July 05, 2016

Easy Entertaining with Sardo #summer


I love summer, especially summer entertaining. Almost every weekend, we're fortunate to have a function, a BBQ, a party, a reason to celebrate. Whether you're hosting or attending, finding perfect snacks or munchies is imperative.

Here's the thing -- it doesn't have to be difficult to make a stellar amuse bouche. Fun fact -- one of my all time favourite dips is plain ol' mascarpone cheese drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Easy and oh, so yummy.

Sardo Foods was kind enough to send me two of their new products -- an Olive Bruschetta and a Sundried Tomato Tapenade. The olive bruschetta is a muffaletta of sorts -- chunky bits of olive and veg marinated in oil. It's a bit salty and packs quite the punch of flavour while the sundried tomato tapenade is a full hit of sweet and smoky tomato flavour. I'm not a huge fan of sundried tomato in general, but if you are, this one is an accurate representation. There are no weird spices or aftertastes and the spread is smooth and thick. 

These spreads are really easy to use to jazz up an entree, enjoy as a snack or complement a party dish. I've tried them all different ways:  


Perfect for Parties: pair the tapenade and the bruschetta with fresh mozzarella and crostini. Easy to serve and easy to eat. And clean up was a breeze, because, well, there was nothing left. This appetizer worked really well with both the olive bruschetta and the sundried tomato tapenade.


Jazz Up an Entree: I love summer grilling and roasting, but sometimes, you just need a little something to spruce up your dish. Here I have a simple chicken leg dinner, pretty standard, with a sweet potato and some wilted spinach. The olive tapenade made an excellent pairing -- a little salty, a flavourful oil and voila. (Plus, there is much less sugar than using a sweet dipping sauce!)


You could also toss the sundried tomato tapenade with a simple fettuccini, or eat it my favourite way-- on fresh baguette.

Sardo Foods products are manufactured locally and available at most grocery stores.

July 03, 2016

Tiana is all about Ambition #DreamBigPrincess

This month's Hasbro Disney Princess is Princess Tiana from The Princess and the Frog.

For those who don't know the story of Princess Tiana, here's the short version -- this New Orleans beauty has a childhood dream to open a restaurant. She works very hard and is ambitious, intelligent and resourceful. Along the way, her plans get sidetracked by a Prince (disguised as a frog) who teaches her about love and having fun. Through her journey, she realizes the possibility of her dream and makes it happen. How does she become a Princess? She falls in love with the frog prince, duh! And together, they make sure her dream becomes a reality -- Princess or not.

Tiana is a modern-day princess. She's confident and eager, bright and hard working. The Tiana Princess doll is all that and more. She's beautiful and comes in her signature pale green down, long yellow gloves and tiara.

Also part of the Hasbro Disney collection (and one of Isabelle's faves) is the Little Kingdom collection -- and Tiana has a set, too.

The Little Kingdom Tiana comes in her green gown, but she can also change into blue, and this set also comes with a mini Prince Naveen (as a frog!).

A reminder to moms and dads, the Little Kingdom collection is great for kids 3+ because the pieces are quite small.

Maddie has a great time playing with the tall princesses, though -- we just remove the shoes!


My girls are having a blast playing with their Disney Hasbro Princesses -- as a collection, they are simply beautiful and have gorgeous features and satiny dresses. The Princesses are available at most toy retailers across Canada. (Ariel is a hot mess in this photo!)


As always, Simply Suppa wants to give YOU a chance to win a Disney Princess Prize Pack. This month, it's all about TIANA! Enter below for your chance to take home this Ambitious Princess.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

June 28, 2016

To all the SuppaDuppa Teachers #schoolsout

I grew up in a house where our cabinets were filled with World's Greatest Teacher mugs. My mom was a superstar teacher for more than 35 years, right up until her retirement a couple of years ago. I was often encouraged to pursue teaching as a career, and sometimes, I still consider it. My sister Laura did follow in my mom's footsteps, though, and has quickly established herself as a Suppaduppa teacher.

Teachers often get a bad rap in today's society, what with their great salaries, hours, sick days, summers off and holidays. But it takes a special kind of person to be a teacher, and to be a great teacher, it takes an extra special one.

I'd like to think that the majority of teachers out there care incredibly about the students they teach; they strive to make learning fun and interesting. They're kind and gentle, approachable and smart. I have many teacher friends who are consistently creative, challenging their students to push themselves and changing the way they learn. I was very fortunate to have had quite a few amazing teachers throughout my education, and I can only hope -- now that Isabelle is one summer away from Junior Kindergarten -- that my girls will, too.

Ms. SuppaDuppa and her student, Chloe. Used with permission.
Last week, 98.1 CHFI, a Toronto Radio Station hosted a Teacher's Appreciation Contest and invited people to nominate their favourite teacher. This is a submission they received from one of my sister's students, Chloe.

Talk about a tear jerker. This is a kid who obviously had a great year at school. Thanks to her submission, Laura's class won a pizza party and undoubtedly a permanent spot in my sister's heart. Laura also got the chance to thank Chloe and her students the next morning on the Erin & Darren show.

And so, as we're nearing the end of another school year, I'd like to take a moment to thank all the hard-working teachers who are so passionate about what they do, for taking care of our children and guiding them every single day. Thanks for your patience, your creativity and your strength. And to all the SuppaDuppa teachers in my life, keep doing what you're doing -- our kids are better because of you.

Enjoy your summer -- you deserve it.

June 23, 2016

Easy Summer Salad #recipe

I want to share this super easy, summer salad that I whipped up the other night. It's perfect for entertaining, potlucks, bbqs and makes a really simple, healthy meal.

We've been pretty bad at grocery shopping lately -- what can I say? The weekends are busy and sometimes, we just run out of time. Luckily, I try and have some food on reserve at all times -- freezer meals, pasta, and canned goods.

The other night, while trying to come up with a side to accompany our dinner, I created this yummy bean salad that I've been savoring all week (I made a ton so I would have leftovers). I call this my Easy Summer Salad.


I used two cans of Unico Bean Medley, one can of Unico Black Beans (rinsed and drained). Then, I added a chopped red onion, olive oil, salt and pepper. I diced 2 full avocados, a handful of fresh chopped cilantro from the garden and then poured a healthy amount of lime juice over top. Give it a good stir and serve. Of course, taste as you go and adjust your seasonings -- I rarely measure. 

Here's the best part -- you can make this salad in advance and let it sit. The flavours combine and are so remarkable the next day, or two days later, even! (I just had this for lunch again!)

This salad is loaded with protein, good fat and is gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free but definitely NOT taste free!!

To kick it up even more, we also had a can of corn with our dinner that night, but we had leftovers. I tossed the remaining corn into my bean salad and voila! An even tastier bite. 



Enjoy!



June 20, 2016

Don't Change What Works -- But You Can Save #PampersSavingsCA

Disclosure: I am a Pampers Savings Ambassador. As part of my affiliation with this group I have been compensated to share deals and test diaper subscription services. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Last week I had the opportunity to have a beautiful Pampers hosted lunch at Colette Grand Cafe in Toronto. In addition to French Onion Soup and Creme Brulee (DELISH), we also met new parents and Canadian Olympians, Mark Oldershaw and Annamay Pierse, whose daughter Josephine was born 3 months premature. Sleep Expert Alanna McGinn from Good Night Sleep Site led the discussion on the importance of sleep, not just for babies, but for moms and dads, too.
There are so many different techniques when it comes to sleep training. What works for some parents, doesn't work for all. In the last 4 years of parenthood, I've learned this very important lesson -- not all parents are the same, not all kids are the same, not all techniques are the same. You do what works for you, and your family.
And you don't need to change something that works for your family. Change what doesn't work.
Pampers have always worked for my family; from the day Isabelle was born at 2.5 pounds, Pampers Swaddlers held her tight and kept her dry. Luckily for me, they've worked for Madeline, too, so there's no need to change.
I'm very lucky to be an Ambassador for Pampers Savings Program, which is designed to bring parents print-at-home coupons from pgeveryday.ca and pampers.ca, so you can save money on the products that work for you.
The following deals are now available:
Print-at-home coupons available at pgeveryday.ca
    • Save $3.00 when you buy any ONE Pampers® Wipes (320 Count Pack or higher)
    • Save $3.00 when you buy any ONE Pampers® Easy Ups Training Pants
    • Save $3.00 when you buy any ONE Pampers® Cruisers Diapers Product
    • Save $3.00 when you buy ONE Pampers® Wipes Product
    • Save $3.00 when you buy any ONE Pampers® Swaddlers Diapers Product
    • Save $2.00 when you buy  ONE Pampers® Baby Dry Diapers Product

Print-at-home coupons available at www.pampers.ca

    • Save $2.00 when you buy any ONE Pampers® Baby Dry Diapers
    • Save $3.00 when you buy any ONE Pampers® Swaddlers Diapers
    • Save $3.00 when you buy any ONE Pampers® Cruisers
    • Save $3.00 when you buy any ONE Pampers® Easy Ups™, Underjams™ OR Splashers™ (PERFECT FOR HOT SUMMER DAYS!)
    • Save $3.00 when you buy any ONE Pampers® Wipes
    • Save $2.00 when you buy any ONE Pampers® Training Pants
    • Save $2.00 when you buy any ONE Pampers®  Diapers or Pants + any ONE Pack of Wipes
    • Save $2.00 when you buy any ONE Pampers® Diapers Economy Pack Plus OR Pampers® Diapers Super Economy Pack (78-216 ct)
    • Save $1.50 when you buy any ONE Pampers® Diapers

And there's a whole lot more on those sites, too. Score some great deals.

For those of you who want to see part of my yummy lunch, here you go.

Like I said, it was pretty incredible.

Thanks to Pampers for such a memorable experience.

Happy Shopping and saving!

June 10, 2016

Pampers Coupons Now Available #PampersSavingsCA

Disclosure: I am a Pampers Savings ambassador. As part of my affiliation with this group I have been compensated to share deals and test diaper subscription services. The opinions on this blog are my own.

I'm part of a quite a few mommy groups online and at least once a week, I see the question, "Where are diapers on sale this week?" The diaper struggle is real; it's estimated that for the first year of a child's life, you will spend $600 per child on disposable diapers. Hopefully that cost will go down as your child gets older, uses less diapers, and is eventually potty trained, but if you have two or more children in diapers at the same time -- it's a cost you can't really avoid. (Of course there are reusable diapers, which I'm not against, but they're also not for me, either)

Here's a fun fact: I was never a coupon gatherer -- until I had to buy diapers every week. But I'm here to share some good advice. Couponing for diapers is pretty simple. There are tons of easy-to-access and Print-at-Home coupons available that you don't have to spend hours searching for, either. And at the end of the day, you'll save quite a few bucks.


Here's what's currently up for grabs at pampers.ca:
    • Save $2.00 when you buy any ONE Pampers® Baby Dry Diapers
    • Save $3.00 when you buy any ONE Pampers® Swaddlers Diapers
    • Save $3.00 when you buy any ONE Pampers® Cruisers
    • Save $3.00 when you buy any ONE Pampers® Easy Ups™, Underjams™ OR Splashers™
    • Save $3.00 when you buy any ONE Pampers® Wipes
    • Save $2.00 when you buy any ONE Pampers® Training Pants
    • Save $2.00 when you buy any ONE Pampers®  Diapers or Pants + any ONE Pack of Wipes
    • Save $2.00 when you buy any ONE Pampers® Diapers Economy Pack Plus OR Pampers® Diapers Super Economy Pack (78-216 ct)
    • Save $1.50 when you buy any ONE Pampers® Diapers

Deal and coupons are available while quantities last, and you need to read each coupon for specific product inclusions and exceptions. If these ones are not available, why not head over to pgeveryday.ca to get your hands on some others? Print, collect and use them as you need so you never have to pay full price for diapers again!



Here's a sampling of what you can find at pgeveryday.ca:
    • Save $3.00 when you buy any ONE Pampers® Wipes (320 Count Pack or higher)
    • Save $3.00 when you buy any ONE Pampers® Easy Ups Training Pants
    • Save $3.00 when you buy any ONE Pampers® Cruisers Diapers Product
    • Save $3.00 when you buy ONE Pampers® Wipes Product
    • Save $3.00 when you buy any ONE Pampers® Swaddlers Diapers Product
    • Save $2.00 when you buy  ONE Pampers® Baby Dry Diapers Product

Want more ways to save? Download Checkout51 for regular Pampers diapers and wipes deals, while quantities last, of course. And always check for in-store coupns when you start your shopping -- they're usually as you walk in the store at your local Loblaws, Fortinos or SDM.

If you absolutely HAVE to buy diapers, you may as well save a few bucks, right!? And then treat yourself to a coffee on the ride home!

PlaSmart Toys a Hit for the Preschool Crowd #review

When I look for toys and games for my girls, I really appreciate a toy that is simple and fun, without too many bells and whistles. And now, more than ever, I'm looking for toys that are suitable for both my daughters. It means the toys will be around longer and the kids can play together, too. Bonus.

I learned about PlaSmart Inc. a while ago; they are famous for their Plasma Cars, but what many people don't know, is that this global toy distributor also brings in some really cool games and toys for kids of all ages. Their philosophy is to "seek out interesting, one-of-a-kind toys that meet its 'smart and simple' philosophy." Sounds great to me -- smart and simple. 

I was happy to learn that PlaSmart distributed quite a few toys that are wonderful for the Preschool crowd. I had the opportunity to review a few of them.

The SmartMat is old school fun. It's a giant play surface filled with roadways and attractions. Using the PlaSmart Wonky Wheels, the girls were able to play around the mat for hours. The Wonky Wheels car is designed to be driven with your finger -- it was definitely easier for Isabelle to navigate, but Maddie had a fun time with the mat nonetheless.


The SmartMat is nice and thick -- it's made of a coated foam with EVA and is easy to clean.
This combination of SmartMat and Wobbly Wheels (sold separately) is perfect for the toddler to preschooler in your life and makes an affordable gift too.


SQUASHED is a game that is a lot of fun for the Preschooler or Kindergarten child in your life. I say this because you do need a bit of coordination and dexterity to play. SQUASHED is a simple cube game with coloured pegs (one colour per player). The object of the game is to get to the large pin at the top of the cube, by rolling the dice and moving position. But if you land on another player's peg -- SQAUSH! The peg falls into the centre of the cube. SQUASHED was created by a 16-year-old boy and would be a challenge for young kids and up. Note: the pegs are small enough to pose a choking hazard for little ones.


Lastly, Travel Bingo. Another classic and you can make the rules as you go. This is a good game for the older Preschooler, one who can identity objects. Play with one or two players (Isabelle and I play in the car -- Madeline's still a bit young, but this game will be around for a while). Make a line, or fill an entire square with objects and items you see while driving. Travel Bingo is a perfect road trip companion and is literally paper-thin and easy to pack or store in car pockets.

PlaSmart toys are available at toy retailers across Canada and the US.

PlaSmart is generously giving away 3 prizes for Simply Suppa readers - one prize per category -- and to win, all you need to do is fill out the Rafflecopter below.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Disclosure: I received products for review in order to write this post. As always, the opinions expressed on this blog are my own.

June 08, 2016

Who doesn't love free stuff?!

I'm a snail mail nerd. I make sure our mail is checked every single day and if we happen to miss a day now and again, I get even more excited to see what's waiting for us. Over time, and thanks to the wonderful invention of email, the findings in my mail slot are usually (and disappointedly) bills and junk mail combined. Still, every so often, I'll get a little surprise -- a sample of a new product or something like that and I get super excited. I love samples. I love free stuff. Who doesn't!?


Well, if you get stoked for samples like me, you're in luck because the P&G brandPACK is back! Here's your chance to get a whole mailbox full of free stuff by just paying the tax, shipping and handling. And it starts as low as $4.99!

There are five brandPACK bundles to choose from, and some have some pretty big scores, let me tell you. Are you a new parent or know someone who is? How about a 20 pack of Pampers Swaddlers, plus Downy Unstoppables (1 load)  AND a Tide PODS (1 capsule) all for $4.99?! Yes, 5 bucks. 

To be eligible for a brandPACK, all you need to do is register at pgeveryday.ca and select the bundle you'd like. Product is available while quantities last, and you can only sign up for one brandPACK per address per year. Sharing is caring.

What are you waiting for!? Visit pgeveryday.com/offers/brandpack and choose your bundle. And while you're there you can also check out print-at-home coupons for up to $55 in savings on even more great brands.

Here's your first look what you can get in the all new P&G brandPACK Bundles:

brandPACK Bundle A ($4.99)
  • Pampers Swaddlers (20 pk)
  • Downy Unstoppables (1 load)
  • Tide PODS (1 capsule)
brandPACK Bundle B ($5.49)
  • Downy Unstoppables (1 load)
  • Tide PODS (1 capsule)
  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (1 pad)
  • Swiffer Duster (1 duster)
brandPACK Bundle C ($5.49)
  • Secret Clinical (14g)
  • Cascade Platinum (2 pk/34g)
  • Gain Flings (1 capsule)
  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (1 pad)
  • Swiffer Duster (1 duster)
brandPACK BUNDLE D ($5.99)
  • Pampers Swaddlers (20 pk)
  • Secret Clinical (14g)
  • Cascade Platinum (2 pk/34g)
  • Downy Unstoppables (1 load)
  • Tide PODS (1 capsule)
brandPACK BUNDLE E ($6.99)
  • Pampers Swaddlers (20 pk)
  • Cascade Platinum (2 pk/34g)
  • Downy Unstoppables (1 load)
  • Tide PODS (1 capsule)
  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (1 pad)
  • Swiffer Duster (1 duster)
PS -- You're welcome :)



Disclosure: I am a Pampers Savings Ambassador. As part of my affiliation with this group I have been compensated to share deals and test diaper subscription services. The opinions on this blog are my own.