Three Awesome Books Your Kids Will LOVE

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A bonus part of parenting is getting to read our favourite childhood books again.  Even better, it’s an excuse to read books with awesome pictures.  Today, I was in the bookstore picking out a gift book for a birthday party we are attending this weekend and nostalgia hit me square in the head. I used to love sitting around the librarian at school while he or she read us the latest book, or picking out a new book for mom and dad to read to me.  I read to my little monkey now, though he is only 8 months and hardly pays attention. I don’t think anyone will argue that it isn’t beneficial for him. He already has a great collection of Curious George (Marget & H.A. Rey), Dr. Seuss, Robert Munsch and others that you would expect in a children’s personal library. However, we have a few new soon-to be-classics, and of course classics that most of us have forgotten about.

One book I am super excited about is Billy Twitters and his Blue Whale Problem by Mac Barnett (Author), Adam Rex (Illustrator).  Mom and Dad decide to teach poor Billy Twitters a lesson about responsibility by buying him a balaenoptera musculus…  and if you haven’t read this book, this means a blue whale. What’s not to love about this book? It has amazing illustrations, the story is a laugh-out-loud riot, there is a moral and lesson, and you learn a few new words.  Oh, and the delivery service which delivers the blue whale to Billy Twitters is called “FedUp”.  I know as my little monkey grows, this is surely going to be a family favourite.  A must read for all ages.

I discovered and fell in love with this book today. The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt (Author), Oliver Jeffers (Illustrator).  What would you do if all your crayons had written you a resignation letter?  Well, this is exactly what happens to Duncan in this wonderful book. Each page is cleverly illustrated with the written letter from each crayon.  I never knew that each colour could have such a fun and unique personality. Red needs a vacation, blue has been used so much he cannot see over the crayon box ledge, and poor peach is mortified that his wrapper being peeled off and he is now naked! This book is hilarious. For young toddlers it’s a fun unique way to teach colours. For older children the story offers lessons in thinking outside the crayon boxcreativity and problem solving. Most importantly this story is a hoot for everyone

You probably noticed that this is not a new book, it’s a classic! However, I bet you forgot about this gem. The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier (Author), Sheldon Cohen (Illustrator), Sheila Fischman (Translator).  How can we forget? A line from the book is proudly published on the Canadian 5 dollar bill in both French and English.  “Les hivers de mon enfance étaient des saisons longues, longues. Nous vivions en trois lieux : l’école, l’église et la patinoire; mais la vraie vie était sur la patinoire. » / “The winters of my childhood were long, long seasons. We lived in three places – the school, the church and the skating rink – but our real life was on the skating rink.” Roch’s mother writes to Mr. Eaton after he outgrows his beloved Montreal Canadiens sweater and to his horror receives a Toronto Maple Leafs sweater.  He hopes it gets eaten by Moths.  I love this book as it’s an important story for our children. It’s one of the closest stories to true Canadian folklore that we have.  It’s an iconic piece and not only is it fun to read (admit it, you read it with a french accent”), it’s a trip down memory lane.  Of course, I cannot leave this review without linking a video National Film Board of Canada’s The Sweater.  Enjoy.

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Chocolate Cheesecake Monkey Bread

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Monkey Bread is truly a delicious and fun way to indulge. I simply love this chocolate cheesecake version. It sits on the counter and as anyone passes by, a piece gets picked off and it’s gone in no time. Best of all, it’s super easy to make.
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You will need:

2 packages of Pillsbury Biscuits dough

1 package of cream cheese

3/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup of white sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup margarine

Bundt Pan

optional: 1/2 cup skor bits, nuts or raisins

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Start by separating the pillsbury biscuit dough into the packaged sections (10 per package), then slice those in half. You should end up with 40 pieces.

Cube the cream cheese into equal number of pieces to dough pieces

Flatten out doug piece in small circle (like a tiny pizza crust) and place a piece of cream cheese and a few chocolate chips in the middle.

Fold up the sides enclosing the cream cheese and chocolate inside the dough. You should end up with a little dough ball. Repeat this with all the dough pieces.

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In a freezer bag or large bowl, mix together white sugar and cinnamon. Place dough balls into sugar mixture and coat evenly. I like to use the freezer bag method as i can shake the coating on quickly. Set aside for moment.

If you are not using a non-stick bundt pan you will want to coat your pan with grease, oil or butter.  Place optional ingredients in bottom of pan. I used skor pieces. Place each of the sugar coated dough balls into the pan. This doesn’t need to be fancy, just throw it all in evenly around the pan.

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In a separate microwavable bowl, mix together brown sugar and margarine.  Microwave for 45 seconds, or until the margarine has melted.  Give the mixture a good stir once out of the microwave. Alternatively, you can melt mixture in a saucepan on the stove.

Pour the mixture all over top of the dough pieces in the bundt pan.

Bake in oven for 35 minutes at 350 degrees F.

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After baking, let cool in pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then turn pan upside down onto a serving plate.

Stand back and admire your creation.

Do not slice cake! The pieces pull apart.  Enjoy and Bon Appetite!  

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How I save money with Amazon Family

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Who likes to save money?  I sure do!! Last year while I was pregnant I spent my free time perusing online flyers each week to make sure I got the best deals.  I  especially did this with diapers.  At that time I had decided we would be a Pamper family and that I would stock up on boxes of them whenever they were on sale (I will post why I switched to Huggies later).  By the time Little Monkey was born, I had about 7 or 8 boxes of size 1 & 2 Pampers Swaddlers stocked up.  They were the boxes of approximately 88 and I paid around $21.00 per box (or about  $0.24/diaper). Good deal I thought considering they were usually between $25-$30 per box and they biggest box I could find in stores.  I seemed to have lucked out with guessing how many diapers I would need since I ran out just as we were ready to try size 3.  Being discount savvy and frugal, I jumped online and looked up prices.

Amazon should change their name to Amazing when it comes to diapers! During my price comparison research I saw an add from amazon.ca advertising their launch of Amazon Family Program.

Amazon Family members get 20%
off diapers subscriptions and Free Two-Day Shipping with Prime

I thought there had to be a catch, so I looked further into the program.  The catch is that you have to sign up for what is essentially their prime service. It’s $79.00 per year and you get free 2 day shipping on their “prime” products.  This fee turned me off of the idea, however I saw that there was a FREE 30 day trial for anyone who has not tried their prime service in the past.  I figured, what the heck, I will try it and if it sucks I will cancel before my free trial is up.  When I received my first  delivery of a mega box of Pamper Cruisers 174 count, for a mere $31.99 (0.17/diaper), I was hooked.  It’s great because not only is the a great deal, it was also delivered directly to my house.  With subscribe and save, it will also continue to be delivered on a schedule I can manipulate. For us, I choose the 12 day of every month for guaranteed delivery. A few days before each shipment, I receive an email confirming the order and any price adjustments. If I do not make changes then, the item(s) get billed and shipped out at the same time thereafer. I can add extra deliveries and hold deliveries as needed.

As an added bonus, members also receive further discounts on other item with subscribe and save. We receive 5% off our monthly delivery of toilet paper and paper towel.  I have a few other items I receive less frequently such as lysol wipes (every 2 months) , garbage bags (3 months) , antiperspirant (2 months) and a case of Huggies all natural wipes 800 count ( 3 months). On the months that ship 5 items or more, the 5% discount becomes a 15% discount. Not to mention free shipping on any other Amazon prime products I randomly order.  This has essentially eliminated my need to go out shopping for household items other than groceries.  It is also possible to cancel or change a subscription at any time, plus it’s super easy. I save money. I save time. I love it!

Do you use Amazon Family? What items do you save on and what do you love most about it?

Hello and Welcome

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I am so excited… and terrified! I have always wanted a blog and here I am writing my first entry. My mind is racing a million miles per second with all sorts of ideas.  I want to spill the contents of my brain out all in one shot; one epically long entry. An entry that will discuss my favourite products, demonstrate my best recipes, review fun places and experiment ideas.  Somewhere in that mega blog post I also want to discuss my hopes and dreams, confide my fears and failure and reach out for wisdom of others.  However, I am sitting here knowing that is not a great idea because I would need to put on a pot of coffee and I how would I ever be able to finish?  I will settle for smaller more organized entries instead.  As I mentioned already, here I am, so I might as well give a proper introduction of myself:

My name is Leah from western Canada and I am a wife and a new mother.  My son was born in January, 2015 whom we affectionately nicknamed “Monkey”. Becoming a mom has been by far my best accomplishment. It have taught me to love more than I knew possible, it has taught me patience and continues to do so, it has given me happiness beyond expectation, and it has humbled me. I can’t wait to see what to future holds for me and my little family.  Fasten your seat belts, we are going to have fun!