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Friday, August 1, 2014

Cloud B Nighty Night Owl Smart Sensor

From the makers of the Toy of the Year Award recipient Tranquil Turtle comes the latest in smart technology - Nighty Night Owl Smart Sensor. This super cute plush owl is incredibly soft and is made with different textures and patterns. It comes with a sound box that has a built-in sound-activated sensor which automatically restarts its soothing white noise to help ease baby back to sleep. Wait. Mom and dad get to stay in bed while this smart owl does the work? Seriously, where was this thing when my kids were babies?

Where Good Sleep Begins

The sound box has four buttons for soothing sound options. Select from one of the following four sounds:

  • Mother's heartbeat
  • Spring showers
  • Ocean turf
  • Whale songs

Press the sounds buttons twice and baby can enjoy one of the following four lullabies:

  • Twinkle-Twinkle
  • Rockabye Baby
  • Classical Lullaby
  • Tranquil Melody

Thursday, July 31, 2014

On Our 10th Anniversary #TBT

Today marks our 10th wedding anniversary and instead of wondering how we've managed to last this long, I'm going to reminisce over the special celebration that took place a decade ago. Memories often fade but I am grateful to have some of the precious moments of that day captured on camera. From wedding dress to first dance and beyond, I could sift endlessly through all of the many (and by 'many' I mean 'over 700') photos taken by our amazing photographer Paul Cheney and his crew from 360 MultiMedia. Shown here are only ten of my favourite snapshots.
Our wedding song: "Hero" by Enrique Iglesias

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Back to School: The New VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch

In September, my son will be moving on to first grade and joining the ranks of all the other big goys and girls in the primary division. It's a milestone year for him as he will be adjusting from half-day kindergarten to full-day grade school. I know back-to-school season will be an exciting time for him but it will also bring about questions regarding new expectations, new teachers and particularly a new schedule. The school will be implementing new bell times this year, something we will all need to become accustomed with. To help ease his anxiety about what time school starts, ends, etc., my son will now have his very own watch to wear to school. And not just any ol' watch - a Kidizoom Smart Watch by Vtech.

Joining the newest tech trend of smart watches, VTech has introduced the Kidizoom® Smartwatch - the smartest watch for kids. Using the latest technology, the Smartwatch has a customizable watch mode where kids can select from amongst a selection of 50 watch faces and either analogue or digital clock display. But it's more than just a watch. The Smartwatch has a built-in camera with photo effects that allows young photographers to easily take photos and record videos on the go. The 1.4" colour touch screen allows children to explore their creativity with photo frames and filters, as well as play any of the four pre-installed interactive games.

This must-have gadget includes a rechargeable battery, alarm clock, timer, stopwatch and a voice recorder with funny voice changing effects. The Smartwatch also comes with a micro USB cable which can be used to upload all your photos and videos for editing via the Learning Lodge. Recommended for children aged 4 or older, the Vtech Kidizoom Smartwatch has an interface that is simple enough for my six-year-old son to use. Of particular note is the quality of the screen in terms of colour and clarity, a marked difference when compared to the LCD display of his MP3 player.

The durable design of the Smartwatch has withstood my son's vigorous daily activity. It is also splash and sweat proof, making it ideal for use during hot summer days. Just be sure not to submerse it fully in water or allow your child to wear it in the shower since it is not waterproof. 

Available at many major retail stores for $59.99, the Kidizoom Smartwatch comes in three colours: blue, green or pink. Keep your eyes peeled for the white Smartwatch which is exclusive to Walmart

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Chocolate Tales Social at The Winking Judge

Chocolate Tales Social

Some people like to socialize while out dancing. Others prefer to chat over a cup of coffee or hot cocoa. And then there are people like me who would clear their calendar for a social event that involves chocolate. I'm talking a cacao-themed evening of chocolate sampling, wine pairing, social interaction, trivia and chocolate art. Yes, it's The Chocolate Social! With an invitation in my inbox to attend a complimentary workshop, I knew exactly who to invite as my plus one - my matron of honour and dear friend of 20 years. With a couple of workshops being held in Hamilton, I decided to make the trip to The Winking Judge and meet up with my friend so we could play catch-up.

Chocolate Tales Social

Once we arrived, we met chocolatier David who began by sharing some interesting trivia on the history of chocolate. For example, did you know that Aztec rulers drank several cups of hot chocolate daily? See, I knew I was born in the wrong time period.

Chocolate Tales Social

Shortly afterwards, we were invited to try out samples of dark, milk and white chocolate, the latter of which isn't really chocolate at all. David then enlightened us on the art of pairing alcohol with chocolate and gave us Ganache tasters to sample. 

Chocolate Tales Social

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Last-Minute Family Getaway

On the weekend, the family and I went on a last-minute getaway to Blue Mountain in Collingwood, one of my favourite places. This time, we stayed in a Mosaic boutique bachelor and lucked out by booking on the last day of their hot summer deal. It also happened to be Famarama weekend and guess who was there to perform. Fred Penner! On our first day there, we spent the morning mining for gems, exploring trails and playing mini golf courtesy of Scenic Caves Nature Adventures. Then we headed over to the Ridge Runner mountain coaster, went swimming in the pool and lounged in the hot tub. Below are some photos highlighting some of the other activities we enjoyed as a family. Four days of outdoor fun with the kids... feeling pretty lucky, I am!

One of my favourite photos taken in the Village.
My son was overjoyed at the chance to drive a Jeep.
Hanging out in the hot tub.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hallmark's Exclusive Sarah Richardson Collection

Last week, Hallmark Canada announced an exciting new partnership with Toronto's own award-winning interior designer, Sarah Richardson. The Sarah Richardson Collection consists of gorgeous greeting cards, sophisticated stationery, elegant gift wrap and coordinating gift bags featuring designs created exclusively for Hallmark. Sarah Richardson is also a recognized television personality, known around the world for transforming ordinary spaces into magazine-worthy rooms. Richardson is the host and co-producer of five HGTV lifestyle series: Room Service, Design Inc, Sarah's House, Sarah 101, and most recently, Sarah Sees Potential which will debut on HGTV USA this fall. She is a past contributor and columnist on design and style for The Globe and Mail and Chatelaine, and was most recently named home design director at Good Housekeeping magazine. In addition, Sarah is a creative powerhouse in the design world and runs a design business, Sarah Richardson Design Inc. based here in Toronto. Think she can manage to squeeze in some time to transform my home? 

Sarah Richardson Stationery Ensemble

There are 16 individual greeting card designs for everyday occasions including birthday, wedding, baby, congratulations, friendship and blank cards. The boxed note card sets and journals would make excellent gift sets. Two of her elegant design themes from her Kravet fabrics collection have also carried over into the collection and are featured on two stationery box sets. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Canadiana à la Netflix

Canada Day celebrations may be over but there is still so much to celebrate and be proud of when it comes to our great nation - its beautiful lands and diverse population, for example. Of particular note is the fact that Superman was created by a Canadian and that a Canadian bear named Winnipeg inspired the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. This month, Netflix Canada Stream Team members are celebrating Canada by discovering a list of shows that were either filmed in Canada, take place in Canada, like Are You Afraid of the Dark, or were created in Canada. Before watching some of these shows, I thought it would be fun to test out my kids' knowledge on Canadian trivia. For example, did you know that Canada is the second largest country in the world and is comprised of six time zones? Canada is also home to the world's longest street - Yonge Street starts at Lake Ontario, crosses right through Toronto and ends at the Minnesota border, measuring nearly 2,000 km in length. And Canada has the world's longest coastline at well over 200,000 km. If you'd like to test your kids on Canadian trivia, check out this list of Canadian trivia questions on Then bring out the beaver tails and tune your Netflix to one of these kid-friendly shows.

"Canadiana" Netflix titles for the older crowd:

  1. Are You Afraid of the Dark?
  2. Johnny Test
  3. Black Hole High
  4. Alpha and Omega
  5. Goosebumps
  6. Erky Perky
  7. Eliot Kid
  8. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days