Friday, August 28, 2009

Hellman's Swap 'n' Share and Billy Ray Cyrus Feed America!

With Billy Ray Cyrus leading the way how could I not write about this great initiative? This is a euphemism for: My daughter's would never let me live it down if I didn't write about what Miley's dad is doing!!!
The sandwich swap 'n' share program takes the time honoured tradition of swaping sandwiches to a new level and by teaming up with Billy Ray Cyrus and Feeding America swaping one virtual sandwich can mean feeding 7 hungry people!! It's simple join and start swapping sandwiches with your friends today. For each sandwich created Hellmann's® and Best Foods® will donate 7 lunches to the Feeding America®. charity. Feeding America®. is the leading American domestic hunger-relief charity!
Sharing your sandwiches also makes you eligible to win a $250 grocery gift card {this is open to US residents only}! So click over to right now and start feeding your friends, feeding America, and perhaps even feeding yourself without pulling out your wallet!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Well, once again I will be out of touch for a while! My family is attempting another camping trip in the hope that it will be substantially warmer and drier than our last excursion. We are off to Prince Albert National Park for 9 nights. Our last hurrah before the start of school is upon us!

Please don't leave me I will return with more reviews, giveaways, and less-than-wise, insightful ramblings including a garden update and perhaps some canning ideas :)

Social Issues in the North? Who could have imagined?!?

{This photo was posted on the CBC news website and shown on CBC's The National. I do not take credit for this photo}

I must apologize in advance for my indignation and my sarcasm! I mean really...are we as Canadians that out of touch with the stark realities faced most prominently by aboriginals in our country? The above photograph was released on CBC's The National this past week, as Prime Minister Steven Harper visited Iqaluit to promote arctic security, and the media spoke of it as a shocking revelation! Anyone who is familiar with the historical patronizing paternalism and humiliation of Canadian aboriginal peoples by our government should have realized that this is the aftermath which has existed for years and several generations!

I must admit I have not personally witnessed young children sleeping out on the streets in the northern communities I lived and taught in--but I also did not live in a city such as Iqaluit and if children were to be found sleeping in our small towns they would most certainly have been picked up by a passing relative, the local bylaw officers, or the RCMP somewhat faster considering the smaller population base. I have however taught and cared for children who have lived in terrible situations, and have been exposed to horrifying experiences no child should ever know!

I will never forget teaching a social studies unit on feelings in one of my grade one/two classrooms in the arctic. On this day we were creating books about feelings. Each page consisted of a blank space for a picture and an unfinished fill-in-the-blank sentence--" I felt sad when..." as an example. Literacy skills are often a challenge and I was helping one young boy fill in the blank "I felt scared when...". My heart ached as this boy replied, most matter-of-fact, that he felt scared when his father had tried to kill his mother and he began relaying the details as though common place.

I remember the pregnant grade seven girls in my junior high class and the students who slept with their heads on their desks desperate to catch a few winks because, as they explained, their parents had kept them up until the wee hours of the morning drinking and playing cards {gambling}. Gambling is so prominent in some communities that you will find young people who have gambled away their eyebrows, and sometimes their hair!

I recall a chair being hurled across my classroom by one of my grade seven students who then proceeded to hit me in the arm as he escaped the classroom in a fit of anger which seemed to materialize from nowhere. I verbally coaxed the boy to the Principal's office. Trying desperately to decipher his anger I asked if he was truly angry with me because I got the distinct feeling it was not me he was really angry with. This strapping preteen, always full of bravado, broke down weeping as would a little boy while I held his hand and attempted in vain to comfort him. With terror in his eyes he begged the principal not to call his father. We learned later as we had suspected from his pleading that his father was known for beating his family.

I shiver to think of one of the young boys we knew who visited the teachers homes--including our own--regularly looking for attention, acceptance, and a place of solace because he was "the family slave". Little was I aware at the time but he was thought to be a useless human being and abused by his family. He was even made to eat scraps like a dog. He was ostracized by his peers and without friends. This boy is now a murderer sitting behind bars charged with heinous crimes he committed against a little girl in his adulthood! I sit and look at pictures of a smiling little boy knowing that he had been turned into a monster by the people who were meant to love him but did not know how.
We fostered two little girls for a short time. One was 3 years old and the other an infant. The communities are often desperately in search of foster families. We already had two of our own so we agreed to helping with short term care. The girls were taken because their mother had attempted suicide and was recovering and their father at the time wanted nothing to do with them.

Please do not misinterpret what I say! These are the most horrific of stories but I could also relate stories of loving parents proudly displaying the babies on their back, cooing at them. "Kuniking"{rubbing noses as a sign of affection} their children as they approach. Stories of older children who never leave out their younger siblings and are careful to keep them safe and happy; Of friendly smiling faces always willing to lend a neighbourly hand. Social problems however run deep.

I appreciate that as adults we are responsible for our actions and parents in the situations I have described here are of course neglectful and at fault, but neglect and dysfunction breeds further neglect and dysfunction. The cycle stems from traumas and misdeeds of the past and without acknowledging and accepting this answers and solutions cannot be attained!

A trusted colleague of mine once spoke at a local teaching conference of her residential school experience. She remembers being taken from her family along with some of her siblings. They were sent to different schools far from home. She remembers being too young to understand why she no longer lived with her family and found it difficult to adjust. When she finally was able to come home she found this too was a difficult adjustment for herself, her parents, and her siblings. Her story brought to life the reality of residential schools in a way reading about them never could. It became easy to understand how this breaking up of families for a generation could destroy Inuit family life and the nature and knowledge of parenting.

CBC aired this photo and the blame game began...the RCMP are not responding swiftly enough or it must just be "those" people!! Wrong!! The RCMP are understaffed and under represented in a city with social problems which run deeper than most Canadians in their cushy middle class lifestyles could ever understand. The government has poured money into band aid solutions but have definitively missed the boat and avoided the tough questions and what is truly necessary. As the once optimist in rose coloured glasses which were removed shortly after arriving in the north, I realize that the Inuit people must ultimately help themselves. But to fix a broken house one requires tools. It is our government which must provide the tools for change and it is the voice of the Canadian people which must call for it!
The Inuit people are a people ravaged by housing shortages, poor nutrition {thanks to the gradual loss of traditional lifestyle}, alcoholism, gambling, and drug addictions. They are also however a people of resilience and great ingenuity. They have endured and in fact enjoyed inhabiting probably the world's harshest and unforgiving environment and have survived! It is this resilience and patience that will ultimately save them from the current reality.
CBC's Duncan McCue produced a heart wrenching feature about the youth of Kugluktuk in 2007 and their struggle to support reform to alcohol access in the community {unfortunately it appears their link to the documentary is broken or I would provide it for you}. These brave youth people--some former students of my husband and myself--told stories about their parents' struggles with addictions, their personal experiences of addiction and abuse, and the losses they have suffered as they watch friends and family members lose their lives through suicide. The feeling of hopelessness is a formidable enemy! I retain my optimism in the belief that it is the youth that will make the difference, it will be their will and strength that will forge a new reality for their children! Perhaps this is naive...
I have been involved in many conversations over the years in which I have encountered the harsh criticism of the Inuit as a people. It is very easy to become jaded and decide that the Inuit just don't wish to solve the social issues that many of them face, that they are lazy, or just don't care! I always counter with a very honest response once that I house in my heart whenever I am in doubt. "If I had to deal with what many of my students had to deal with I would not have turned out as well! I would not have survived and like those who have given in to their grief I would have committed suicide or buried myself in numbing addictions!" I do not criticize a people for their desperation. Encouragement and understanding, esteem building and strength is what is called for from the Canadian public. Better tools of healing through funding proper housing, social programs not meant to foster dependence but rather Independence, safe havens for the abused to escape without leaving everything and everyone they know and love behind is called for from our government!
Perhaps this photo, a snapshot of something forgotten or left to fester in our complacency can be a catalyst to change, a call for help that the government and the Canadian people can no longer ignore! One can hope...

Sand Sharks ~ Book Review and Giveaway!

As a teenager I worked in a library re-shelving books, checking books in and out but I think I may have been more adept at un-shelving books as I often came across books I just had to check out for myself! Many of these were from the mystery section. I relish a good mystery whether a traditional Agatha Christie or a wonderful modern series like this Deborah Knott mystery Sand Sharks written by the award winning author Margaret Maron!
I have never read a Margaret Maron novel before Sand Sharks but would not turn down reading another! Maron's characters are believable, and she weaves a murder mystery which seems plausible and rewarding in the way the dots seem to connect so smoothly without the end being obvious! Unlike a high-flying crime drama this novel is written in the tradition of the classic mystery novel filled with analytical puzzling.
Deborah Knott, Sand Sharks' heroine, is a district court judge who is still unravelling the mysteries of being a wife and stepmother but is adept at solving other mysteries in life! While at a judges conference in the beach town of Wilmington, North Carolina Knott's opportunity to escape family life for a time and regroup becomes riddled in tensions and questions after a little known colleague is murdered. After a night of cavorting with friends Knott discovers the body and becomes embroiled in a mystery which may put her friends and herself in harms way!
Deborah Knott is a personality hard not to like and admire. She is a successful judge, attractive, down-to-earth, and intellectual but--typical of women like me--hasn't completely figured everything in life out yet! The reader is led through the novel and held fast by Deborah Knott's keen curiosity and her unwavering methodical thinking. A seamless mystery with a mellow summer setting this book is a great summer evening read!
Five Northern Mama readers will be able to sit back on their porches some late summer evening and read their free copy of Margaret Maron's Sand Sharks!
To Enter:
  • Become a Northern Mama Follower and comment on your favourite mystery novel, movie, writer, or character! {Required}

Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents. Giveaway closes September 11, 2009 10:00pm CT. For details read General Giveaway Rules.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Winners of the FACES book giveaway!

Congrats to the 5 winners of a copy of FACES by Martina Cole!
The winners' comments are listed below:
2. Marjorie said...
I am a follower and would like to win this book.Please count me in.cenya2 at hotmail dot com
August 6, 2009 4:51 PM
4. valerie mom of 4 said...
I am follower and would love to win this book :)
August 7, 2009 9:15 AM
10. Anonymous said...
I am a subscriber and follower and would liketo win this book.jsrogers at shaw dot ca
August 21, 2009 12:30 PM
11. Anonymous said...
I am a follower. The book sounds interesting - please enter me in your giveaway.Thanks,arctic_teacher(at)yahoo(dot)ca
August 21, 2009 7:20 PM
12. Bewitchin' Kitchen said...
I follow and I would love to win!
August 22, 2009 6:39 PM
I will be emailing you! If you want to email me:

Monday, August 24, 2009

Book Review and Giveaway ~ Alex Cross's Trial by James Patterson!

A James Patterson novel is guaranteed high-suspense and thrilling drama but Alex Cross's Trial far exceeds any reader's regular expectations. Riveting, and powerful this novel is strikingly frightening because it relates a true history of terror... the terror instilled by the Ku Klux Klan in the deep south during the early 1900s! The emotions evoked by the descriptions of the fear of the times and the lynchings, which had become rampant, rip at one's human fibre and invoke images so vivid and emotionally charged that you feel as allies to the characters, drawn to read on!

Detective Alex Cross, Patterson's beloved hero, recounts the story told to him by his grandmother by writing a novel entitled TRIAL. The story is of his great-uncle Abraham Cross, his bravery and courage as he struggles against the rising renewal of the Ku Klux Klan. It is also the story of a young white attorney, Ben Corbett, whose mission it is to pull back the curtain which the country had drawn over the reality of the torturous and inhumane behaviours of the Ku Klux Klan.

Returning to his childhood home of Eudora, Mississippi, Ben discovers the town he once thought of as idyllic is not as he remembered and shadows are cast upon the people he once thought of as trustworthy friends. He soon learns misplacing his trust could possibly cost him his life! One person he can trust is Abraham Cross and his daughter Moody, residents of the Eudora's black quarter where living in fear is now commonplace and no one is safe from the wrath of the KKK.

Abraham and Ben fight against all odds to end the terror but it is not until Ben recalls the words of Samuel Clemens {Mark Twain} that he realizes what he must do:

"No mob has any sand in the presence of a man known to be splendidly brave. When I was a boy, I saw a brave gentleman deride and insult a mob, and drive it away.
This would lead one to think that perhaps the remedy for lynchings is to station a brave man in each affected community. But where shall these brave men be found? That is indeed a difficulty. There are not three hundred of them on the earth." (Patterson 2009:158)

Alex Cross's Trial is a fast paced read filled with emotion driven suspense! It reads like a movie and--following in the footsteps of so many other James Patterson novels which have gone before it--should be made into a feature motion picture. Whether you are already a fan of Patterson's character Alex Cross or you have never heard of him this is a gripping tale you don't want to miss!
Five Northern Mama readers will not be disappointed when they receive their copies of Alex Cross's Trial by James Patterson and Richard Dilallo.
Watch for my upcoming review of James Patterson's non-fiction The Murder of King Tut!

To Enter:
  • Be a Northern Mama Follower and comment here! {Required}

Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents. Giveaway closes September 8th, 2009 10:00pm CT. For further details read General Giveaway Rules.

The loss of a Post :(

I must tell you I worked extensively on a post about social issues in the north yesterday and when I hit publish post to my horror the post disappeared into some black hole out in cyber space! Fear not I thought, it will have been saved in Blogger but regrettably it had only saved the first few sentences.

I know it seems silly but I lamented the loss of that post as I had put my heart and soul into writing it and for the life of me cannot reproduce it to my satisfaction. I am still reworking my rewrite with much frustration! Hopefully I have learned my lesson and will from now on save my posts to a word document or clipboard as backup!

Hopefully my son also learned a valuable lesson yesterday about avoiding wasp nests and avoiding other boys while they poke at wasps nests...I believe the 5 wasp bites he received should see to that! What a day!

My day finished however on a happier note. Last night my husband and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary with an evening out!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Winner of the Le Baby Shop Thermos Funtainer!

Anonymous said...
I'm an email subscriber
August 21, 2009 5:57 PM
Congratulations! I'm guessing from your email that you are an arctic teacher so from one arctic teacher to another congrats!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Italian For Beginners ~ Book Review and Giveaway!

Ever since I was a young teenager I have been a lover of old movies. Much of the time, when I have the television to myself, you will find it tuned to a black-and-white on TCM! The romantic plots and the beauty of the old film stars--like novels--draw me into another world, dropping me into another time, another place!

In Italian for Beginners Karen Harmel draws her setting and inspiration from one of my favourite classic films, Roman Holiday. Actress Audrey Hepburn, who starred in the film has always been an actress I felt akin to, not surprising since we share our birth date {May 4th}. Based on this history of my interests and the fact that I grew up in a predominately Italian community this book had personal meaning beyond the words on the page!

Italian for Beginners is a glorious romp through Rome, its history, sights, sounds, and of course its rich tastes! This book left me yearning for an Italian vacation but beyond all this ambiance Harmel also made me yearn to follow my dreams, find my true self, and not always play it safe.
Cat Connelly is a New Yorker who has spent her life protecting and caring for her father and sister after her Italian mother left. Cat is 34 and single as her grandmother embarrassingly points out publicly in the midst of her younger sister's wedding ceremony:

"But, Cat!" Grandma exclaimed. She paused to cough violently while Dad rapped on her back. "Cat, dear!" she resumed, after the coughing fit. "Your sister is much younger than you! And now she's getting married? What about that nice young man you were dating, dear? Keith was it? Did you screw it up?"

Humiliated, Cat makes the rare and risky decision to take a vacation, back to Rome, a place she travelled in her youth, the place her mother hails from. She believes she is going to rekindle an old flame but soon realizes Rome means more to her than romance! With the help of new friends Cat re-evaluates her life and confronts the ghosts of her past which only Rome can heal!

This book is filled with the charm of Italy and strong Italian characters I recognize from my youth--The strong, and hot tempered Italian women, the Italian stallions, the nonnas saying mangia tutto! Light and uplifting, this novel is a delight for those with a heart for romance, a roaming soul, and a mind for dreaming! Harmel also includes some fantastic taste experiences for those with an Italian appetite! Nonna would be proud!

5 Northern Mama readers will have the pleasure of venturing Rome between the covers of Karen Harmel's Italian for Beginners! Yes, 5 copies. Thank you Miriam Parker of Hachette Book Group and 5 Spot!

To Enter:
  • Follow or subscribe via email to Northern Mama and comment here! {Required}

Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents. Giveaway closes Sept. 8th, 2009 10:00 pm CT. For further details see General Giveaway Rules.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mare ad Mare~Canadian Girl T-shirt Winner!!

Alright, it's been a long time coming but I have a winner for the Canadian Girl T-shirt contest! Congrats Carla and thanks for the pics of your Canadian Girls having some great Canadian Fun!! Also thank you to Kara for a personal Canadian Girl story from her youth!
Cute Pics Carla ;)

Monday, August 17, 2009

GreenSmart Neogreene Laptop and Bottle Sleeves ~ Review and Giveaway!

Sleek, professional, savvy, and green! My new laptop sleeve from GreenSmart is all of this and so much more. GreenSmart is a forward thinking, innovative bags and cases company which looks beyond the traditions of many eco-friendly companies to reinvent and discover new green materials. "Any company can make something out of cotton and call it green" but GreenSmart wants their company approach to go deeper and to truly examine the ecological footprint caused by every aspect of the materials and production methods they use!

Why reinvent the wheel? Because maybe it can be made more efficient and just plain better! GreenSmart uses 100% recycled bottles to create their bottles to bags collection. Using recycled PET polyethylene teraphthalate is actually very like polyester only the collection, cleaning and grinding of plastic drinking bottles not only reuses an otherwise disposed of waste product but also consumes far less energy and petroleum than the production of polyester yarn! The GreenSmart Bottles 2 Bags collection is hip and professional!

I received products created of an amazing GreenSmart developed material which they have coined neogreene. Do you love the feel of neoprene? It is a smooth, squishy, and flexible, sporty fabric but it's polished look and feel comes at an environmental price. Though I am no chemist and the details can be a bit daunting the bottom line is that the creation of neoprene requires the use of extremely aggressive glues containing highly toxic chemicals! If you smell neoprene it actually has an odour from these volatile chemicals. GreenSmart has removed the chemical process known as chloroprene chemistry all together to create Neogreene. Neogreene has all the great qualities of neoprene--durability, and a smooth, sleek, and sporty texture and appearance --but minus the toxins and with added environmental benefits. Neogreene uses 25% less electricity and petroleum to produce!

What fabulous products does GreenSmart fabricate from Neogreene? Bottle Bags and Laptop Sleeves and I received and tested one of each! Now I must admit I have seen some great laptop totes but they can be more cumbersome and often far too obvious and flashy. What I love about the GreenSmart Neogreene laptop sleeve is its subtlety which is far more professional and sophisticated and its practicality--it actually is constructed with a gusset and mesh interior to allow your computer to breathe. No more worries about sliding your overheated computer into a sealed and unforgiving, insulated case! It's waterproof and lightweight and I think its great that, however understated, it actually has its ecological benefits written all over it -- yes literally!

The neogreene bottle tote provides great insulation for any beverage hot or cold and the sleeve accommodates water bottles of various shapes and sizes. I love how it insulates but also how it protects my stainless steel bottles from the everyday bumps and bruises they can sustain. Complete with a caribiner clip the GreenSmart neopreene is once again a perfect combination of function and appearance. Like the neogreene laptop sleeve the bottle tote is sophisticated black with just a hint of green and in an understated way voices the importance of environmental thinking!
One lucky Northern Mama reader will have the opportunity to show his/her professional green side by sporting his/her choice of a GreenSmart Neogreene Laptop Sleeve {available in various sizes to accommodate your laptop size} OR a Neogreene Bottle Tote!
To Enter:
  • Visit GreenSmart and tell me your favourite item other than the ones I reviewed! {Required}
  • Non-bloggers you can enter but please leave me your email address.

Extra Entries:

  • Follow Northern Mama
  • Subscribe via email
  • Grab my Button
  • Blog about this giveaway and leave me the link to your post

Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents. Giveaway closes September 8th, 2009 10:00pm CT. See General Giveaway Rules for details.

Friday, August 14, 2009

I Can See You... ~ Book Review and Giveaway

Crime thrillers are some of my favourite leisure reads! I am a huge fan of the suspense, and the thrills, and I must admit I fancy myself an excellent armchair crime solver. New York Times bestselling author Karen Rose knows what avid crime drama readers like myself are itching for and she more than delivers!

In I Can See You Rose clouds the lines between the virtual world and reality creating a modern, fast-paced, thrilling murder drama featuring the macabre of a serial killer and spiced with sex and romance. Rose introduces characters into a plot so finely tuned that the reader is constantly left guessing at the killer's identity while fearing and suspecting everyone!

Eve Wilson is a bar tending, grad student all too familiar with the addictive nature of the virtual world. After having been scarred both physically and emotionally by a heinous crime against her person she sought the safe haven of virtual reality as an escape from facing the real world. But now she has come out of hiding and has turned her knowledge of the virtual world into a possible therapy for others. Unfortunately, she may have created a hunting ground for a serial killer!

Homicide detective, Noah Webster--part of a special homicide squad known as the "Hat Squad"for their fedoras--enlists Eve's help to track down a sadistic killer and their tragic pasts collide in a relationship of passion they both fear but cannot resist!

Suspenseful, chilling, and engaging I Can See You has you riveted to the very end! I found myself urged on by the constant need to decipher who the killer could be and I had difficulty
putting it down! I also had difficulty turning out the light! Rose creates characters with such dimension one starts to believe they could be lurking outside your very own door...I can see you!

You can experience the same "cold chills and hot thrills" because 5 Northern Mama readers will receive copies of Karen Rose's latest, I Can See You!

To Enter:
  • Follow Northern Mama and comment here! {Required}

Monday, August 10, 2009

Birdsong and the Eco-Wonders ~ Review and Giveaway!

I have always been inspired by those individuals who channel their talents and skills into making their passions and dreams a reality--people who utilize their talents to fulfill their ideals and to inspire others. Cheryl Procaccini a.k.a. Birdsong is one of those inspiring individuals who turned her love of music, environment, and children into a songwriting and recording career which helps instill in children the wonderment of nature, ecology and the ideal of earth stewardship!

As my readers are already aware, the wonders of nature are near and dear to my heart as is the stewardship of those wonders. I have attempted to instill these values in my children but just idle prattle is never an effective or efficient way to develop children's value systems. Though modelling stewardship and providing children with the opportunities to experience the magic of nature themselves is best, the magic and fun of music can also be a great moral motivator.

Like most, my children love music! My daughters enjoy singing and dancing and with the advent of new pop teens with their own tv shows I became afraid that the days of pure children's music may have been over in my household. Birdsong and the Eco-Wonders' "If I Were a Fish..." CD proved my fears were wrong! My daughters began singing and dancing to the CD the moment they popped it into the CD player and they immediately began to plan out their dance routines and performances for their favourite songs. My daughters were most taken with the first track "Clickety-Clack" which is about dolphin communication. And with fun lyrics like these who can blame them?:
Click, Click, Clickety-Clack.
I send a sound and it bounces back.
Echoes in my mind, helps me see
What’s up ahead in the deep blue sea.

Click, Click. Whistle and Squawk.
It’s just the way that a dolphin talks.
I call my friends so we can play
In a fun-loving dolphin way.

The songs on the "If I Were A Fish..." CD are educational, and are filled with fascinating facts and information about the wonders of the ocean but they are presented in a way that engages children and inspires them! The music is upbeat, and silly just as children's music should be!
Birdsong has also developed a fun, fact-filled website complete with song lyrics, interesting ecological information, and children's activities:!

Cheryl says, "It all began with "The Tide Pool Song"" --a song which is featured in an Emmy award winning short film. Humming and strumming this tune for the first time brought back to her the magical feelings she had experienced exploring the tide pools of her California home, "happiness, curiosity, and wonder". This is the power of music and it is these emotions that Birdsong--the educator, songwriter, and recording artist--has succeeded in capturing and sharing with her young listeners!

Now your children have the opportunity to dance, sing, and learn with their own copy of Birdsong and the Eco-Wonders "If I Were a Fish and other Ocean Songs for Kids". One lucky Northern Mama reader will win a copy of the CD. If you are not a winner be sure to purchase through the Birdsong and the Eco-Wonders website!

To Enter:

  • Visit Birdsong and the Eco-Wonders website and listen to some song samples. Tell me which is your favourite! {Required}
  • Non-bloggers may also enter but please leave me your email address.

Extra Entries:

  • Follow Northern Mama
  • Subscribe via email
  • Grab my Button
  • Blog about this giveaway and leave me the link to your post

{Please leave a separate comment for each entry}

Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents. Giveaway closes August 24th, 2009 10:00pm CT. For further details read the General Giveaway Rules.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Le Baby Shop Thermos Funtainer ~ Review and Giveaway!

Alright, I have a cupboard which is becoming filled with stainless steel drinking bottles. I love this! Many are bright colours, many with cool sleeves for easier grip and varying lids but the Thermos Funtainer I received from Le Baby Shop for review is the first my children have literally fought over! Yes, a drinking container my kids love! What makes the Thermos Funtainer different? It is kid-friendly, easy to use, and just plain FUN!

Le Baby Shop is a Canadian store based in Quebec and they know kids! Their products appeal to moms because the founders are parents just like us. The Thermos Funtainer is no exception. The Funtainer has a hygienic snap-and-flip lid which kids love because as we all know pressing buttons is instinctively and innately exciting, right? The lid pops to reveal a soft, flexible straw which prevents spillage and makes drinking from the bottle effortless. The Funtainer even comes with a replacement straw! The Funtainer will be great for school lunches but we've actually been using it for bedtime and it has saved us the numerous spills we encountered with cups and other bottles.

The Thermos Funtainer is also insulated and truly does keep cold beverages cool and refreshing. My children often complain their water has become to warm but they find the Funtainer keeps their water colder longer.

Though there are so many practical reasons to love the Thermos Funtainer when asked my son admitted that the designs on the bottle were "just so cool"! We received the Funtainer with the blue designs but it is also available in pink! I am sure I will have to invest in two more Funtainers in the pink for my girls so there will be no more disputes over whose turn it is to have the seulement Funtainer we currently harbour in our fridge...because it has not yet even made it to the cupboard!

One lucky Northern Mama reader will be the envy of me for she/he will receive a Thermos Funtainer of her/his choice from Le Baby Shop dedicated to natural and eco-friendly products for babies and children alike! Fear not, if you do not win you still can take advantage of the 15% discount on all their stainless steel products Le Baby Shop is offering all Northern Mama readers until Sept. 30th! Use the discount code: SAVE15SSBG

To Enter:
  • Visit Le Baby Shop and tell me what your favourite product is {Required}
  • Non-Bloggers may also enter but please leave your email address with your comment!

Extra Entries:

  • Follow Northern Mama
  • Subscribe via email
  • Grab my Button
  • Blog about this giveaway and leave me the link to your post

This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents. Contest closes August 22nd, 2009 10:00pm CT. See General Giveaway Rules for further details.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Kids Konserve Back to School Discount!

I ran out last week after arriving home from our family camping trip to buy school supplies!! Yes, the commencement of school is just around the corner and with three children in school this year Conserve is a word dear to my back-to-school heart! I am making an even more conscious effort than ever to reuse those almost untouched notebooks and pencil box contents from the previous year. Conservation is, as always, on the minds of the founders of Kids Konserve as they celebrate their one year anniversary! New this year are Kids Konserve's insulated lunch bags made from 100% recycled water bottles. Now not only are you and your children helping to save the environment by using waste free lunch kits but you can double your efforts by using kits created from existing materials!
Kids Konserve carries great nesting stainless steel container trios, and no-sweat ice packs too! Great waste-free lunch components are available at Kids Konserve and schools can earn and save money through the waste-free challenge at: Kids Konserve Schools ...because waste-free lunches are an important way kids and schools can make a difference!

And to help you make a difference this school year Kids Konserve is offering Northern Mama readers a 15% discount until the end of September. Just use the discount code: northern at the checkout and save!

I've reached the century mark!!

I just realized today that I have reached the 100 followers mark!! I know that I have been gaining followers slowly compared to many of the daily giveaway sites but as I've told several of my blogging friends for me this is truly an outlet for my writing and a way of creating something that is my own in the midst of the chaos of home life and children... that people actually want to read what I have to say is icing on the cake!

I have been enjoying this endeavour and want to say thank you to those that have been so kindly cheering me on. I am loving how my blog is evolving to include so many eclectic interests. I have a varied and eclectic personality and wanted my blog to reflect that.
THANK YOU and there is more to come!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Book Review ~ Atherton: The Dark Planet

Atherton: The Dark Planet is the third and final book in an exciting young fantasy series written by bestselling author Patrick Carman! Our youth has been becoming increasingly aware of apocalyptic prophecies. They are living in a world on the brink of destruction and they understand it in a way older generations fail to...but they also possess the strength, hope, and optimism to change it! Patrick Carman knows this to be true and knows that portraying a battered world--the world of the Dark Planet--instills this knowledge and intense desire to change the world for the better, in his young readers. In the vein of such fantasy series as "The City of Sparks", Atherton: The Dark Planet explores the idea of a world abused and the question of "how far is too far?".

Patrick Carman is the bestselling author of "The Land of Elyon" series which my son also truly enjoyed. My son is 9 years old and is already a Fantasy fiction junky! Atherton: The Dark Planet is the first Atherton series book he has read but he found it easy to follow the story as a stand alone novel despite having missed the first two books of the series. He is now eager to read the earlier books and we ran out to purchase them. In the tradition of Carman's other novels Atherton: The Dark Planet is a well-constructed fantasy brimming with suspense and action. Only Carman can create such fantastical worlds of fantastic and mutant creatures which read as realistic and plausible, abounding with characters whom children find easy to relate to and with whom they can feel emotionally attached.
Young Edgar ventures from the pristine world of Atherton facing great dangers to the Dark Planet, a world of toxic winds and frightening creatures. Edgar discovers the silo, a place where children are enslaved and work under the ruthlessness of those adults who remain at station 7. Through the prophecy of his arrival and the legends of Dr. Harding, the creator of Atherton, Edgar learns of the purpose of Atherton and of Dr. Harding's unfinished plans!
I fell in love with the underlying environmental theme of the Atherton series and relished in my son's ultimate enjoyment of this exciting and well-written novel for youth!
Thank you Alice Morley of Little, Brown Books for this book and review opportunity!

Lands' End Back-to-school Event!!

Yes, I'm here to burst your summer bubble and remind you it's already time to start preparing for back-to-school! Lands' End is hosting a back-to-school Twitter party and you are invited!!
Lands' End hosts will be available to answer back-to-school shopping questions and the party will feature more than 20 product giveaways from co-hosts,
Date: Thursday, August 20th
Time: 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. CST
Location: #landsend
Save the date and log-on to Twitter for an evening of shopping tips, socializing and great giveaways! What a great start to any mom's school year!

Krafty Kids Winner!

Congratulations to Cpullum! I will be emailing you shortly!

17. cpullum said...
I love the Sports Ball Bag Tag!carlacpullum(at)yahoo(dot)com
July 13, 2009 10:42 AM

Winner of One Village Gifts Giveaway!

Congrats to Indigo! You've won the beautiful orange Acai Berry Bracelet from One Village Gifts!

14. indigo said...
July 8, 2009 10:31 PM

FACES ~ Books to Giveaway!

Miriam Parker of Hachette Book Group has kindly offered to offer FIVE Northern Mama readers copies of FACES by Martina Cole newly published in July!!
Read our Northern Mama review of FACES:

and enter here to win!!

To Enter:
  • Follow Northern Mama and leave a comment here!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Winners of AMERICA LIBRE!!

4. Doubting Thomas said...
Thank you, for holding such a wonderful giveaway, I truly appreciate it! I am now following you!
July 22, 2009 7:34 PM

6. EM said...
this is my third try to get this book - I have hope. btw, your blog is amazing. it's an inspiration to mine...great review btw. you're welcome to follow mine.
July 23, 2009 8:35 AM

8. Lifestooshort said...
I have heard that this is a great book! I'm a follower :)lavery328 at yahoo dot com
July 23, 2009 9:01 PM

9. bridget3420 said...
Count me in. I'm a follower:)bjhopper(at)me(dot)com
July 24, 2009 11:51 AM

12. Marjorie said...
I am a follower and would love to win this awesome giveaway.cenya2 at hotmail dot com
July 28, 2009 5:51 PM

Congratulations to all five winners!! I have emailed you but EM and Doubting Thomas if I couldn't reach you {my Outlook is acting up} please eamil me with your mailing information at

Winners of the "I'm So Happy For You" book Giveaway!

2. Pam said...
This sounds like such a wickedly delightful read. And I will congratulate the winners if I'm not one of them, but it will be through gritted teeth with my fingers crossed behind my back. So hopefully I'm one of them!And I subscribe and follow and all that jazz.melacan at hotmail dot com
July 7, 2009 4:48 PM
7. Kelly said...
It sounds interesting and I'd love a chance to read it. (i'm an old follower)
July 8, 2009 3:17 AM
9. Matt, Kara, Hunter and Cavan said...
Sounds like a good one! I am a follower!
July 12, 2009 1:16 PM
12. mantaray said...
I just found your blog- sounds like a good book to sit by the pool with this summer.tanfaes(at)
July 21, 2009 10:39 AM
13. Lee P said...
I follow your blog. Thanks for this giveaway and please count me inchinook92(at)gmail(dot)com
August 3, 2009 12:05 PM
Congrats to all five of you! I will be emailing you but if you don't receive my email please email me with your mailing info. at

FACES ~ Book Review

Okay, this is Angela's other half Tom and I will be pinch-typing for Angela today, and dipping my toes into the blogging world. One of the books that Angela received for review from Hatchett was titled FACES by Martina Cole.

After reading the introduction on the cover, I became a little intrigued, as I had just finished reading a biography of Al Capone. Well, this book can draw some parallels between the big racketeer of old, with the new age racketeer brought to life as Danny Boy Cadogan.

In the UK setting, Danny Boy, a teen from an under-privileged home, is thrust into the bread-winner role for the family when his father runs up a gambling debt he cannot pay and bails on his wife and three children. Danny, takes it upon himself to find work to pay the bills and provide for his family in the absence of his father.

Danny's job at a scrap yard puts him into contact with Louie, who becomes a guide to the Faces (the criminals of power) in the London underworld.

Danny develops a natural case of megalomania, and with his childhood best friend Michael, begins to build an empire to rival or even surpass the syndicates of old Chicago in Europe. Danny provides the muscle and ruthlessness to the business, while Michael acts as the brains.
The character and plot development is brutal and raw; definitely not for the faint of heart. Cole pulls no punches in chronicling the meteoric rise of this dynamic duo.

Question is, what does it take to get to the top, and once there how do you stay on top?
The question is also answered, is there such a thing as honour among thieves?

For an intriguing look at Cole's view of the UK underworld and modern day racketeering, check out FACES.

REPOST WITH REVISED GIVEAWAY~Mare ad Mare~ A Canadian Review and Giveaway!

THE GIVEAWAY ENTRY HAS BEEN REVISED AND THE CONTEST DEADLINE EXTENDED!! PLEASE TAKE ANOTHER PEEK! Your entry can include comments on Canadian Girl memories and experiences from your own childhood or from your daughters, or other little girls special to you. Photos are optional!!

Most of my giveaways have always been open to US and Canadian residents but this one will be a little different! A Canadian Giveaway {ex-patriots count} in honour of Canada Day July 1st!!

O Canada!... My husband and I are very proud Canadians! My husband serves his country every day as a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and even prior to this we have always wanted to instill in our children with the same national pride we share. Canadians are not known for their national pride. Don't get me wrong...I think most Canadians truly love their country but we are a laid back people who are self-deprecating and humble. I think this is changing and I hope my children truly thrill at the sound of our national anthem and remember their travels and experiences across our great country with a full heart!

Our Home and Native Land...We've lived in two provinces and two territories, we've visited all the provinces and territories with the exception of the Yukon {where we hope to live one day}. We want our children to know their country, taste it through first hand experiences.

True Patriot Love... Canadians are special! We have a national identity which encompasses the values of acceptance, social well being, and a love of the natural world which our country personifies from city to prairie, mountain and tundra! We believe in politeness and humour! Our national identity embraces cultural diversity and ultimately the love of peace! But there is something truly free, pure, and adventurous about the heart and soul of a Canadian girl! Whether surrounded by a sea of open prairie fields or Rocky mountain peaks; skipping the shores of "The Rock" or inhaling the ocean breezes off the Atlantic or the Pacific; whether sifting the red earth of PEI through her fingers or plucking fresh, fat tundra blueberries in Canada's north; applauding a play in a Toronto theater or a cowboy at Calgary's stampede; ou célébrer Bonhomme Carnaval dans la ville de Québec, being a Canadian girl is the embodiment of loving and embracing life...a joie de vive! The Canadian girl knows the glories of her country through play; through touch, sight, sound, and taste!

Ian founder of Mare ad Mare believes in the unique experience of Canadian girls! Mare ad Mare means "sea to sea" and he and his family have created the Mare ad Mare t-shirt collection to keep the memories of Canada alive in Canadian girls living from sea to sea and all over the world. As an ex patriot having lived and raised his family in the US and Germany it was important for him that his daughters remain connected to their country. Mare ad Mare t-shirts are for every girl! They celebrate Canada but also spread the Canadian identity and message of joie de vive through all seasons to the rest of the world, lending a voice to the Canadian experience. With logos such as " It's not Always Cold in Canada...but it is Today", "Jump In", "Pass the Marshmallows", and "Spring...Finally" Mare ad Mare has somehow capsulized the Canadian seasons and good ole' fashioned Canadian fun! And Mare ad Mare has not forgotten that we are a Bilingual country with French and English as our two official languages! Mare ad Mare also has created the "Donnez-moi un petit baisser!" for French Canadian girls or any girl who wants "a little kiss" of Canada!

The Mare ad Mare Blog is currently running a fabulous t-shirt giveaway for Canadians all over the world and they are also generously giving away a Mare ad Mare t-shirt to a Canadian reader here at Northern Mama!

Mare ad Mare is looking for video clips, photos, and stories showing what other Canadian girls do for fun whether in Canada or around the world!

To enter the Northern Mama giveaway send me a photo of your girl or girls having fun {daughter(s) or another special little girl in your life}:
{I will not be passing on names or information about you or your family members--photos only!}
Mare ad Mare may request to post the winner's photo on their blog and I would love to post the winner's photo here {again only with the winner's permission and without names}!!

OR Just leave a comment about your Canadian Girl experiences {either from your childhood or the expereinces of your daughter or another special little girl in your life}!!

Extra Entries:

  • Follow Northern Mama
  • Subscribe via email
  • Grab my Button
  • Blog about this giveaway and leave me a link to your post
  • Tell me a little story about you of your daughter having "Canadian Fun"!

This Giveaway open to all Canadians at home or abroad!! Giveaway will extend until August 17th 12:00 am CT {this will give you time to collect and send great summer shots and I will then be back from my July camping trip to pick the winner} See General Giveaway Rules for further details!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Just Made it Home and Recieved a wonderful email

Well, after twelve days of living in a tent I am home again! The trip was less than rained 95% of the time but we managed to enjoy ourselves despite it all. We may try to fit another camping trip in though at the end of August/beginning of September in the hopes that maybe the weather will have imporved by then {wishful thinking this year I think}.

Upon perusing my email I was surprised by a lovely message from the author of AMERICA LIBRE! I was extremely pleased that he enjoyed my review and I just have to share because...well I feel just a little proud ;) And thank you so much Raul for your kind words!

Here's what Raul Ramos y Sanchez wrote:

I really appreciate you hosting the AMERICA LIBRE give-away on your blog. A wonderful bonus was your excellent review. You captured the essence of the novel yet brought out some of the book’s most nuanced insights. Thank you for taking the time to develop this well-crafted essay and sharing it with readers.

Raul Ramos y Sanchez