Friday, November 27, 2015

Holiday Shopping for the Adults on Your List

It's Holiday Shopping Time!  Today I hit the mall.  I have to say, I am NOT a fan of line ups, squeezing past people, mounds of products strewn all over the place and never finding the sizes I want anyway. Last year I did almost all of my holiday shopping from my computer and today's foray into the craziness of the mall reinforced that I am an online shopper at heart.

I thought I would help you out by making some suggestions for the adults on your list that you can drop in your online shopping cart and have delivered directly to your door.

For the Men on your list:

We know that men can be the hardest to buy for and with Movember coming to an end there are going to be a lot of men who will be wanting rid of some facial hair.



Did you also know that men have a MUCH HIGHER RATE of SKIN CANCER! It's true. That's because most men don't protect against sun damage. Let's take care of our men!



BEYOND THE SHAVE is the smart yet simple approach to men’s skincare. Curated by the Doctors specifically to address men’s shaving needs, BEYOND THE SHAVE is clinically proven to alleviate dryness and razor irritation while revealing better-looking skin.

BEYOND THE SHAVE features three full-sized products:
1. UNBLEMISH Acne Treatment Sulfur Wash (used as a shaving cream)
2. SOOTHE Sensitive Skin Treatment (used to counteract redness and irritation)
3. REDEFINE Triple Defense Treatment (used to nourish & protect skin)

Available for a limited time and shipped in this handsome giftable box (cuff links and bow tie not included) .

For the Ladies:

Treat lips to REDEFINE Lip Renewing Serum. Each peptide- and antioxidant-rich capsule helps lips retain natural moisturizing factors, visibly smoothes lip texture, and reduces the appearance of lip wrinkles.


Purchase during the holiday promotion and you'll receive the Lip Serum and a compact mirror in a beautiful blue gift box.  Men, you don't even have to fancy it up, we've done that for you.


Amazing Stocking Stuffers for Everyone!




Exfoliate:

This MICRODERMABRASION PASTE is a crowd favourite.


Available in a jar or in convenient sachets, perfect for travel.

Banish Tired Eyes:

This REDEFINE MULTIFUNCTION EYE CREAM is top notch. 



Some people are calling this eye cream magical, I call it gold and won't go a day without it.  It combines powerful peptides to minimize the appearance of crow’s feet, helps reduce the appearance of both puffiness and dark under eye circles while special optical diffusers noticeably brighten the eye area. Ophthalmologist tested, this formula is ideal for maintaining the delicate skin around the eyes.

Erase the Wrinkles & Turkey Neck:

Yes, I'm a little addicted to this product.  It is so simple to use and really combats the drooping that comes with aging.  Take a firm position on aging skin with this patentented REDEFINE AMP MD™ System, which includes the noninvasive AMP MD Micro-Exfoliating Roller and REDEFINE Night Renewing Serum.



The AMP MD System utilizes micro-exfoliation roller technology for visibly advanced skin-firming benefits. Many people pay hundreds of dollars for these treatments in spas and dermatologist's offices but you can do it regularly in the privacy and comfort of your own home.

My Gifts to You!

  1. Sign up as a Preferred Customer at the checkout and you will receive 10% off your orders and FREE shipping.  I will personally REFUND you the PC Enrollment fee.  Details here.
  2. I will REFUND the shipping cost for anyone who orders either the Lip Renewing Serum Holiday Package or the Beyond The Shave Holiday Package as they do not qualify for free shipping. 
These are my ways of saying "thank you" and putting a little more jingle in your pockets this holiday season.  


Make sure to order by December 11th 
to ensure they are delivered before Christmas!

NOTE: I am an independent consultant for Rodan + Fields.  If you'd like to learn more about any of these products or the business that is helping me spend more time at home with my family and earn a sizeable income, please contact me at: susannah_beautifulskin@outlook.com


Monday, November 16, 2015

HGTV’s The Expandables Casting Call:



You may or may not know that I am a SUPER huge fan of home renovation shows. Yup - it's my go-to television whenever I have time. You may or may not know that I also live in a 1600 ft bungalow of which we use every single square inch. That is probably why I loved the show The Expandables when it aired previously. I love seeing how they can add space without well, adding any space. I am totally type A and love a good neat home. I also love good space design (maybe by necessity) and storage.

Well, The Expandables is back and they're looking for new homeowners. Here are the details in case you want to get in on some of the renovation action.



If you love your home and neighbourhood, but you're running out of space, The Expandables can help! What might have been the perfect house when you bought it just might not be growing with your changing needs. Enter contractor Rob Evans and designer Mia Parres to come up with clever solutions to give you a more livable space - without adding a single square foot! When you can't make your house bigger, make it better with help from The Expandables!


If you're interested in having Rob and his team work their magic at your home, please consider the fact that:
  • You must own your home, and live within the Greater Toronto Area
  • You are outgoing and excited about having your space renovated on TV
  • You must be willing to find alternate accommodations for the duration of the renovation
  • Budgets vary depending on the scope of a project, but you must be able to contribute a minimum of $25,000 towards the renovation
  • You cannot have previously appeared on another reality TV show
The Pros:
  • We will provide you with an interior designer worth $5,000 and you will have input into the design
  • We will add $15,000 to your budget, as well as making the budget go further with discounts and freebies
  • The renovation is completed by a great team of licensed contractors who take care of everything and are dedicated entirely to your home
  • The entire renovation will be completed in 5 weeks! Meaning minimal disruption to your family
  • The shooting will take place in early 2016 so your dream renovation could be a reality in just a few months

Check out the show at http://www.hgtv.ca/theexpandables/ to see what it’s all about.  If you are interested in taking part in the show, please contact Stephanie at stephquill@gmail.com.  All submissions need to be in by November 30, 2015.

I hope to see some of my Creative Mama on a Dime readers on tv soon!

*Creative Mama on a Dime has no affiliation with The Expandables.  
CMOAD cannot be held responsible for any grievances you may have should you participate in the show.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Does your child have the GRUMPS? (Giveaway)

We all have trouble dealing with emotions but for kids, talking and sorting out emotions can be especially difficult.  As parents, teachers and caregivers we are always looking for ways to help our children to understand and manage their emotions in a healthy way.



That is why I am so excited to share this book with you all.  The Grumps was written by Paula Hillick and it is a wonderful tool for parents to use with their kids.  Not only does it validate what they sometimes feel, it gives it a name and helps them to learn how to deal with this emotion in a healthy and supportive way.  It is a beautiful story with a heartfelt message.  

Paula has released this book as the first in a series of stories that are aimed to help children manage emotions and develop tools to deal with them.  This book can help parents, teachers and caregivers to empower children and show them that through their choices they are in control of their emotions, words, thoughts and actions. 

To purchase the book you can visit any of these 3 websites to purchase a copy of your own in e-book format or softcover.  Also take note of our great giveaway below.

Think Care Share:


Author Paula Hillick has also created a community called Think Care Share to foster an environment of positivity and help spark positive change in families, in communities and the world. It is a great resource for everyone.  I can't wait for the next books in her series.

Giveaway:

I am VERY excited to be able to offer this book for free to 3 or my readers.  Enter the contest below for your chance to own your very own copy.


Good luck everyone!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Foodie? Pet Parent? Your dream has been answered

The trend these days is food trucks.  God knows my kids and I had some delicious meals over the summer from walking up to a food truck in Toronto.  How does lamb, purple carrots and coconut oil sound? No, it’s not dinner tonight for you but it could be for your pet all thanks to TruFood and their pet food truck.


After traveling across the U.S. the Wellness TruFood Wagon, a farmer’s market food truck for the most epicurean of pets, has made its way to the GTA.
Pet parents agree, our animals are like our babies and we want the best nutrition for them we can find.  Dogs and cats can both get in on this delicious new natural pet food made with whole foods such as whole prey protein, raw produce and antioxidant-loaded superfoods. Wellness TruFood is made with colorful ingredients you can see like chicken, beets, coconut oil, kale, pumpkin and live active yogurt cultures. TruFood recipes provide pets with the vibrant, natural nutrition they need to stay happy and healthy.  


Pet Parents - check it out:

  • Thursday, 9/10: PetSmart, 2311 Appleby Line, Unit 2, Burlington, 2:00pm - 7:00pm
  • Friday,  9/11 : Ren's Pet Depot, 980 Taunton Rd E., Whitby,  3:00pm - 6:30pm
  • Saturday, 9/12: Taste of the Kingsway Festival, The Kingsway, Toronto, 11:00am - 9:00pm
  • Sunday, 9/13: Taste of the Kingsway Festival, The Kingsway, Toronto 11:00am - 9:00pm


Stop by and receive samples of the new gourmet Wellness TruFood, enter for a chance to win a year’s supply of pet food, win prizes from a spin-to-win-wheel, cool-off with a doggy drink station, and more.  Your pet will leave satisfied and you'll probably leave a little jealous!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Does My 11 Year Old REALLY Need a Phone?

I am struggling.  My daughter is about to enter middle school and she feels that she needs a phone.  I on the other hand have told her that she doesn't but I'm not sure which of us is right.


Let me give you some background on the situation.  The school she is going to is right behind our house.  In fact, she doesn't even need to cross the street.  99% of the time I'll be home when she gets home so I really don't see why she NEEDS a phone.



She feels she NEEDS a phone because all her friends have them (not sure this is accurate) and she may go somewhere after school and need to call me (hello - can you say "pay phone") or call me when she does arrive home.  My smart alec remark to that was that if she calls me from our home phone when she arrives home then I know she is safely home because it shows on my call display but if she calls from her cell phone she could be kidnapped and half way across the world for all I know.  Okay, I get that's a little drastic but I really am struggling with  this whole decision.

I think a big part of my fear is that I know a cell phone isn't just for calls, it is for texting, she'll soon want a data plan, and instagram, etc.  I know that we are laying down strong morals and values with our kids but the internet and technology are hard to navigate for even the best of kids.

I found this great resource from Telus that helps parents guide their decisions regarding a child's readiness for a smartphone.  In it they talk about it not being about the child's age as much as their maturity that should be the determining factor.  Here are their 4 guiding questions to determine if your child is ready.

  1. Have you set limits for use of iPods, tablets, computers, gaming consoles?  If yes, does your child understand and respect these limits?
  2. Does your child need a phone to stay in contact with you in case of an emergency?
  3. Can your child be trusted to not use their phone at inappropriate times? (i.e. in class)
  4. Have you laid the foundation for responsible smartphone behaviour and talked with them about sharing inappropriate pictures and posts?

I found these questions really helpful.  Instead of it being an emotional decision (me freaking out "no" and her freaking out "yes")  that we are making, it becomes a decision based on needs and readiness.

Friday, July 3, 2015

A Mom's Morning Quickie

Sometimes all I feel like is a morning quickie.  I'm tired, I don't really have time or energy to put into the real thing, I'm in a rush but I still have a need.   The need is real and I can't leave home without taking care of it.  That's when I turn to the kitchen.  I know, crazy as it may seem, the kitchen holds the answer for me.  The kitchen you wonder?!?  Oh, I get where you think I was going with this...no...it's my hair!  

Some mornings I wake up and my hair just looks a little too greasy for my liking.  It's not really dirty but just a little limp around the roots.  The ends definitely don't need another wash (yes, maybe a little over-processing there) but the roots are crying out for help.  I know there are a million dry shampoos on the market and I've tried a few but in all honesty, nothing has worked better for me, this solution is inexpensive and always on hand.  The key is cornstarch.




So, here's how it works.  
  1. I take my box of cornstarch, sprinkle a little on my brush.  
  2. Turn my head upside down so my hair is hanging towards the floor
  3. Start brusing from the back of my head forward* 
  4. Flip my head back up and brush into my hair into place
* That way if I have a little too much cornstarch on the brush it doesn't end up thick at my hairline or sprinkled on my face.  


The bonus for me is that I have pretty thin hair and this tends to give me a thicker look.  It also makes my hair much easier to style.

I've tried with baby powder too and while I love the smell, it tends to leave my hair full of electric static which is then a new problem I have to deal with.  Cornstarch is the secret recipe to my "quickie" morning hair routine for sure.  

Here's to great looking hair and a morning quickie!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A fun AND affordable summer with your kids - is that an oxymoron?

"Summertime, and the living is easy" - okay, that's how the song goes but as a mom, you know just as well as I do that summer can actually be a really stressful time for families. Not only are we stressed finding ways to keep our kids entertained (while many of us are still at work 8 hours a day) but the costs associated with camps and summer outings add stress to the family budget as well.

School's Out - now what?  Time for camp!



According to a recent TD survey, 55% of Canadian parents with children under the age of 18 take on additional costs during the summer; in fact, 71% of them spend up to $999 per child. Ouch - that's a lot of money when you multiply it by the number of kids in your family.


What I've learned over time (and with the great advice of some super savvy financial ladies) is that there are many simple ways that we can minimize the stress of summer and still provide a fun and safe environment for our kids.

5 Ways to Make Summer Camps More Affordable

1.  High/Low:


In our family we always employ the high/low method of selecting camps. If the kids want to go to a specialty camp (that always come with a high price tag) then we offset it by selecting a local municipal or church based camp that is less costly.

2.  Early Bird Savings:

Many camps offer early bird pricing if you pay in full before a certain date. It can add up to big savings for the summer if you do it for each of your kids.

3.  Multiple Week Discounts:

Another way to save is to take advantage of the multiple week discounts that many camps offer. By sending your children to the same camp for a longer period of time, there is often a great cost savings to you.

4.  Multiple Child Discounts:

Here's where the idea of bulk buying comes into play. Send your kids to the SAME camp. Not only does it take away a ton of the logistical stress of drop off and pick-ups, it also saves you money. Most camps offer sibling discounts so make sure to ask.

5.  Referral Credits:

We all know that our kids like to go to camp with friends. Take advantage of the referral credit a lot of camps offer when you refer one of your kids' friends to the camp. It's a win/win - your child has a buddy for the week and you have a few extra dollars in your pocket.




Okay, so you've saved a bit of money taking advantage of the cost savings above but you still have summer bills to pay. Where do you get that money from? You aren't alone when you ask that question.

Did you know that 51% of parents find budgeting for additional summer costs stressful and that only 28% of parents save ahead of time.

TD Savings, Summer Savings, Paying for Camp


I spoke with Linda MacKay, Senior Vice President, Retail Savings and Investing and Shirley Malloy Associate Vice President, Acquisition & Sales Management from TD Canada Trust and got their advice on how to help you prepare for the cost of summer.



5 great tips from the experts at TD Canada Trust to help you prepare for the cost of summer ahead of time.

1.  Make a habit out of saving:

Throughout the year you can put away a little money each week to help offset the summer expenses. A really easy way to do this is to set up auto-payments into a savings account so you automate those savings. A Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) is the perfect place to save for summer.

2.  Put the Universal Child Care Benefits to use:

As of January 2015, the Canadian government pays each family $160/month for kids under 6 years of age and $60/month for kids between the ages of 7 and 17. If you set aside that money and earmark it specifically for summer activities, you will have $720/school aged child ready to use towards summer camps or activities.

3.  Put Your Points to Work:

Points! I love paying for things with points! It feels like such a bonus. Take a look at your credit card and decide if the reward system aligns with your family's needs. Some cards give you cash back once a year - set that money aside in savings for summer activities. Other cards allow you to trade your points for products. Theme park tickets, flights, restaurant vouchers and more can be purchased with some credit card points. You can't pay for camp with points but you can pay for a lot of other fun summertime activities with your points.

4.  Work Together with Friends:

You probably have friends who are in the same boat as you; they need their kids to be taken care of during the day while they go to work. See if it is possible for you to take off different holiday weeks during the summer and take each other's kids for that week. You both save money on child care and we all know, it's WAY easier to entertain your kids when they have a friend. So, coordinate those calendars early.

5.  Make tax time work for you:


File your receipts – some summer costs could be tax deductible as a child care expense or under the Child Fitness Tax Credit on your tax return. When you get this money back next year, put that money aside immediately to be used for 2016 summer activities.

Summer is supposed to be fun, stressing over how to finance it can definitely take away some of the excitement and joy. After speaking with Linda MacKay, Senior Vice President, Retail Savings and Investing and Shirley Malloy Associate Vice President, Acquisition & Sales Management, experts at TD Canada Trust I now know how important it is to prepare yourself this summer and put some of the suggestions above into play to help you save money on your summer activities and save for those expenses ahead of time.

Get back to basics and remember, a great game of hide and go seek paired with a popsicle is a great way to spend a summer evening! Have a great summer with your family! 

This post has been sponsored by TD Canada Trust, but the opinions are my own.
For more information, please visit http://www.tdcanadatrust.com.

Friday, June 19, 2015

5 Summer Safety Essentials for Kids

If your family is anything like mine and you live in an area that has more cold days than warm ones, the moment the sun shines we're all like a sunflower arcing to face the sun.  That being said, our skin is delicate and exposure to those rays can cause burns.  Here are 5 simple essentials for keeping safe in the sun this summer.




The earlier you start implementing these practices, the more routine they'll become.  In fact, I had to laugh; I asked my 8 year old to bring in the recycling bin from the curb and he grabbed his hat before he headed out for this one minute job.  I guess it's ingrained in them now!


1.  Sunscreen:


Image: Fear No Beauty

I can't say enough about finding a good sunscreen and using it diligently. 


You see products that say they're safe for UVA and/or UVB rays.  But, what does that really mean? Here's a great way to remember; UVA are the Aging rays, the ones that cause us to develop wrinkles, etc.  UVB rays are the Burning rays, those that cause us to end up looking like a lobster.  So remember - A for Aging and B for Burning.  You really want to look for Full Spectrum Sunscreens that provide 100% UVA and UVB protection.

I love this sunscreen for the face, it is my absolute favourite.  It is easy to apply, doesn't feel heavy, has a nice scent and most importantly, it works!  

For their bodies I insist on a cream sunscreen.  The sprays seem so much more convenient but it is also very easy to miss areas and I never feel like you get a thick enough coating.  A personal fave at our house is this one.  I think part of that is because of the tropical smell but it has never let us down.  If you need fragrance free, this one is great too.

Remember, no matter which sunscreen you use, keep reapplying throughout the day, about every 2 hours or after swimming. Sweat, swimming, etc. will all decrease the effectiveness or wash away the sunscreen altogether. Don't forget those easy to forget spots either - your ears, knees, calves, elbows and the tops of your feet.

NOTE: I know this post is about keeping safe in the summer but really we should all be protecting ourselves from the sun year round and wearing sunscreen daily.  


2. Put on a pair of Sunglasses:


Images: Real Kids

Your children's eyes are just as sensitive as their skin.  I love this shop for kids' sunglasses.  They have 5 sizes ranging from from baby to tween (and super cute age appropriate styles too), they're shatterproof, they provide full spectrum protection and they aren't expensive.  


3.  Practice Water Safety:



Our kids LOVE the water and always have but it takes no time at all for a fun day at the pool or beach to go very wrong.  Here are a few basic tips to remember this summer:


  • Never leave kids unattended near water
  • Set clear rules and enforce them; i.e. no one allowed in water alone, no touching other people in water, etc.
  • Ensure gates are latched around pools - with all the comings and goings, this sometimes gets missed.
  • Wear proper PFD when out on boats, etc.
  • Don't push kids to pass deep end tests if they're not ready
  • Take lessons throughout the year to prepare for summer months. This means parents too.

Obviously this is just scratching the surface.  Make sure to follow all rules at waterparks, pools and beaches to ensure your family is safe.


4. Hydrate:


A water bottle works better but hey, we'll take hydration any way we can get it.

Get them a water bottle they love (or a few if your kids tend to leave them places like mine do).  Keep it filled with WATER.  Yup, good old water is the best way to keep them hydrated.  If they're out on their bikes, make sure their bike has a bottle holder so they are never without.  


5.  Take time out of the sun:



Image and instructions: Blue House Joys


The sun is at it's hottest between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.  Obviously this is a key time for days at the zoo, the waterpark, etc. but it is important to take time out of the sun too.  Find a shadey spot under a tree and play some games, visit some of the inside exhibits at the zoo, find a story-time (or make one of your own) at the library or even make a trend of the mid-day movie.  How about building your kids a simple hoola-hoop tent that they can use as a mini-fort to get out of the sun, play board games, read, and just hang out.  


Have a safe and fun summer!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

My sibling has Special Needs. What about me?

This is a very typical question for kids who have siblings with special needs.  It can feel lonely, it can be stressful, but now it can be fun too!  I am so excited to introduce you to Sibshops.


Sibshops is a non-sectarian, fun and lively program specially designed for brothers and sisters of kids with special needs.  

Sibshops are pedal-to-the-metal events where they will meet other sibs (usually for the first time), have fun, laugh, talk about the good and not-so-good parts of having a sib with special needs, play some great games, learn something about the services their brothers and sister receive, and have some more fun.  



Is it therapy?  No, but it may be theraputic for siblings to have somewhere to be honest, discover that they aren't alone and just have fun.

Best known for helping local communities start Sibshops chapters, the Sibling Support Project is the first national program dedicated to the life-long and ever-changing concerns of millions of brothers and sisters of people with special health, developmental, and mental health concerns. You can check out their website at The Sibling Support Project and find events in your neigbhourhood.

The Ottawa chapter is launching this month and has lots of events coming up this year.  



I hope you'll take advantage of this amazing resource and share it with friends.  Isn't it great to know you're not alone!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Hand Silhouette Heart Keepsake & Valentine!

This post was originally shared as part of the Create Memories with Kids series at The Girl Creative! With Valentine's day just around the corner and being at the beginning of a new year, I thought this might be a really fun craft for you to do with the kids or use the idea to create super-adorable Valentine's cards for loved ones.



Celebrating milestones and keeping track of your their is important to our kids. This is an easy craft they will have fun making and be proud display.

Materials needed:

  • A piece of coloured paper
  • Pencil
  • Markers
  • White paper the size of your frame
  • Scissors
  • Foam paint brush
  • Glue
  • Picture frame

Instructions:

  1. Fold the coloured paper in half.
  2. Place your child's hand on the coloured paper with fingers spread so that their thumb and first finger both touch the folded edge of the paper.
  3. Trace their hand with the pencil then cut it out.
  4. Lay the silhouette of your child's hand over the white paper.
  5. Have your child fill the white page with meaningful words. Encourage them to write the words in different directions and in different colours.
  6. Frame their masterpiece.

Year after year their hand prints will get bigger and their interests and favourites will continually change. By doing this every year they will be able see how they have grown and what was important to them at each stage of their life. Eventually you will be able to create an entire photo wall for them with each of their Hand Silhouette Heart Keepsakes, a true way to make and keep memories!

Now imagine the tears that will stream from the grandparent's eyes when they receive a Hand Silhouette Heart Keepsake filled with the grandkid's memories of time spent together!

Happy crafting!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Turning homework struggles into a game

The first year my daughter consistently got homework it was a bit of a struggle to get it done as she was used to coming home and playing with her toys.  Needless to say, it was exhausting for us all.  One night however, I had a light-bulb moment. 



She almost always played with her dolls and she loved to play school. Why not combine her homework with her play time. I suggested she teach the questions to her "class" and write the answers down. She'd likely get extra reinforcement of the concepts by explaining them out loud and her homework would get done. It worked!

Now she is a little older but she is still using schoolwork for teaching her class.  Instead of always teaching her dolls her current homework (of which there seems to be less and less) she has started creating her own worksheets using a word processing program and pasting images from Google.  It can take her over 30 minutes to create each one and get them just right.  She even puts a name and date header at the top of each page for the "students" to fill in.  I can see her using creative writing concepts from school, different math approaches and the best thing is, she makes 4 copies and has each of her "students" fill them in.  She isn't really aware that she is now doing the work 4 times instead of 1 and coming up with different ways of approaching questions by answering 4 different ways.  I also love that she is blissfully unaware of the computer skills she is honing too.

It may not work forever as her homework gets harder and her love of playing school diminishes but for now it is working well in our home and the homework struggles have been put to bed.

How do you handle the haunting homework hour?

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