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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Meet Ollie

Meet Ollie by Sphero - packaging

There has been a recent addition to our family. Friends, meet Ollie. You may have seen his cousin causing up quite a stir last year. His name is Sphero. Both Ollie and Sphero are a remarkable breed of robot. Like Sphero, Ollie is controlled remotely using an app you can download onto your smart phone or tablet. While Spero is a fairly well-rounded robot and can swim in water, Ollie puts him to shame on the racetrack. Engineered for speed, programmed for tricks and driven by adrenaline, nothing quite compares to Ollie the speed-demon.

Meet Ollie by Sphero

So how fast are we talking here? Over three times as fast as Spero! Reaching speeds of over 14 MPH, Ollie leaves the average toy in the dust. You would think it would roll out of control given the speed but it is actually quite agile thanks to its totally tubular design. The best part? You can easily customize the tires and hubcaps using a variety of combinations and colours. Each Ollie comes with a base bot, fixed wheel rims, a set of removable tires and removable hubs. It also comes with a USB charging cord. The tires provide ultra grip for hard cornering but you could easily remove them and turn Ollie into a super drift machine.

Meet Ollie by Sphero - assembly

Within a matter of minutes, I had assembled our robot and downloaded the app onto my new LG G3 smart phone. Communicating via Bluetooth, the phone or tablet connects instantly with Ollie and acts as a remote, kind of like a joystick. Turn your device sideways to enter tricks mode and enjoy the light show courtesy of the built-in LED's.

Meet Ollie by Sphero - trick mode LG G3

Cricut Create a Critter Safari Themed Birthday Card

Rummaging through some old photos, I came across an old personalized birthday card I made a few years ago. It was similar to the safari themed birthday card I had made earlier in 2012. I had fun putting it together and using foam dots to add dimension. I also lightly inked the edges and slightly curved the palm tree leaves for added depth. The monkey is one of my favourite cuts on the Cricut Create-a-Critter cartridge. I even used it in my son's fifth birthday card and turned it into a magnet!

Pssst! If you're a crafter like me and need quality lighting, or even if you just want to beat the winter blues, I have a Verilux HapplyLight Natural Spectrum Energy Lamp up for grabs. Open to US and Canada!

Participating in Wordless Wednesday? Feel free to add your post using the linky below.

Friday, November 14, 2014

RSVP for the Fisher-Price #fpwishlist Twitter Party!

You are cordially invited 
the Fisher-Price #fpwishlist Twitter Party 
the 19th of November, 2014
8:00pm EST

Hosted by the lovely @Listen2Lena, this fun-filled chat will be filled with holiday spirit as they will be giving away TWENTY-FOUR (24) Fisher-Price toys! That’s four winners every ten minutes!

RSVP below for a chance to win. (Prizes are available to Canadians only; see our Twitter Party rules.) 

New to Twitter and/or Twitter parties? I have written the following tutorials to help you out, complete with screenshots:

Thursday, November 13, 2014

NEW Silk Creamy Cashew Available in Canada!

Of all the raw nuts I enjoy, my favourite is the cashew. When it comes to nut butters, I prefer cashew butter. So it should come as no surprise that I now have a new favourite milk alternative - NEW Silk Creamy Cashew. Recently launched in Canada, Creamy Cashew has significantly fewer calories than Skim Milk, with only 60 calories per serving. While it is great that it has less calories, it was the creamy texture that intrigued me enough to head out to my local grocery store in search of Silk Creamy Cashew to try it out.

New SIlk Creamy Cashew - available in Canada

Made with creamy cashews, Silk Cashew has proven to be a delicious addition to our kitchen. We have used it in our cereal, in our mashed potatoes, in my favourite fruit smoothie or even on its own. Since it is a plant-based food, we are still able to enjoy the same amount of calcium that is found in dairy milk but without the cholesterol and lactose. It is also an excellent source of vitamin D.
Here is an adapted berry banana smoothie recipe I use with the new Silk Creamy Cashew:

Berry Banana Cashew Smoothie


  • 3/4 cup Silk Cashew Creamy
  • 1 tbsp of honey
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/4 cup diced frozen strawberries
  • 1/4 cup frozen blueberries
  • 3-4 drops of vanilla
I combine all of the ingredients in my personal blender. Once blended, I pour myself a smoothie and kick up my feet. Yum!

Transat Holidays - Cuban Taxi Surprise in Toronto

Remember when I tweeted about the mysterious Cuban taxi that roamed the streets of downtown Toronto one day in October? Well, if you were lucky enough to hitch a ride in it with Cuban driver Antonio Banderas, you were in for quite a surprise. Check it out!

Gah, what I would do to go back to Cuba! But maybe I'd settle for a night of salsa-dancing with Antonio...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

It's a KINDER Kind of Christmas!

I went to the mall yesterday and it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And I couldn't be more thrilled. Christmas is my favourite holiday of the year and it has nothing to do with the fact that I get two weeks off work to spend with my family. Okay, I lie. Of course it does. This year, as long as we can avoid another ice storm in Toronto, I will be the one with the goofy smile on her face trying to contain her excitement as the kids open their gifts. I know they're not for me but it's still so much fun to live vicariously through my children as they squeal with delight. You know, I've never laid a single claim to being the mature parent I should be at age 30-something. I like opening presents, too. But more than that, I really like chocolate. Combine the anticipation of one with the daily consumption of the other and you've got the ideal solution to, "Is it almost Christmas, yet?" Seriously, my kids get tired of hearing me ask that question every day.

KINDER® Advent calendars

While at the mall, I nearly hit the ceiling when I saw a fresh display of Christmas-themed KINDER® chocolates. We're talking row upon row of pure beauty, including the must-have KINDER® Advent Calendar which features a KINDER® chocolate behind every door. In theory, that is. At my house, it seems that some of the compartments are empty and I have absolutely no idea how that happens. It's not like I have ever jumped ahead a week to sample more chocolate. I would never do that.

KINDER® Advent calendars

Perhaps this year, I should make sure we each get our own KINDER® Advent calendar to avoid any such mishaps. And it's perfect since there are four of us and four different Advent calendars. I take this as a sign that it is simply meant to be. What is that, my dear husband? You don't care much for chocolate? Well, fret not. Being the selfless wife that I am, I will be sure yours does not go to waste.

KINDER® Surprise Maxi Eggs

Now, uh... what was I talking about? Ah, yes! Row upon row of KINDER® goodness! Think I'm joking? Check out the endless sea of orange including the giant KINDER® SURPRISE® MAXI eggs.

KINDER® Surprise Mix, Kinder Express

So many varieties to choose from, I almost grabbed one of each.

I even spotted  KINDER® SURPRISE® eggs with limited edition seasonal toys, the perfect belly stocking stuffer!

KINDER® Prize Pack

Monday, November 10, 2014

Make Your Own Dimoitou Hand Puppet

When my daughter was in nursery school, I remember her teacher sending home a teddy bear one weekend along with a journal to record our activities together. It was such a great idea and we really enjoyed reading the journal entries recorded by other families that this year I am going to try something similar in my French class. Our grade one program is Dimoitou and it includes a cute puppet that the students adore. I thought about sending the puppet home with the kids but seeing as it is irreplaceable and for fear of having it misplaced or ruined, I decided to make a simpler version instead. Using felt, I made my first ever hand puppet.

Handmade Dimoitou Hand Puppet

After sketching out a rough design, I used green, red, yellow and black felt to cut out the body, mouth, eyes and nose. Then came the hard part: sewing all the pieces together. I don't own a sewing machine so I resorted to the needle-and-thread method. You know, the one where I prick myself at least once twice thrice. While my stitching technique could use much improvement, I feel the Dimoitou puppet turned out just fine. 

Dimoitou Hand Puppet - Dimoitou chez nous

I am putting together three sets of take-home bags, one for each of my grade 1 classes, which will contain a Dimoitou puppet, a Dimoitou chez nous journal, a pencil, a pack of pencil crayons to illustrate an activity, a book to read, a contents checklist and instructions for the parents as well as a vocabulary reference sheet should they want to attempt writing out a sentence. I am hopeful that students will be enthusiastic in sharing what they are learning with their families while caring for Dimoitou. If you'd like to make your own Dimoitou puppet, I have included my template for you below. (Click on the thumbnail to download a PDF copy.)

Dimoitou Hand Puppet