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.

June 01, 2016

Hasbro/Disney's Ariel is Curious #DreamBigPrincess

If you're a parent of a toddler-preschool aged child, you're likely asked a gazillion questions in a 24 hour period: why?, how?, but how come?, and then what?, but why?, what's in there?, can I?, please??? Sigh.

We shouldn't complain, though. It's amazing to have an inquisitive, curious child. And I can't really be surprised if my kids ask me thousands of questions -- I was the same way, and still am. I'm proud to be raising critical thinkers and little girls who question.

As you know, I have partnered with Hasbro to unveil the newest Disney Princesses out on the market. Each Princess has her own quality and this month's Princess is Princess Ariel.

Of course, Princess Ariel was as curious as they come. She needed to know what life was life on land -- so much so that she got into a little bit of trouble along the way. But in addition to her curiosity, she was resilient and determined -- all fine qualities.

Hasbro has an entire Ariel line -- complete with a beautiful Ariel doll with her silky red hair. Princess Ariel is not a mermaid, but a young lady in her ombre gown.


















Also part of the collection is Spin & Swim Ariel. This Ariel can be taken into the bath, or in our case, the water table. She comes with friends Sebastian and Flouder, who attach to a blue wave. Spin the seashell on Ariel's back and watch them all twirl together. Instructions are provided. Isabelle was just as happy to play with Ariel and her buddies separately as she was to make them spin. Spin & Swin Ariel has a beautiful translucent green tail.



Isabelle is also a huge fan of Ariel's Water Playset. The set comes with a mini Ariel and Sebastian and can certainly be enjoyed in water or on land. (Isabelle didn't want to wet Ariel's castle so I wasn't going to fight!) She set it up on our kitchen table and played quietly for an entire hour. Perfect for her little creative and curious mind.



The Hasbro Disney collection is available at all major toy stores, but if you're a Simply Suppa reader, you're in luck! Enter the Rafflecopter below to win this month's featured Princess Prize Pack!

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Disclaimer: I am a Hasbro Disney Princess Ambassador and have received products for review in order to write this post. As always, all opinions expressed on my blog are my own.

May 19, 2016

Breaking Through the Old Boys Club


This morning I was fortunate to attend a networking breakfast with local career and business-focused women. I've attended many of these events in the past and to tell you the truth, I always have a good time. I enjoy the social nature of the get togethers, the casual approach and the ability to meet quite a few women all in a couple of hours.

This morning's session was a bit different, though. 

The theme for this meeting was Marketing, and Nadia Cerelli from Plan B Promotions gave an informative presentation on the subject. She brought years of experience to the table and we were all grateful.

But it was the fellow participants that surprised me the most. 

The energy was strong. 

The women in this group were badass.

I love a strong woman. I pride myself on being one, and I plan on raising my girls to kick some butt, too. But without getting too rah-rah feminist granola on you, I was so proud to be among a group of women who are either running their own business, a family business, a personal brand or a franchise. These ladies are strong and confident, sassy, smart, witty and charming. What a bunch.

We all came from different worlds and experiences but we were genuinely there to learn and to feed off one another. 

And then I thought: we're doing it.

We're doing the same thing men have been doing FOR YEARS. 

This hive was not bitchy or cold -- quite the opposite, really. It was a support network, a tribe, a community.

For the longest time (and still today), the "Old Boys Club" created the deals, inked the contracts, and develop friendships and partnerships. This idea has been almost impermeable, and yet, despite the generations of advancement made for women, we are often left behind, and left out. 

And sometimes, we are our own worst enemies. Woman-to-woman bashing is real -- it's prevalent and it's sad. Men feed off competition; they thrive on it. Women turn catty and shallow. (Massive generalization for effect!)

Well, today, it felt like we had our own club. We were wheeling and dealing, and making coffee dates and planning meetings and future opportunities. And we did it while being kind to one another. 

We were doing it. Finally.

Cheers to this new ideal. I hope to see many of you in a similar forum, sharing your many well-deserved successes and tips. Together, the tribe will grow and blossom. Together we are stronger. 



P.S. A special thank you to Laura Cannone and Josie Cannone for hosting this morning's session at Petite & Posh in Vaughan. Your generosity is always noted and always appreciated.