    1/4 cup of oil
    1 1/2 cups sifted flour
    I 1/4 tsp baking powder
    I 1/4 tsp baking soda
    I 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

    Beat eggs and add sugar and oil. Sift flour and mix with baking powder, soda, salt and cinnamon. Fold dry mixture into liquid mixture, add carrots and mix well.  Bake in greased angel food cake bundt pan for one hour at 300F.

    4 oz cream cheese room temperature (1/2 package of 250g container)
    2 cups icing sugar
    1/4 cup butter melted
    2 tsp vanilla
    1 tbs lemon juice
    I cup grated toasted coconut (optional, I don't usually use)

    Cream cheese well, add sugar and beat well to blend mixture. Add
    melted butter, vanilla and lemon juice. Spread on cake. Sprinkle with coconut.

    **when I did this recipe I used low fat cream cheese. Still tastes great and works fine, but the icing is a bit more runny so if you're looking for a thicker icing, stick with the regular version. I also did not use walnuts or coconut for personal preference.

    Monday, June 13, 2011

    We're going to the zoo zoo zoo ...

    In our new car car car ... and look what fits inside side side ...

    Mommy loves the extra space! space! space!

    (sung to the tune of Raffi's "Going To The Zoo" in case you missed it)

    Wow! Does this ever change how I can do things.  Last weekend I was at a garage sale and decided to get the kids a picnic table ... I simply picked it up and popped it in my trunk and magically in seconds was driving away with my new $15 picnic table in the back of my car with four people riding inside and all doors firmly closed i.e. no ropes needed. Summer vacation packing just got a whole lot easier.

    According to Wikipedia, June and Ward Cleaver drove these two cars throughout the Leave It To Beaver series:

    Ford Fairlane

    Plymouth Fury Hardtop (Cleaver version was 4 door)

    Don't think they could have fit a picnic table, but lots of good trunk space for family outings! 

    Saturday, June 11, 2011

    Sunscreen in a Powder?!

    Although we should think about sunscreen all year round, it's this time of year in particular with the warmer temperatures, endless hours spent outside and the much warmer sun that reminds us how important this is in our daily routines.

    As we hit spring/summer, I put sunscreen on my face daily .... the rest of my body I am not as diligent about for casual out and abouts, but if I am planning to be out in the sun for an extended time, would never go without.

    I find sunscreen for the face so confusing - when exactly during your beauty routine (ha! beauty routine ... who am I kidding?) does it go on? First? Last?

    And in what form should it take? Moisturizer? Makeup with SPF? Stand-alone SPF? or a Powder?

    I never even knew sunscreen existed in powder form until a few weeks ago when I tried Sun Defence by Eminence.  Brenda Gouin from Buy Green Skin Care (you know the one who has given us these great promotions and giveaways this week) carries this innovative and unique product.

      Sun Defence by Eminence
    • Made with real fruit extracts for extra skin nutrition (an industry first!)
    • Water resistant - great for exercise or swimming
    • Appropriate for men, women & children (over 6 months) 
    • Weightless, allows the skin to breath, and is hypo-allergenic
    • Blocks free-radicals and environmental pollution
    • Anti-inflammatory, healing, excellent for post-treatment (especially for red or blotchy skin)
    • Clean, anti-bacterial and will not clog pores
    • Loaded with vitamins and bioflavonoids
    • Reflects the sun and keeps skin cool reducing rosacea flare-ups and oil production
    • Available in various shades for added coverage
    • Darker shades can be used as a bronzer or for contouring
    • Easy to use, apply and carry anywhere
    Unfortunately I was not able to put this product to the test as I just had the opportunity of trying it out during a demonstration (on a rainy, cloudy day), but the really neat thing about this product is that it resembles putting on powder foundation AND it comes in various shades too! It's easy, very light and sure would beat the greasy, tear-inducing, chemical-loaded sunscreen that is normally used for the kiddos.

    Thought I would let you know about Sun Defence in case you were looking for some new SPF products as the heat rises and the summer outings increase. Visit Buy Green Skin Products for more information.

    Friday, June 10, 2011


    Congratulation to Jess! She is the lucky winner of a $40 gift certificate to Buy Green Skin Care products/services. Thanks to everyone who entered to win. Stay tuned next week for more giveaways and chances to win!

    Thank you so much to Brenda Gouin for all of the great information on so many wonderful natural skin care options and products for the family.  And of course for her generous promotions and giveaways to C&CS readers! In case you missed out, here is a sneak peak of a few other products that are available at 

    Friday's Fabulous Mom: Laurel MacDougall from Ducks in a Row

    Cashmere & Carrot Sticks fabulous Mom for this week is Laurel MacDougall. Laurel has a wonderful blog - Ducks in a Row - that is a "must visit" for all of you out there.

    I am Laurel MacDougall.  I have 3 darling children - my oldest daughter will be 9 next month, my son is the middle child and he is 6 and my youngest daughter is 3.  I've been married to Tom, a geo technical engineer for 12 years and we live in Colorado.  Tom works very hard and I am a stay-at-home mom.  I teach piano lessons out of our home to 12 students, plus my own kids.  I love to blog, run and exercise, read, make my home a special place, organize and de-clutter everything, and try to keep us all healthy and active.
    Our fabulous Mom Laurel and her family
    How does a day start for you and what’s being served for breakfast?
    I just wrote a post about our breakfast routines, click here to view it.  A typical day for me usually starts between 5 - 5:30 am and goes something like this.

    Favorite bedtime story(ies) currently on the must-read list for your little ones?
    I am not sure we have must-reads.  We visit the library about once a week and we fill up a basket of books.  I also organize our books by month.  This helps us rotate through all the books we have.  My oldest usually reads on her own and she is into Harry Potter right now.  My middle son is just starting to be an independent reader and my youngest loves any book.  We usually do have some Dora ones from the library that she loves to check out.

    What’s on your bedside table right now?
    Oy, I have way too many books on my nightstand.  I just finished Mindless Eating and found it fascinating.  I've been trying to get through the Chronicles of Narnia all year.  I always read my scriptures.

    Tip or Trick for getting those daily vegetable servings in
    I think if there was a tip that was always successful, someone would be a millionaire!  My first piece of advice is to be an example.  I eat salads almost every day for lunch and my kids see that.  I always serve vegetables, usually a salad, at dinner.  It's not really an option - they have to eat it.  They usually wait for me to say "eat your veggies" but they don't usually complain and know they have to eat them and why.  I also make sure there are veggies that I know they like.  I.'s favorite is lettuce, G. likes beets and cucumbers and broccoli, M. likes carrots.  I asked my kids what advice they have and my oldest say "drench them in ranch - they're way better that way."  We don't do that, but I guess that might work.
    Any words of advice for keeping all the clutter and toys from overtaking?
    My biggest piece of advice is to not have so much!  My kiddos have their favorites, but getting something new is a VERY special occasion!  Second, have a place for everythingand make sure you put the toys away together several times to teach them where they go.  If there isn't a specific place (it helps if it is labeled) then they are going to end up all over the house on the floor - guaranteed!

    Something special unique thing that you do for your family that you hope they remember fondly in the future
    Most of what they do, I hope they will remember.  Building memories is a big motivator for me.  Our favorite times are Family Movie Nights on Friday nights.  We make pizza together and watch a movie.  We also have Family Night every Monday night.  I am not sure how unique those are though.  I have found that my kids are just as happy, if not more, when we spend time together.  They love going to the park, playing in our back yard, building Legos - probably more than going to a movie theater, going out to eat, or spending a lot of money.  They do talk fondly, though, of our Disney world trip that we took last year.

    Your go-to family meal that you know will be loved by all, eaten by all and serve some nutrients too!
    Tacos - everyone customizes how they want it.  My youngest has a ton of allergies and tacos allow her to eat gluten, egg and peanut free.  My son loves meat, but not cheese - so that's how he makes his.  My oldest thinks tacos are "awesome."  My husband eats them with everything on them and I eat them more as a salad.   They're always served with lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, black beans, ground turkey or chicken, cheese, sour cream and tortillas.  They are quick and everyone eats them.  In fact, we are having them for dinner tonight! 


    Thank you so much Laurel for being one of our Fabulous Moms - it's a well-deserved title.  Please do take the time to check out Laurel's blog - Ducks in a Row - where you will learn even more amazing stuff about this woman and her family.

    Reminder to everyone that the giveaway for this week ends today at noon with winners being announced either this afternoon or on Monday (depending on my schedule :)). Click here to learn more about the giveaways and here for information on how to enter - hurry!
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