Friday, August 31, 2012

School Lunch Ideas

Little Girl starts school is just under a week, Kindergarten for her is all day Tuesday, Thursday and Friday afternoon – so that means, 2 times a week she gets to bring her lunch.
This also means 2 times a week, I get to make her lunch.

Check out what I found for her:

Thermos brand - found at Superstore.

When I was in grade school and taking my lunch, my parents never made my lunch – all 4 of us kids made our own lunch.

I know this is what some “experts” say helps kids eat their lunch – having them make it themselves – and I do agree it helps kids put in the foods they are likely to eat, but I think instead the child should be involved in the process, but not completely responsible for the whole lunch.

And honestly, I have no problem making her lunch – I am actually excited and looking forward to it – so much so that I have been pinning blog posts and blogs with school lunch ideas since early spring.

But last week I asked Little Girl what kind of food she would like to bring; you want to know what her first response was?

Seriously? Peanuts?  The only thing she is not allowed to bring – contraband peanuts, she wants to bring?

So after explaining to her about allergies and how no peanuts were allowed in the schools, etc, etc. she came up with some ideas:
-          Ham & cheese wrap
-          Pickles
-          Carrots (from my garden)
-          Granola bar
-          Fishy crackers

I am in love with the Bento lunch idea (the simple ones that look like this):

Source: Bent on Better Lunches
Not the crazy ones that look like this:

Cute, but someone has way too much time on their hands.
Here are some of my ideas for school lunches:

-          Banana bread
-          Mini muffins
-          Hard boiled egg
-          Crackers & cheese
-          Gold fish crackers
-          Pretzels
-          Pickles
-          Cheese string
-          Rice cakes
-          Pepperoni
-          Yogurt raisins
-          Raisins
-          Popcorn
-          Granola bars
-          Cold chicken fingers
-          Cold grilled cheese
-          Cold perogies
-          Wraps
-          Rolled up deli meat
-          Pasta
-          Soup with crackers
-          Bocconcini & tomato salad
-          Quesadilla
-          Mini quiche
-          Mini frittata
-          Apple slices
-          Strawberries
-          Grapes
-          Cantaloupe
-          Pineapple
-          Orange slices
-          Mandarin orange
-          Fruit salad
-          Fruit kabobs (on toothpicks or straws for little kids)
-          Apple sauce

-          Cucumber slices
-          Cherry tomatoes
-          Carrot sticks
-          Red pepper slices
-          Steamed broccoli (cold)
-          Snap peas
-          Hummus and veggies to dip

Are you making school lunches this year, or do you have a few years under your belt already?  Have any ideas for me?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Halo Crib Set GIVEAWAY #babygifts

Babies need only a few things: love, food and sleep.
The love and food part usually come naturally, it is the sleep part that often takes some work.

When Little Girl was a newborn, she loved to be swaddled.  She slept swaddled from new born to 10 months old when she was at that point in time able to get herself out of the swaddle.
We used receiving blankets and became very good at the triangle fold and swaddle, but I would have loved one of these swaddle sleep sacks from Halo had I known about them.

I love that there are 2 options, the swaddle and the sleep sack - because Little Boy did not like to be swaddled.

Here is what Halo has to say about their product:
"With the American Academy of Pediatrics now saying "no" to crib bumpers, HALO Innovations has introduced its own Safe Sleep Crib SetTM designed to create an attractive and safe sleep environment for babies."

"The five-piece HALO Safe Sleep Crib Set consists of a HALO SleepSack wearable blanket, SleepSack Swaddle, both in 100% cotton; two coordinating crib sheets in soft cotton jersey; and a matching crib skirt."

"Too often parents 'overdress' the crib with quilt and bumpers, both of which can pose a breathing threat for baby," comments Bill Schmid, founder of Halo Innovations. "The Halo SleepSack and SleepSack Swaddle are the only things a baby needs in the crib to stay warm and sleeping safely, and the soft jersey sheet provides a snug fit on the mattress."

"The new HALO Safe Sleep Crib Sets are available on and The set comes in six patterns including pink, blue and neutral tones."

The prize is a HALO Safe Sleep Crib Set (ARV $115) color choice based upon availability.

This giveaway will run until September 24, 2012 at 12:01am EST and is open to both US and Canada.

Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to A Hen's Nest for organizing this fun giveaway!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Helicopter Ride

I was not there for this conversation last night but I laughed and laughed when Hubby told me about it.

Little Girl: Daddy, when are we going for a helicopter ride?

Hubby: WHAT???

Little Girl: When are we going for a helicopter ride? (said with the exasperation of a teenage girl)

Hubby: When I find a helicopter on Kijiji honey.

Little Girl: YEAH!!!!

Hubby: (oh shit!) ummm, actually no……
Hubby and I got a chance to go Heli-hiking back in 2009.

My first helicopter ride.

Bundles & Buzz GIVEAWAY #babygifts

Looking for a fun baby gift for someone or yourself?  This would be a great gift to give a new Mom when you visit her the first time and get to see the baby.

Check out Bundles & Buzz!  (I participated in a giveaway they are doing for their back to school bundle - this is a baby one.)

This is how Bundles & Buzz describes their product:
Bundles are surprise packages of mom/baby products, supplied by companies who are looking to increase their sales, introduce a new product, clear out discontinued products or boost brand awareness. The content of the Bundles will be a surprise until the customer receives their package. That’s what makes it so exciting! We occasionally make hints on our Facebook page, but because Bundles often vary, no customer will know exactly what they will be getting.

The prize is a Bundles and Buzz Super Baby Bundle valued at $80 + a $20 store credit (ARV $100)

(The normal Bundles are $60 arv. Bundles and Buzz is creating a "Super Baby Bundle" that is worth $80 (arv) just for the giveaway.)

This giveaway ends September 24, 2012 at 12:01am EST and is open to both US and Canada.

Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to A Hen's Nest for organizing this fun giveaway!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Ready for School

School supplies – check
School uniform – check
Lunch bag – check
New day home organized – check
Bus schedule – check
Little Girl ready – check
Mom ready – nowhere near!

We are ready for school or I should say we are physically ready and Little Girl is mentally ready, I am still wrapping my brain around the fact that 5 years ago right now she looked like this:

September Long weekend - 2007 (Little Girl - 4.5 months old)
 And now she looks like this:

Beyond Bedding GIVEAWAY #babygifts

I am an organizer and love all the attention to detail stuff, so when I was pregnant, I loved all the planning and prep works that comes with 9 months of being pregnant.

Besides a car seat and a stroller, you need somewhere for your little one to sleep, and why not make it beautiful while you're at it.

Beyond Bedding has some super cute designs (and not just for babies).

You could win: the Purple and Black Kaylee Girls Boutique Baby Bedding 9 pc Crib Set by JoJo Designs, available at Beyond Bedding (ARV $265.00)

The 9pc Kaylee baby bedding collection by JoJO Designs creates a stunning boutique setting for your little fashionista. This designer girl crib bedding set uses a sensational collection of JoJO Designs exclusive 100% Cotton fabrics paired with plush Minky fabrics. It boasts a black and white scroll print, a bold designer stripe, black and white mini dot print, and purple minky swirl. The gorgeous color palette of purple, black and white will set your nursery up in high style. This JoJO Designs set will fit all standard cribs and toddler beds and is machine washable for easy care and repeated use.

The 9 pcs. included in this set are:
  • Crib Blanket: 45in. x 36in.
  • 2 Window Valances: 84in. x 15in. ea.
  • Crib Skirt: 52in. x 28in. x 12in.
  • drop Fitted crib sheet: 52in. x 28in. x 8in.
  • pocket Bumper: 158in. x 10in.
  • Diaper stacker: 15in. x 6in.
  • Toy bag
  • Pillow

This giveaway is open to both US and Canada and will end September 24, 2012 12:01am EST.

Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to A Hen's Nest for organizing this fun giveaway!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Old Pictures

A few weeks ago I stumbled onto some old pictures of me that had been scanned for our wedding slide show.
I thought I would share a few with you all and show you just how cute I was as a kid. LOL

I don't have the actual pictures (with ages and dates written on the back) - so I am guessing a little bit with my age in some of these.

Around 1 year old - and look, I used to be blond!

My second birthday.

2.25 years old

Grade 1 or 2

Grade 3 or 4

Grade 5

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sprinkle Cookies

I was on Pinterest the other day and I came across a sprinkle cookie, I can't remember if I pined it, but I immediately knew I needed to make sprinkle cookies for my 2 little cookie monsters.


I took my favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe, made it as I normally would but instead of putting in the chocolate chips, I put in sprinkles instead.

Needless to say, my kids LOVED them. 
Just a note - you need quite a few sprinkles to make them actually show up (they are small and get lost easily) so you might want to think about hitting the bulk isle for some sprinkles).

Try them, your little ones and a few big ones will love the change!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tomato, Lime & Cilantro Salsa with Chicken

You know those nights when you have no idea what to have for dinner?  Or those times you pull of a few chicken breasts from the freezer and now you need a game plan for what to do with them?

Hubby stumbled onto this recipe quite a while ago as he was flipping through one of my cookbooks looking for inspiration after I told him I was taking a night off from making dinner.

We now make this meal a lot; at least twice a month. 
We love it in the summer because it is fresh and fast and still allows you to keep the house cool, and we it in the winter because it is fresh and makes us forget that there are 3 feet of snow outside our door.

You can really use this salsa on anything, but our favourite way is to grill chicken breast and serve with rice, and then top both with the salsa, but if your favourite meat is pork, I am sure that would be great too.

Tomato, Lime & Cilantro Salsa

4-6 Roma tomatoes, small dice
½ cup finely chopped cilantro
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 lime, zested and juiced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons white sugar
Salt & freshly ground pepper

Mix everything together in a bowl,;allow to sit for 10-15 minutes to allow the flavours to blend.

Source: adapted from Fine Cooking Annual Vol. 2

Sunday, August 19, 2012

ETY Kids 5 Earphones - GIVEAWAY #back2school

We are surrounded by technology and it seems that the average 5 year old knows more about operating an iPhone than I do.  I have tried to keep my kids away from mine, but it comes in so handy sometimes - pull it out in a restaurant while we wait for food and play a quick game, or hand it over to listen to music that I am so sick of hearing - so of course out come the ear phones.

But we have to be careful with their little developing ears - having the music too loud can damage any one's ears, but especially small children - so this is where this product comes in.

ETY Kids.  They make ear phones specifically designed for kids and even a max volume will not damage ear drums.

Want to win a pair for your kids or a child you know?  There are 2 pairs to be won - so be sure to enter.

This contest runs until August 31, 2012 11:59pm EST and is open to both US and Canada.
Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to MySillyMonkeys ( for organizing this giveaway.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Bundles and Buzz GIVEAWAY - #back2school

Looking for a super neat gift idea for someone or yourself?  Check out Bundles and Buzz!

Bundles and Buzz is a really unique idea, the Bundles are surprise packages with products for Mom, baby or kids. Each bundles one is a bit different so it's a surprise when you get yours but each one has a value of about $70 yet you can purchase it for only $30-$35!

They have Baby Bundles and Back to School bundles - so right now the prize is a back to school bundle.
sample bundle


This contest runs until August 31, 2012 at 11:95pm EST and is open to both US and Canada.

Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to My Silly Monkeys for organizing this giveaway.

Friday, August 17, 2012

$150 Children's Place Gift Card GIVEAWAY - #back2school

With school and fall around the corner it's time for clothing shopping!

Since Little Girl is going to school with uniforms, our clothing shopping is a little different but still requires some basic pieces (like white polo shirts and turtlenecks for much colder days). 

After talking to as many Mom's as I can to get the insider info about acquiring all these uniform pieces - I have come to learn that The Children's Place is where most Mom's have success in finding these pieces.

But of course they have so many other fantastic pieces too and we do need clothes for casual days and the weekends so of course I totally would like to win $150 towards kids clothes.

This giveaway ends August 31, 2012 at 11:59pm EST and is open to both US and Canada.
Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to MySillyMonkeys ( for organizing this giveaway.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

On My Nightstand - The Thirteenth Tale

The Thirteenth Tale (408) – Diane Setterfield
Source: Library borrowed book

On the back cover:
All children mythologize their birth… So begins the prologue of reclusive author Vida Winter’s collection of stories, which are as famous as the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale as the yare for the delight and enchantment of the twelve that do exist.

The enigmatic Winter has spent six decades creating various outlandish life histories for herself – all of them inventions that have brought her fame and fortune but have kept her violent and tragic past a secret.  Now old and ailing, she at last wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life.  She summons biographer Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth, hidden by those who loved her most, remains an ever-present pain.  Struck by a curious parallel between Miss Winter’s story and her own, Margaret takes on the commission.

As Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good, Margaret is mesmerized.  It is a tale of gothic strangeness featuring the Angelfield family, including the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire.

Margaret succumbs to the power of Vida’s storytelling but remains suspicious of the author’s sincerity.  She demands the truth from Vida, and together they confront the ghosts that have haunted them wile becoming finally, transformed by the truth themselves.

My thoughts:
This book came highly recommended from a friend who has completely different taste in books than I do (actually she hates the books I love and vice  versa), and although the back cover description kind of bored me, I gave it a shot.

I really liked this book.  It kept me engaged the whole way through; there is a mystery to figure out and the characters are well rounded and the writing is in my opinion quite good.

Also, the main character Margaret has a love even bigger than mine with books, how can I not love her.
This book would make for a great book club discussion book too.

My rating: 4 out of 5.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

And the winner is...

So remember when a little while ago I launched the Minivan Stiletto's Facebook page and I said once I got ot 50 followers I would do a giveaway?

Well, thanks to the giveaways I have been participating in, I have far surpassed that goal - so thanks everyone and feel free to continue to share with your friends.

But for now - the winner of my Homemade Salsa, Strawberry Rhubarb Jam and Apricot Reisling Jam is: Leslie!

Leslie - I will contact you and arrange to get you your prize!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mexican Salad

My sister made a version of this salad a few years ago for a family get together.  I have been making it ever since and every time there are slight modifications.
It is super yummy and because there are so many different vegetables in it, if you don't have something I really doubt you would miss it - and add whatever you think will fit.

This is a great accompanyment for any BBQed meat or potluck.

Mexican Salad

1 can (540 ml) black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can (341) kernel corn, drained
½ red pepper, diced small
2 Roma tomatoes, diced small
¼ cucumber, diced small
1/3 – ½ cup chopped cilantro
½ cup diced red onion

1 ½ tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons vinegar
¾ teaspoon cumin
Juice of 1 lime
Salt & pepper

Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl, toss gently.
In small bowl, mix together the dressing and then pour over the salad and toss.  Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.


This salad is fantastic because it is really easy to throw together at a moment’s notice; it tastes great and can be eaten the next day as leftovers.

Monday, August 13, 2012

$200 Amazon Gift Card GIVEAWAY - #back2school

If you like (or, for my American friends) as much as I do then this giveaway is for you.

The best part is you don't ahve to be actually going back to school to win!  Just think of all the books you can buy with $200 from Amazon....

Please use the rafflecopter below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway ends August 31, 2012 at 11:59pm EST and is open to both US and Canada.
The winner can choose either a or gift card.

Thank you to MySillyMonkeys ( for organizing this giveaway.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Our Summer Vacation

The Big Green Dump Truck in Sparwood, BC - we take
the same picture every year.
For our summer vacation this year, we did the same thing we did for the last few years – we went to our trailer which happens to be parked in a lovely campground resort on a lake, we all LOVE it.

The campgroud is called Eagle's Nest Resort - Hubby
snapped this picture with his iPhone one morning.

So since we have been doing our summer vacation in the same place for the last 4 years and it is also the same place we spend every summer long weekend, we didn’t really do anything new.  There were however 2 small changes to our lives that we got to benefit from this vacation making it so far our best ever family vacation!

This was our first vacation in 5 years that no one was in diapers or pull ups and it was also the first vacation in 5 years that no one needed to take a nap!
Two major benefits in our books.

We were at the beach almost every day.
It was hot.
We went for bike rides.
We took walks.
We threw rocks into the lake.
We had camp fires and a sand castle contest.
We had a blast.
Here are a few photos from the week.

A Turtle Climbing onto a Rock
3rd Place!

Self portrait