Friday, May 31, 2013

Guest Post : Taking Care of Dad

Guest Post by Jenna Smith:


When my mom passed away last year, my sister dutifully took over taking care of our father. I helped out on weekends, but I worked a full-time job. My sister helped Dad out on her own most of the week. She spent nearly every day with our father making certain that he feeds himself, made it to doctors's appointments, and even that he got out for walks ("shuffles" as he calls them) twice a day.

While he lacks his youthful mobility and eyesight, our dad is in great health and wonderful spirits. He and my sister have a great relationship - it's fun to listen to them joke back and forth about the weather or current affairs.

My sister put her life on hold to start taking care of him when Mom passed. Originally she was supposed to go back to school, but she paused those plans in order to spend more time with Mom, and to help out with Dad.

I love my younger sister. She is young, vibrant, and full of energy. She is also a natural caretaker. She always places other people's needs first. I admire this aspect of her character, but I also worry about her living her life. I appreciate all that she has done for our family, our father in particular. However, I wanted her to remember to take care of herself.





I sat my sister down and asked her about her goals for the future. She wistfully mentioned school, but seemed to dismiss it as a fantasy. She started to resign herself to a life caring for my father. If I thought this path held fulfillment for her I wouldn't give it a second thought. However, I knew how much she wanted to continue to study physical therapy and have a career of her own. While her personal efforts to keep our father active and mobile inspired me, I knew she wanted to accomplish more in the field.

We talked about our options. I offered to move down to part-time work, but realistically it does not make financial sense at this time. I carry my families insurance and cover a lot of expenses for my sister and father with my salary. We also talked about a retirement home.

While the idea of a retirement home isn't as off-putting as it used to be (My husband wanted to move into the one we visited when we were exploring options), both my sister and I decided we are more comfortable with our dad at home. Dad's kind of an introvert, and we figure that home care suits him better.

We both thought that a personal caregiver would be too expensive, but after some research found options for senior caregivers that fit within our budget and Dad's needs. We hired a personal caregiver on for three days a week.
So far the service is working out well. Dad was initially shy around his caregiver, but has since opened up to him. They like to play cards together, and watch ballgames. The caregiver makes certain dad meets all of his appointments and take care of whatever is needed.

My sister still stays with my dad twice a week, but as her course load intensifies we will need to move to full-time care. It's going to be a tight financial squeeze, but we can make it work. Seeing my sister graduate next spring will be worth the extra belt tightening.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Please Sign The Pledge To Stop Animal Testing in Canada


The Body Shop has always been passionate Against Animal Testing. They've never tested  their products or ingredients on animals. All of The Body Shop products are certified under the Humane Cosmetics Standard, which is regarded as the highest standard for animal welfare in the cosmetics industry.

In Canada, animal testing for cosmetic products and ingredients is still allowed. But there are safe alternative ways of testing cosmetics without using animals and as of March 11 2013, the European Union has banned all animal testing for cosmetic purposes.

We are asking you, our loyal supporters, to add your voice to the call for our government to ban animal testing for cosmetics in Canada.

To sign the pledge to stop Animal Testing in Canada visit any The Body Shop boutique or please sign online here. In the last month, they’ve collected over 35,000 signatures across Canada. Every signature counts and they would love to add yours to the list.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sponsored Video: Savour Every Moment

As a pet owner I know the indescribable joy that pets can bring into our lives. Any bad day can be turned into a good one, even if just for a second, with a head nuzzle and lick. Our pets require so little to be happy, they only require our love really.

To celebrate the joy of life that our pets bring into our lives Petcurean, an independent Canadian family owned pet food manufacturer, has produced Savour Every Moment is a new short film which debuted during the prestigious 2013 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. This film invites us to rediscover the joys of life we can experience through our pets. Too many times in life we complain about the small things and get weighted down with the large things. Sometimes it is essential to learn from our four legged companion and live in the moment without worrying about what it is that tomorrow may bring. While frolicking in the snow, chasing sticks and balls may not be your idea of a good time, make sure to seek out the things that truly matter in life. Whether it is good and nutritious food that makes your mouth water, the company of great friends, or simply relaxing on the couch watching your favorite movie, these are the moments that truly matter in life. We do not have to look further than our best friends to reignite the spark in our lives.

 The video is presented by Petcurean, premium pet food sellers.

 This post is sponsored by Petcurean.

Reviewing the Nexus 7




The technological world is ever changing, and after the soaring popularity of smart phones and laptops computers, it appears that tablets are the next big thing. There are many reasons as to which tablets are very convenient, one of them being their portability. With all the travelling that Gerry and I try to do we know how inconvenient it can be to bring along a computer, tablets are light and portable and can even fit into your purse without weighing it down. Unlike smart phones ,tablets allow you to connect to free wi fi when it is available, without the constant worry that you did something wrong and will soon get stuck with huge roaming charges. Finally, tablets are the ideal device for entertainment on the go or at home. You can load movies or books onto your tablet and watch them on the plane, on your morning public transit commute or even curled up in your bed.



Recently Staples.ca provided me with Nexus 7 tablet for review. The tablet is pretty great for all my needs, with over 9 hours of HD play back, 10 hours of e-reading and 10 hours of web browsing it is great to take on your journeys without having to constantly attempt to locate the nearest plug for a recharge. The 7 inch tablet fits conveniently in your hands and has hundreds of apps available. These apps are a great thing and can make using the tablet for your needs much more easy and accessible. This is a little entertainment system all in one. With amazing picture quality, great value for your money and weighing less than a pound it is such a great and convenient device that you can take along on any journey big or small. It is safe to say that tablets are here to stay.


Full disclosure: Staples.ca provided met with these items for review. The thoughts and opinions expressed are strictly my own. Feel free to shop their entire line of Tablets online.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

DEL MONTE FRESH PRODUCE CALLS ALL ASPIRING CHEFS - "FIND YOUR INNER CHEF" CONTEST and Updated Winners List

Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc. (Del Monte) believes there’s a “chef” in all of us! Del Monte announced  it will hold a national search beginning April 15 for an aspiring chef. The contest, “Find Your Inner Chef,” encourages consumers to participate in a fun and fresh culinary experience, using their own favorite recipe or by creating a new recipe using Del Monte® fresh fruits and vegetables.


“Del Monte knows that several of our consumers are chefs in their own right, serving up delicious nutritious meals for their families and friends,” said Dennis Christou, VP of Marketing, North America for Del Monte. 

To enter, you must first “like” and then complete the pop up registration form on the Del Monte Fresh Produce Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DelMonteFreshProduce.

After completing the registration form, you can then post a copy of your original healthy recipe utilizing Del Monte® fresh produce on the Facebook page. Photo submissions are also encouraged but not necessary. You will be eligible to win daily prizes including gift cards, culinary kitchen tools, and tabletop appliances.

Four finalists will be selected, one each week for four weeks based on the number of “likes” for their posted recipe. The four finalists selected will compete at a Cook Off Challenge event in Miami, Florida, where a panel of judges will choose the Grand Prize winner.

The Cook Off Challenge Grand Prize winner receives a retreat for two people at a Culinary Institute. The promotion begins April 15 and ends with the Cook Off event on June 15, 2013. For additional information about the “Find Your Inner Chef” promotion, log onto www.fruits.com.

Like Del Monte on Facebook (www.facebook.com/DelMonteFreshProduce) and join them on Twitter (https://twitter.com/DelMonteFresh) to stay informed about their contest news, download coupons and to win prizes and fresh fruit gift certificates.  

** Please be sure to share this contest in all your contest social media circles!




** Update- The Winners are:


Kara Adanalian from Fresno, CA. Winning recipe: Pineapple, banana and avocado grill roll up.
Karen Gulkin from Greeley, CO. Winning recipe: Orange Steak Tacos with Citrus Guacamole.
Areli Biggers from Hopkinton, MA. Winning recipe: Banana Flan.
Gisele Rainville from Drummondville, Quebec Canada. Winning recipe: Pineapple Cranberry Scones.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Have a Summer Vacation Without Breaking The Bank

Summer is quickly approaching, and with it comes dreams of summer vacation. But sometimes holiday planning is stressful – can you afford to rent that cottage? How much is a trip to Disney World? Will rising gas prices affect weekend getaways? 




Ensuring that your summer vacation is fun and fiscally-responsible means a little planning and increased financial literacy. Bestselling author, TV host and Life Literacy Ambassador Gail Vaz-Oxlade has provided her top tips for planning a summer vacation without breaking the bank:

 -   Save on food by choosing restaurants where kids eat free and by picking one meal a day as your “eat out” meal; stock up on groceries for the rest
.

  - Choose accommodations that offer a kitchenette, then buy breakfast fixings for the kids instead of eating at restaurants. Or shop for rooms where breakfast is thrown in with your room rate. 

  -  Use all the hotel’s facilities - that pool is a great way to have a no-spend day!


 -  Bring along refillable water bottles and buy your sunscreen, bug spray and other holiday supplies where it’s cheapest. (Or check your supplies before you leave home!) Check online for grocery or drug stores at your holiday destination since they may have better deals.  


 -  Remember to turn off your cell phone’s roaming charges. (Putting your phones in airplane mode will do the trick.) If you plan to use your cell phones, sign up for a roaming package so you don’t come back to a bill that’s higher than all the money you spent on vacation.


  -  Set a budget that includes a daily allowance for the kids to have some spending money. 


  -  Save year-round for your trip by storing up your change; loonies and toonies plus quarters, nickels and dimes in a Vacation Jar add up quickly!


  - Tell your credit card company that you're traveling and for how long so they’ll expect those out-of-country charges.



“When you’re on vacation it can be easy to lose track of your spending,” says Gail Vaz-Oxlade. “By staying conscious of costs and following tips like these to save money, you can have a relaxing holiday without having to worry about a pile of bills when you get home.”



For more financial literacy tips and resources, visit  SmallChangeAddsUp.ca.

Friday, May 24, 2013

My Daughter Is In France



My youngest daughter is currently with her boyfriend in France.
I'd like to share her travel blog link with anyone that would like to follow along or perhaps hasn't been to the area and thinking about it.
Gerry and I love to travel but this would be such a distance for us to think of flying. Our butts and legs get sore on the short hauls!


Photobucket




Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Iams SO GOOD! Doggie Jam Giveaway and Video! (Open to all of Canada- Best For Toronto Area)




It’s time to get those tails waggin’ and doggies howling, it’s concert time!
The P&G Pet Care team is thrilled to announce the launch of Iams new SO GOOD! Dog food in Canada this summer! To celebrate, Iams is throwing Canada’s first ever concert for dogs – The Iams SO GOOD! Doggie Jam. 

On June 8, Iams is inviting you and your furry friends to join them and as many as 5,000 dogs and pet lovers to attend a classical music concert where a 42 piece orchestra will perform music created specifically for canine hearing. The Iams SO GOOD! Doggie Jam is a one of a kind event that is guaranteed fun for everyone in your family!

Event details:
When:                 Saturday, June 8, 2013
                            4:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Where:                Echo Beach
                            999 Lakeshore Blvd. West.
                            Toronto, Ontario, M6K 3L3

To celebrate and showcase the unique bond passionate pet owners have with their pooches, Iams has created a short video that captures the loving relationships between four owners and their dogs. This video highlights the real love between dogs and their owners and gives you a taste of what the Iams SO GOOD! Doggie Jam will be like! Click here to watch the video.


Iams SO GOOD! Giveaway!

Iams is providing a SO GOOD! giveaway, ( Canada only) valued at over $60 which  includes: 
  •  Family pack of four tickets to the Iams SO GOOD! Doggie Jam  in Toronto
  • Two product vouchers to try the new Iams SO GOOD! dog food 
To enter to win, all you and your readers have to do is simply check out the Iams SO GOOD! video and leave a blog comment about What you loved most  about the video!

 You can also earn bonus entries every day by sharing the Iams So Good! Doggie Jam video on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ using the sharing buttons on YouTube!

Tickets for the Iams SO GOOD! Doggie Jam are available through Ticketmaster: 

Social Media Links:
Visit Iams on Facebook: www.facebook.com/iams
Follow Iams on Twitter: @Iams
Use the Iams SO GOOD! Doggie Jam hashtag on Twitter: #IAMSSoGood


A random draw will be held by Random.org on June 3, 2013 from all entries received.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Today's Quick Tip


Review your cable tv bill. Can you switch to a cheaper plan?

Maybe just get the basic plan?
I did away with my Super Channel today and that alone took another $16 off my monthly bill. I really don't feel we used/watched much of it anyway.

May's Guilt Free Shopping Sale With Orangefish

Good things come to those who wait, and now is finally the time.




Orangefish is having its thrice yearly sale starting May 10 and running until May 24. The company provides busy moms and fashionistas a great online shopping experience.  They have some excellent and unique gift ideas as well as items that you may just want to treat yourself with.

For the next week over 200 exciting items will be on sale at a price to suit every budget. But beware there are limited quantities of each item available so you have to get a jump on the sale while you can. The items will ship at the end of the sale period, and is available for USA and Canada orders.

Now that the wait is finally over make sure to head over to Orangefish and check out what they may have in store for you.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Thinking About Trying Contact Lenses?

There comes a time in every glass wearer’s life that they wonder about trying out contacts for the very first time. Many people are afraid to try contacts for the very first time, but they shouldn't be. Here are some reasons why you should try out contacts, even if you never have before.

They are comfortable:
There is a great variety of contacts out there these days. If you look at places such as Clearly Contacts you will be impressed with the selection. You can choose from a vast array of contacts that are designed to fit many eye conditions, including astigmatism and sensitivity.
They are convenient:
Many people worry about having to keep their contacts clean. Yes it is true that with some contacts you have to wash them in a solution after wearing them, but that is not always the case. With daily contacts you can simply open up a new pair every day, and throw them out when you are done with them. These are great for people who don’t want to worry about cleaning or have sensitive eyes.
You can do sports:
Many people with glasses can attest that they can be a hindrance when you are participating in sports. With many sports you are running the risk of getting your glasses broken. Wearing glasses is almost next to impossible when in the water. For some of us we can’t simply take off our glasses when going into the pool, without getting nausea. Contacts however make all of that much easier, allowing you to see.
You can bask in the sun:
One of the problems with wearing glasses in the summer time is the sun glare. Oftentimes you will see people with glasses driving with their hand acting like a visor, protecting them from the sun. Sometimes, people will try to squeeze a pair of sunglasses on top of their existing glasses to great comic effect. With contacts you do not have these problems. You can easily slip on your favorite pair of sunglasses and go out to face the day.
They make you look like you: 
Some of us do not remember how we looked like before our glasses, especially if we have been wearing them for a long time. They feature prominently in every photo of us. Wouldn't it be fun, to actually be able to see what you look like without glasses? Contacts can help you see ‘you’.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day Moms Everywhere!



To all moms everywhere- Happy Mothers Day! May you share a special day with all your loved ones.

I was spoiled  again this year. Gerry gave me a very nice silver chain this year. I had been wearing one he gave me about 6 years or more ago, day and night.. and it was just not pretty anymore.Very dull looking. So am quite happy with the new one.
The girls got me flowers, chocolates, scratch off tickets and a couple of gift cards- so all and all a very nice Mothers Day. Plus the fact that my girls live here is a nice gift in itself.


Gerry is doing some moving around with re-organizing the backyard again. Something he likes to do- spend time outdoors in the yard.  We sold a shed, some old cupboards out of the trailer, and a metal stand yesterday. Hope to sell another shed today if the deal goes good. Also sold a birdhouse. I didn't have any birds pay attention to it, and am trying to sell a garden trellis.

We did a re-do on our bigger bathroom and now it matches the smaller one we have off our bedroom. 
Buying a make shift car port today at Canadian Tire if they have them in stock. A good price plus ours is in bad shape.Last year the snow collapsed the roof in it and Gerry had to reinforce the roof best he could. We don't use it for vehicles but use it for storage- ours and the girls. 

Off to enjoy the day though and to do some surfing on the net. Everyone have a good day!


Monday, May 6, 2013

Gifts Children Can Give To Their Moms

Mother’s Day is a celebration of the most precious member of our household, a woman whose life long goal is to ensure our health and happiness. It is the time to give gratitude to the woman who gave life to you. But how can we show our gratitude to someone with such an important role? She does not require lavish gifts and expensive treatments. Sometimes the best gifts are the most memorable and personal gifts that a person can receive. Consider one of these budget friendly Mother’s Day gifts to demonstrate your love to your one and only, mom.



Single Budding Flower

Like a flower, mom is unique, yet like all other mothers in her nurturing temperament. Purchase a single orchid or rose and place it in a small, ceramic pot or bud vase. Get a delicate glass bud vase with a Kohls coupon that your mother can keep long after the flower dies and continue to refill with seasonal buds to remind her of how much she is loved.

Recipe Box

Give the master chef a place to keep her most precious recipes. Purchase a simple wooden box from a craft store, like Michaels. You can paint it or cover it in fabric to personalize the box to your mother’s taste. Whether it’s her favorite color, pattern or jewels, these embellishments will enhance the appearance of this soon-to-be recipe box. Finally, fill the box with index cards that she can use to write her preferred recipes down on. You may even include some of your own recipes for her to try. One day, she may pass this box down to you.

Breakfast in Bed

Breakfast foods are always the most economical. Start mom’s day off with a magnificent breakfast in bed made by your self. Select a variety of her favorite breakfast foods and prepare them bright and early before she rises. Waffles, pancakes, eggs, grits, bacon, sausage, toast and coffee will brighten up anyone’s day. Add a mimosa and mom will be delighted!

Homemade Crafts

Over the years, there are few things that mom is sure to keep stowed away. But one thing that she is sure to keep is an item made by her children. Make an artistic card, written with a heartfelt message of thanks and love that mom can keep forever.

Massage

Help mom relax by giving her a massage with lavender scented oil. The soothing effects will calm her and give her a break from the daily stresses of the world. She will appreciate the chance to be pampered by the one that she has always pampered with love and kindness.

Memorable Photo

Take a photo of your beautiful mother and her family and get it printed out on high quality, photo paper or canvas. Frame the photo and leave it for her to find on Mother’s Day as a reminder of her most valued life accomplishments.

Honor your mother on this festive holiday with a sentimental gift that only you could create for her. As a reflection of her, you know her better than anyone and can give her a day of rest, relaxation and praise. You will find that gifts made from the heart involving thought and detailed attention are often the most memorable and appreciated.