Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Be a Natural Beauty with the help of Zosimos Botanicals ~ Review and Giveaway

We all wish we were natural beauties and in my opinion we all are! The beauty of unique faces has always mesmerized me as an artist. I've always drawn faces and some of the most beautiful are those sporting wrinkles, piercing eyes which over shadow other features, but always we strive for conventional beauty {I admit this myself}. Perhaps this makes us feel a boost in self-confidence and self-esteem or perhaps it just makes us feel like we belong and guess what....that's okay! Those of us who value natural beauty however would like to enhance our beauty without harming our bodies with toxins and chemicals. We also hope our urge to be beautiful does not contribute to the destruction of our environment. Zosimos Botanicals is in complete agreement and offers aesthetics with heart!

While Zosimos Botanicals products are all natural and refrain from using any synthetic chemicals they go one step further for the environment by powering their workshop with 100% wind power. This is an amazing accomplishment! Zosimos' cosmetics include everything from concealer to lip gloss all free of parabens or other toxins and all created without animal testing.

I had the opportunity to try Zosimos Botanicals matching lip liner and lip gloss in two refreshingly natural shades: Raspberry and Peony. I must admit one lip liner is often like any other to me but I felt fabulous applying the Zosimos Botanicals lip liner knowing it was safe to use, chemical free, and actually a perfect match to the accompanying lip gloss. While the Raspberry colour is rich and luxurious, peony is pink and delicate. I love both colours. I found the lip gloss to be light weight which I adored because I absolutely abhor feeling like my lips are coated in some greasy, unnatural, waxy layer! The gloss can be applied thinly for just a hint of colour or add more for a richer more vibrant colour, regardless it remains silky and light!

Zosimos Botanicals uses ingredients as organic beeswax, soybean, castor oil, raspberry flavour, sweet orange essential oil, castor wax, and Pomegranate oil to create lip gloss which is safe to use and produces beautiful results.

I am a believer in beauty products to enhance one's feeling of well being but I'm an even bigger believer in beauty products which are truly good for you! You can feel good and enhance your natural beauty by using Zosimos Botanicals and Zosimos and Northern Mama can help you get started! Zosimos Botanicals is offering one lucky Northern Mama reader a Zosimos Botanicals Lip liner and Lip Gloss Set {value $25}!
To Enter:
  • Visit Zosimos Botanicals and tell me which product you would like to try. {Required}
  • Non-blogger may also enter but please leave your email address with your comment.
To Entries:
  • Follow Northern Mama {through Google friends connect}
  • Subscribe via email
  • Grab my Button
  • Blog about this giveaway with a link back here {please leave me the link to your post}
{Please leave a separate comment for each entry}

Giveaway open to U.S. and Canadian residents. Giveaway closes October 14th 2009 10:00pm CT. Read Giveaway Rules for further details.

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A Little Nip and Tuck...Not me my blog silly!!

My regular readers may notice a bit of a change to my blog! Oh yes...I have had some work done! Not a facelift but a little nip and tuck might we say! Checkout my sidebars. And if you look down I now have a signature. Who do I have to thank? Thank you Jennisa of Once Upon a Blog {Design Shoppe}! Jennisa is fabulously easy to work with and has a very good eye! Many thanks now everyone ooooh and ahhh! Be sure to find Once Upon a Blog under my Blog Luv and at the bottom of my site.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Surf Sweets Organic Candy just in time for Halloween ~ Review and Giveaway

Halloween is fast approaching so candy is definitely on the minds of most kids young and old. My children are fanatical about candy perhaps it was because they had so little of it when they were younger. If my eldest daughter had her dream, candy would be the gift of choice for all occasions and every night should be Halloween! This candy obsession often makes me worry. Not only do I fear the abundance of sugar but all those artificial colours and flavours created using chemicals for which I am afraid to know the side effects! But let's face it, consuming candy is part of the fun of being a kid! How many times have we perused the candy store shelves and told our children, "I remember eating that one when I was a kid"? We actually attach meaning to the candy we enjoyed as children and our children may form similar long-lasting relationships with the candy they remember. Why not create those nostalgic moments with candy that not only tastes fantastic but is healthy?

Surf Sweets are organic and natural inspired by a day at the beach and riding the waves...the waves of natural flavour! My children are definite believers after devouring our test products. Surf Sweets are gummy snacks and jelly beans that appeal to the kid in all of us and the healthy ingredients appeal to every parents' adult side. Surf Sweets are a fabulous source of vitamin C and uses organic fruit juices and sweeteners. Vegan and vegetarian friendly, gluten, casein, corn syrup, GMO, and nut-free you won't find a candy which is better for your children--and you need not feel guilty pilfering one, or two for yourself!

Surf Sweets may be healthy but it certainly is not at the expense of flavour! My children were thrilled by the burst of flavour experienced in each gummy and Surf Sweet creators know the appeal fun shapes like bears and worms have for kids! My family enjoyed the large packs of Sour Worms and Gummy Swirls together at home but I reserved the smaller .9oz snack packs for my children's school lunch kits. The .9oz Sour Berry Bears and Gummy Bears were the perfect size for lunches and because they are organic and nut-free there were no worries! Looking for nut-free products for lunches is sometimes a challenge and as more and more schools promote healthy snacks Surf Sweets allows you to adhere to these guidelines without disappointing their children's spirited taste buds!

My children's favourites? The Sour Berry Bears! And mine? The Gummy Swirls which burst with natural orange flavour! Wondering what your family's favourites will be? One lucky Northern Mama reader will have the opportunity to learn their favourites when he/she wins a fabulous selection of Surf Treats and ride the wave of fresh fruit flavours with his/her family!
To Enter:
  • Visit Surf Sweets and tell me one retailer selling Surf Sweets and tell me the Surf Sweet you'd most like to try. {Required}
  • Non-bloggers may enter but please leave your email with your comment.

Extra Entries:

  • Follow Northern Mama
  • Subscribe via email
  • Grab My Button
  • Blog about this giveaway with a link back here. Please include the link to your post
{Leave a separate comment for each entry}

Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents. Giveaway closes October 14th 2009 10:00pm CT. For further details see General Giveaway Rules.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Girl Gotch...too cute to be boys' ;) ~Review and Giveaway!

Kids love underwear!! My kids would love to live in their underwear and nothing else but not just any underwear will due especially for my fickle five year old! The bunching and pinching and riding up of girl's undies in particular can leave your girl wondering why? Why must girls put up with the discomfort of dainty delicates? The Canadian designer of Girl Gotch, Rebecca, decided it was high time for a change! It was during a visit to her sister's that Rebecca discovered the benefits of "gotch". Rebecca's daughter had had an accident and required fresh undies so she borrowed her nephew's "gotch". What a difference!! Combining the comfort of boys' "Gotch" in the fun and brilliant colours girls love is what Girl Gotch is all about! Gotch, what a totally Canadian concept!

My girls are fickle about their underwear. They love to wear it but finding comfortable and quality panties is a struggle. Standard department store undies are sewn with thin exposed elastics that pinch or fray and there is never enough fabric. It leaves girls asking why? Why must I live in discomfort in cute panties...hey I think even women continue to ask this question!! When my girls slide into their Girl Gotch they slid into coziness! Girl Gotch is 95% cotton with a little spandex for stretch and fit. What I love most are the thick elastic waistbands. Thicker elastics stay put and do not "dig in". All elastics are bound in fabric so they are not exposed to pinch my girls' precious bottoms. I also found the sizing is much more true to form than those in the store. You need not buy bigger sizes for an appropriate fit. The size six fits my skinny 7 year old and a five would fit my five year old to a T! Girl Gotch comes in bright colours or in confident white. My daughters love the bright and vibrant colours and the adorable magnetic closure boxes Girl Gotch are packaged in. My daughters plan to use the boxes to store their treasures!

Girl Gotch comes in two great styles both of which provide much better coverage than panties cheek exposure with Girl Gotch! The briefs provide cozy fitted style and the boxers are great for under skirts and dresses, to use for sports, or to lounge around in on a lazy day at home. Like boys the new question for girls may now be "boxers or briefs"? Some girls may prefer the feel of boxers for everyday use! My daughters are spirited and active; From now on I don't want to watch my daughters stop what they are doing and try to discreetly tug at their undies! My girls will not forgo comfort and they will not forgo style because they wear Girl Gotch...too cute to be boys' ;)
Your daughters no longer have to put up with the pinching, bunching, improper fit of panties! One lucky Northern Mama reader will give a girl the gift of a Girl Gotch set of three in the colour and style of her choice!
To Enter:
  • Visit Girl Gotch and tell me what colour, size, and style you would pick if you won. {Required}
  • Non-bloggers may also enter but please leave your email address with your comment.

Extra Entries:

  • Be or Become a Northern Mama Follower
  • Subscribe via Email
  • Grab my Button
  • Blog about this contest with a link back here {please leave me the link to your post}{Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry}

Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents. Giveaway closes October 13th, 2009 10:00pm CT. Please read General Giveaway Rules for details.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Character Is The Key ~ Book Review

As most of my readers are aware I am a mommy of three. My children are not always easy to deal with nor simple to understand. I often refer to my children as demanding, strong-willed, and spirited. To be honest I've always felt that these are desirable personality traits but can make a parent such as myself frustrated and worn to a thread! My focus as a parent has always been to raise children with character, to be empathetic people of integrity, so when Mom Central offered me the opportunity to review a book meant to help parents build the character of their children and their family and unlock the best in their children and themselves I jumped at the opportunity!

The idea for Character Is The Key stemmed from author Sara Dimerman's desire to bring Ontario's character building school curriculum home:

The bottom-line reason for this book: without the participation of parents, the character education movement is lacking an essential element, and children are missing perhaps the most crucial factor in building their character, the one that can reach them "where they live".

Dimerman, a therapist and parent educator, is the director and founder of the Parent Education and Resource Centre in Ontario and has a syndicated column Help Me Sara in publications across Canada and the United States. Her experience is more than theoretical as she is a mother herself and has used the principles of Character Is the Key with her own family with great success! Who better to look to for advice and an action plan to develop your families' core values.

We are in a battle for the hearts and mind of our children. Today more than ever our children are being bombarded by outside influences. We are fighting the influence of media in the form of not only television and film but video games and Internet. Once our children start school and participate in other activities outside the home they become influenced by others. The fight to counter these influences seems daunting but if as parents we can instill in our children the core values we most strongly believe in we can unlock the best in our children. Sounds so theoretical and it is without a plan. We often rush through life and consider that our family life is working adequately. We assume that we are examples of good character our children can look to for guidance but we often forget to do this with intention. As parents we are the most influential models of behaviour for our children. Dimerman's book leads parents to look introspectively at their own behaviours and to concentrate on intentionally modelling our core values rather than continuing to teach character haphazardly.

Character Is The Key is easy to read and follow. The book is full of real life examples which make each step seem less overwhelming and the Short and Sweet summaries at the end of each chapter summarize the main points. Great for a quick review or refresher! I was most impressed by the hands on activities which accompany each character trait.

I had an enlightening parental moment as I read about the concept of parenting today for tomorrow. I have often commented on my daughters and their demanding natures. I have always felt that if directed properly this could hold them in good stead in the future and Dimerman believes this to be true. She says that parents are often frustrated with such characteristics as demanding, nosy, and bossy could in essence be equated with desired traits such as self-confidence, persistence, curiosity, and Independence. When we expect behaviours such as obedience and wanting to please we need to realize that these are not always the best traits in adults! How very ironic!

Character Is The Key lays the ground work for a family plan. Even if you feel you are well on your way to a family which focuses on character I think reading this book is a recipe for even greater success. The introduction of family meetings and the monthly focus on each of the values you cherish ensures the understanding of character and teaches your children to communicate in terms of a new vocabulary...a vocabulary of character! When you discuss respect or responsibility with your children do they truly understand what these terms mean? When I thought about it I realized I use these terms regularly but have never intentionally spent the time teaching my children the definitions of these words. After meetings with various family groups ten character traits were selected as core values to focus on. Character is the Key focuses on these traits: respect, honesty, fairness, courage, optimism, responsibility, empathy, initiative, perseverance, and integrity. Families may add to or subtract from this list as they see fit.

My children range in age from 5 to 9 years. Though I found the initial meeting worksheets a bit daunting for young children these meetings can be modified to suit your family and the activities created by Dynamix--a Canadian-based organization and a leader in team-building and character building activities for kids and teens--are easily implemented, fun, and provide children with concrete examples of what is meant by each character trait. They also double as great family bonding experiences!

Reading this book has definitely opened up new avenues of communication in our family. We were well on our way to a successful and happy family life but by intentionally following the family plan Dimerman presented we have been able to add a new dimension to our teaching of character. My husband and I are even more conscious of modelling character and I have actually decided to begin asking further questions of the school regarding their programming on character development. Dimerman mentions that perhaps asking about aspects of your child's character at parent-teacher interviews instead of focusing on academic questions could be a wonderful way to gain insights on another very important side of your child and their education. I plan to do just that!

Character Is The Key by Sara Dimerman opens a new dialogue and is a resource I would recommend to any family! As the title more than implies Character development education is an important key to our children becoming the people we hope they will be!

You can find Character is the Key at your local bookstore and online retailers such as McNally Robinson, (USA) and (Canada), and

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Last Song Winner!

Congratulations to Wanda, Carol, Wade, Fredamans, and Darcy O. You have all just won a copy of Nicholas Sparks' novel The Last Song! I'll be emailing you :)

Knuckleheads Rockabilly Shirt Giveaway!

Looking for clothing for boys in a market saturated with girl's wear? Mom's of boys know it is no small feat to find fashionable clothing for boys which stand out from the traditional! Knuckleheads is a family business that understands this struggle. Combining quality and fashion forward style Knuckleheads has the mom-of-boys' back!

Not only is Knuckleheads committed to providing the latest in boys fashions but they believe in doing it while maintaining a social conscience. As a member of the ICTI CARE Program they are ensuring ethical production standards so you can rest assured you are purchasing in a socially responsible way!

Knuckleheads is offering one lucky Northern Mama reader a Rockabilly snap shirt {$48 value} like the one pictured here {fabric pattern may vary}! The winner may choose the size!
To Enter:
  • Visit Knuckleheads and tell me your favourite clothing item. Also agree to allow Knuckleheads to add your email to their mailing list just by leaving me your email {Required}

Extra Entries:

  • Follow Northern Mama.
  • Subscribe via email
  • Grab my Button
  • Blog about this giveaway with a link back here {leave me the link to your post}

{Remember to leave separate comments for each entry}

Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents. Giveaway closes October 8th, 2009 10:00pm CT. Read the General Giveaway Rules for further details.

Wow! What a cool Deal of the Day!! Just had to share it :)
Imagiplay puzzles are on sale now for 52% off! ImagiPLAY has created high-quality educational toys that inspire children's imaginations and the desire to explore. They are natural, wooden, earth friendly toys!
Don't miss out on these unique and adorable Puzzles!
Get yours now! They will make AWESOME Christmas and Birthday Gifts!

Satch & Sol Winner!!

Wow! Number 1 out of all 45!! It's not often that happens :)
Congratulations to Arctic Teacher! You have just won a beautiful pair of warm wool felt slippers. I'll be emailing.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Obentec Laptop Lunches ~ Discount!!

Waste-free lunches are one of the most important parenting topics of the times! Environmental concerns are on the mind of more and more North Americans and Parents want to know how to instill a healthy love of environment in their children. As parents we also want to know what example we can provide and how we can incorporate eco-friendly practices into our everyday lives. Waste-free lunches is an easy way to meet all of these goals and as a bonus makes it easier to provide nutritional and healthier lunches to our children!

Mompreneurs, Tammy and Amy, were appalled by the waste kids' school lunches produced and by the poor nutritional value of the processed foods being tossed into lunches! They knew that for parents convenience often overrides healthy choices. Laptop Lunches were created with both health and convenience in mind! It's a lunch system! Instead of digging out containers from various sources and throwing this hodge-podge into a bag, Laptop Lunches are set up with the word meal in mind. small containers which nest in a large platter compartmentalize each meal element but allows you the parent to keep in mind that you are essential planning out a meal considering the food groups just as you would at supper hour!
Laptop Lunches offer phthalate and BPA-free, reusable, recyclable lunch kits, stainless steel drinking bottles and thermoses and great carrying cases for it all! Not just for kids, Laptop Lunches have a beautiful selection of lunch bags appealing to adults too!
Make your lunches easy, nutritious, and eco-friendly! Laptop Lunches by Obentec is making it even easier by providing Northern Mama readers with a 10% discount!! Just use the code: northernmama when ordering! And don't forget Laptop lunches when you consider your next school fundraiser!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with Hachette and Northern Mama!!

Started in 1968, Hispanic Heritage Month has been set aside in the United States to consider and celebrate the contributions of Hispanic Americans, their heritage, and culture! Hispanic Heritage Month is September 15th to October 15th and to commemorate these celebrations and to highlight exciting new literature by Hispanic writers Hachette Book Group is offering Northern Mama readers this amazing giveaway!!

This five book set features diverse titles! From a complete weight loss program that is taking the country by storm to novels of the highest caliber! This sparkling collection includes the following five titles:

Zumba® By Beto Perez , Maggie Greenwood-Robinson ISBN: 0446546127

Evenings at the Argentine Club By Julia Amante ISBN: 0446581623

Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz By Belinda Acosta ISBN: 044654051X

Tell Me Something True By Leila Cobo ISBN: 0446519367

Amigoland By Oscar Casares ISBN: 0316159697

For the publisher's descriptions please click on the titles! And look forward to reviews of some or all of these titles in the future here at Northern Mama.

Hachette would like to offer Five Northern Mama readers the Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month Book Set !! Yes, that's a five book set for five lucky winners!! Thank you Valerie at Hachette.

To Enter:

  • Follow or become a follower of Northern Mama {Required}
  • If you are not a blogger just sign up for a Google account then Follow!!

Extra Entries:

  • Subscribe via email
  • Grab my Button
  • Blog about this giveaway with a link back here and leave me the link to your post

Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents. Giveaway closes October 15th, 2009 10:00pm CT. For details read General Giveaway Rules.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Spooky Sentiments from Free Ecards ~ Review and Amazon Giveaway!

It's the haunting season and like all occasions we all want to share the ghostly spirit of the season but we don't want sharing our sentiments with family and friends to empty our pocketbook! Free Ecards are the environmental and economic answer you've been looking for. Free Ecards are uniquely designed, offer more options than you're average Ecard provider, and just as their name implies they are FREE.

This Halloween surprise your family and friends with a frightfully fabulous Halloween Ecards or keep the card giving tradition alive for those without email and send a free Printable Halloween Card! These Printable Halloween Card are fabulous for kids to give out in their classroom and add to the experience by printing out colouring cards. This provides your children with the opportunity to put their own mark on the cards they give and is a great creative activity! My children loved this! All Free Ecards printable cards and Ecards can be personalized with your own photos and text. You can even add your own voice to Free Ecards!

Don't just celebrate Halloween with Free Ecards but rather use their free service for all your special occasion needs. The latest craze has been to for go traditional Christmas cards in favour of Photo Cards. At Free Ecards you can print your own beautiful Photo Cards for birthdays, Christmas, or to just say thank you. So close your purse and boot up your computer to send your love, your thanks, or just your best wishes!
Free Ecards would love to show Northern Mama readers its appreciation for visiting the site and checking out the generous selection of Printable Halloween Cards! Free Ecards is offering one reader a $15.00 Gift Certificate for Amazon!
To Enter:

Extra Entries:

  • Follow Northern Mama
  • Subscribe via email
  • Grab my button
  • Blog about this giveaway and leave me the link to the post
Giveaway open to all. Giveaway closes October 4th, 2009 10:00pm CT. For further details see General Giveaway Rules.

The Murder of King Tut ~ The other James Patterson Review and Giveaway you've been Waiting For!

As an archaeologist I harbour a love and fascination of ancient societies and perhaps none is so revered by the general public than that of ancient Egypt. My primary field of study was that of Prehistory with a focus on North American prehistory but my university experience was diverse as are my interests and the allure of Egypt is enough to turn any archaeologist's head! When I saw the upcoming debut of The Murder of King Tut by James Patterson and Martin Dugard I knew I must review it!

Archaeologists are always cautioned against making wide speculations and assumptions. I remember one of my archaeology professors adding the book "Motel of the Mysteries" to our required reading--a humorous comic style book illustrating the perils of archaeologists' assumptions, deductions, speculations. One may find oneself sporting a toilet seat as a ceremonial necklace!

Despite such warnings it is in the nature and DNA of the archaeologist to take the facts and what they have learned from artifact recovery, and ancient texts in some circumstances, and create a story of excitement and adventure! One has to subjectively fill-in the blanks however! Sometimes this is accepted in archaeological circles but it often leads to much controversy if one's theories are less than guarded. James Patterson and Martin Dugard in writing The Murder of King Tut are lucky! They are not Egyptologist or archaeologists bound by this guardedness professional archaeologists have been burdened with. Professional credibility in Patterson's field is based on the telling of a great story and he has succeeded and will be exulted for it!
In The Murder of King Tut James Patterson has brought Egypt's 18th Dynasty to life for the non-Egyptologist and I dare say the Egyptologist would find it truly entertaining also. In the manner of a great storyteller James Patterson has succeeded in breathing life into the elements of everyday ancient Egyptian life, painting a picture of the ancient Egyptians as people--people ,the modern readers, can empathize with and understand.

The idea of Tut's tragic death as possible murder is not a new one. Bob Brier, Ph.D., Egyptologist, and mummy expert, wrote a book on this very subject in 1998 entitled "The Murder of Tutankhamen: A True Story" which outlined the available scientific, textual, and forensic evidence supporting this theory. In truth there is less to go on than there could be if the latest technology could be used to test Tutankhamen's mummy and internal organs today. The only forensic evidence that exists is anatomist Derry's violent examination of Tut and his publications, and Harrison's X-Rays from the 1960s. It must be noted that X-rays of mummified bodies are also very different from those of other subjects and require not only a medical radiologist's expertise but those of one knowledgeable in the mummification process to read them properly. But other evidence of foul play exists and could be interpreted in disparate ways! A Royal wife's desperate plea, a painting on the north wall of Tut's tomb, or perhaps even the absent representations of certain individuals...all very suspicious!

Having read Dr. Brier's book and his theories and conclusions I was fascinated by Patterson's interpretations which were similar in many regards and dissimilar to some degree in his conclusions. I would truly recommend reading both books to get a full understanding but admittedly James Patteron's and Martin Dugard's book is perhaps more entertaining! Patterson tells the story of the young Pharaoh, Howard Carter the archaeologist who spent his life in search of a virgin tomb undisturbed by grave robbers and the ravages of time, and himself James Patterson in search of a truth. He smoothly juxtaposes the present, past, and ancient past with seamless ease creating a suspense his books are famous for.
Did Patterson find the truth he was seeking? I believe he did whether I agree or disagree with his final conclusions! Want to know what my conclusions are? Oh, I'd love to tell you but it would spoil the ending! What I can say is I was impressed with Patterson and Deguard's extensive research though I found fault with one piece of the historic record--Nefertiti died or disappeared around 1335BC and most probably before her husband Akhenaten. A minor detail I suppose in the grand scheme of things!

If you enjoy a great true life who-dunnit and are as awestruck by the wonders of King Tut or just love a great tale The Murder of King Tut is a must read! Full of passion, and intrigue you will be gripped by this tragic story of a Boy King and his fatal end shrouded in mystery. And five of you Northern Mama Followers will be given the opportunity to decipher the tale for yourselves! Thank you to Miriam at Hachette Book Group for the 5 giveaway copies!

To Enter:
  • Follow Northern Mama {Required}
This giveaway open to US and Canadian residents. The giveaway closes October 4th, 2009, 10:00pm CT. For further details read General Giveaway rules.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Carolina Pad and Paper~Sasquatch Leaves Nothing but Tracks Why don't we? ~Review and Giveaway!

Are you someone who like me loves paper as much as you love trees? There is something so wholesome and sentimental about writing or typing on paper as opposed to sitting at a computer plunking away at a computer keyboard! I guess every writer has his/her quirks. I've heard of those who will write their novels using nothing but an old typwriter. I am a scribbler myself and fill notebooks, journals, and skeens of paper with my ramblings {though blogging has changed that to some extent}. I am also a lover of trees however and have become extremely conscious of what materials my writing products are made from. Carolina Pad understands this dilema and has made life a little easier for those of us who still enjoy the tactile delight of pencil to paper but would love to sit under the trees in a healthy wood while writing...
Sasquatch is a fabulous eco-friendly line of paper products including spiral notebooks, journals, and report folders all made from mostly recycled paper and designed in natural colours and patterns sure to please! The concept? Be like a Sasquatch and leave nothing but other evidence of your existence and influence on nature! Sasquatch lives off the land using only what he needs! What a great way to think about our relationship with the environment and what a fun way to motivate children to be kindly to the earth!

What does Sasquatch mean by leaving TRACKS?
T ell your friends, family, and teacher
R ecycle, reduce, and reuse
A ct now to protect the environment
C lean air, clean water, clean life
K eep your parents aware of what you’re doing
S et an example to your friends and family by living like Sasquatch!

To learn more about Sasquatch and how you can live a greener lifestyle be sure to visit: Sasquatch: Leave nothing but Tracks

Carolina Pad and Paper sent me a beautiful five piece set of Sasquatch products to try and I was very happy with them all. Carolina Pad takes to time to design products with the consumer's needs in mind. The Sasquatch notebooks are 100% recycled and include the dividers with pockets to keep you completely organized. To keep you thinking or if you are caught in a very dull class or boring meeting hidden on the back cover is a crossword or word search puzzle great for a subtle escape, or just peruse the cover looking for Sasquatch...where could he be hiding? It's these personal finishing touches which make Carolina Pad designs stand out from all others!
I also received a fabulous 60% recycled hard cover journal perfect for a writer like myself or anyone who loves to journal. The pages are edged in green, each printed with a delicate leaf design providing a hint of serenity and inspiration! Finally, the report folder I received is made of 80% recycled paper and is durable. The folder is three-hole punched so it can be conveniently stored in a binder. I am a life long student and writer so Carolina Pad and Paper know just what I'm looking for! They know how to satisfy those who "Treasure paper as much as they Treasure trees"!

Do you treasure paper and trees? Carolina Pad is offering a Sasquatch Notepad Set to one Northern Mama reader!!
To Enter:
  • Visit Carolina Pad and tell me what your favourite product or line is {Required}
  • Non-bloggers may also enter but please leave me your email address so I can contact you if you win!

Extra Entries:

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

{Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry!!}

Giveaway open to U.S. and Canadian residents. Giveaway closes October 2, 2009 by 10:00pm CT. Winner will be selected using See General Giveaway Rules for details.

The Latest Suzuki Foundation Newsletter Rethinking Garbage

This is the latest article from the David Suzuki Foundation. I don't share them all but there are many that I think pertain to everyone's struggle for a better environment!
It’s Time to Rethink Our Approach to Garbage
By David Suzuki with Faisal Moola
In Mexico City, politicians recently banned the ubiquitous plastic bags that citizens use for everything from groceries to soft drinks. But that will only go part way to reducing the 12,000 tonnes of garbage the city produces every day. Only six per cent of Mexico City’s garbage gets recycled now, but the government has an ambitious plan to recycle, compost, or burn for energy 85 per cent of it by 2013.
Mexico City’s waste-management situation illustrates the importance of the three Rs: reduce, reuse, and recycle. And we should add another R: rethink. People in Canada are getting better at this, but we can do more. We recycle just over 20 per cent of our garbage. And, according to Stats Canada, each of us produced an average of 837 kilograms of non-hazardous solid waste in 2006. That’s a lot of garbage going to the landfill, and it’s a lot of resources and energy being wasted. Some European countries, such as Austria and Switzerland, are now recycling more than half their wastes, so there’s a lot of room for improvement.
After all, whatever we throw away represents a waste of resources and money – not to mention time.
Beyond the waste problem itself, landfills produce about one quarter of Canada’s methane emissions – and methane is a greenhouse gas more powerful than carbon dioxide. Some cities are now capturing that methane to burn for energy rather than allowing it to escape into the atmosphere.
Reducing the amount of trash we create in the first place is the best place to start tackling our waste-management problems. Not only does it mean we send less waste to the landfill, it also means we use fewer resources and less energy – as it takes energy to produce and transport packaging and disposable items.
Every day, more people, stores, and cities are finding ways to cut down on use of disposable plastic bags, but we still create a lot of unnecessary packaging and products. Planned obsolescence – the absurd practice of producing goods that won’t last so that the consumer cycle can continue – is still very much with us. We can all avoid buying products that are over-packaged or that are “disposable” – and encourage producers to be more responsible. When we consumers take the time to let stores, businesses, and governments know that we want less packaging and that we want goods that last, we will make a difference. Our changing attitude about plastic bags is a perfect example.
Reusing offers opportunities to get creative. People have always re-tailored clothes to give them new life. Think of the other ways you can use products that no longer function in their intended role. But reusing is an area where some difficulties arise, especially on a larger scale. Reusing waste by converting it to energy is a growing trend. The most common method is burning the garbage and using the heat to produce energy. Although the technology is improving, it still has its problems; burning waste creates emissions, for one. Other methods are also being explored, including breaking down the waste with microorganisms to produce methane and carbon dioxide for biogas.
Recycling is one of the first things that come to mind when we think of waste reduction. Most of us urban Canadians dutifully take our paper, plastic, and bottles and cans to the blue box recycling bins. Again, if we use fewer products that must be thrown away, we’ll have less stuff to recycle and send to landfills. But we should all be aware that our efforts to recycle are not in vain. If we work to ensure that our communities, schools, and workplaces have good recycling and composting programs and that producers and retailers take responsibility for their products, and if we all improve our own efforts to recycle, we will reduce our need for landfills.
Individual action is important, but legislated solutions are also effective. In Switzerland, people buy stickers that they have to attach to garbage before it is picked up. The more garbage you put out, the more you have to pay. Switzerland now has the highest rate of recycling in the world.
We can all do our part as citizens, but as can be seen in Mexico City and Switzerland, a push by governments can go a long way to creating the kind of large-scale change needed to get our waste-management problem under control.

The Deal of the Day from Baby Half Off!

This is straight from an email sent by Baby Half Off. They have Deals of the Day I thought I'd share for all of you still with babes in your arms!!
Hello!Looking for the Perfect Nursing Cover? This may be the Answer!The Mommy Cover By Joia is now on sale at Baby Half Off for 53% off!

This nursing cover is great because it not only totally conceals baby, its retractable reel system makes for a custom fit around mom's back. Unlike other nursing covers, there aren't any loose sides flapping in the wind - everything is totally concealed. It's built to be tug proof, wind proof and even onlooker sneak-a-peak proof. The only one that will be able to see your beautiful babe nursing is you! Isn't that how it's supposed to be when you're out?Makes the perfect gift for a pregnant or new mom.The Mommy Cover's Features:RETRACTABLE reel system keeps mom covered Reversible; two trendy prints, one great cover Soft, silky neck strap provides style and comfort Rigid but flexible neckline Machine washable Proudly made in the USA

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Palace of Strange Girls ~ Book Review and Giveaway!

It was the summer of 1959. The war was in the past, Bobby Darin was on the radio, and change was in the air...

Set in the 1950s at a British seaside resort The Palace of Strange Girls portrays an economic atmosphere very familiar to the economic climate of today. The seaside resort of Blackpool, England is the vacation spot of blue collar cotton mill workers like Jack Singleton.

The Singleton family is on vacation but have not taken a holiday from the secrets, desires, and delusions which are the reality yet hidden in the shadows of their everyday lives. Jack's wife Ruth yearns for a modern kitchen and a bigger home--if only Jack made more money--but her most fervent wish is for her youngest daughter, Beth, to be healthy. Jack struggles with the decision to accept a new position but other secrets, and his longing for a different life force him to question the decisions of the past and question where his future will lead. Jack and Ruth's teenage daughter Helen rebels against the confines of her mother's strict rules and overbearing mothering but learns that longing and desire can often lead to heartache and danger. While Beth grapples with illness all she really wants is to belong.

Beth spends her holiday attempting to complete her I-Spy at the seaside book which reveals more hidden secrets and wonders than its literal meaning intends. Beth's I-Spy book acts as a guide to the inner workings of the characters, distraught with their mistakes, decisions, and lot in life. Beth finds her solace not only in her I-Spy book but at the Palace of Strange Girls. She realizes here she is not an oddity with her scars but rather her scars here make her special and give her power in a powerless life.

"Now it's time to say good-bye children! Our I-Spy adventure together has finally come to an end. Big Chief I-Spy hopes that you've enjoyed I-Spy at the Seaside and you've discovered lots of things that you never knew before!"(Day 2009:320)
The Palace of Strange Girls, Sallie Day's first novel, is brimming with evocative characters! I found myself feeling sympathy for the plights of each character as they displayed purely human fallibility, weakness, desire, and delusion. It is our secrets and desires that can fulfill us or destroy us! The winds of change blow into Blackpool for the Singleton family and their vacation's end marks a metamorphosis of individuals and family!
Deftly written and emotionally touching The Palace of Strange Girls is a uniquely crafted story which is reminiscently familiar because it is a story of human emotions we all share and understand!
Five lucky Northern Mama readers will have the opportunity to be moved by this, the story of one family on a transformative holiday of self-discovery!
To Enter:
  • Follow Northern Mama or become a follower {Required}

Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents. Giveaway closed October 1st 2009, 10:00pm CT. For further giveaway details read the General Giveaway Rules.

Some Great Films from The National Film Board of Canada

As a former resident of Canada's Arctic I am always looking for great Arctic films and films related to such interests. I subscribe to the National Film Board of Canada newsletter via email and included in their most recent email was a film entitled: Finding Farley {link to trailer!} .
I think most Canadians will be well aware of which "Farley" they are referring to--Canada's greatest environmental and "all-things-Canadian" storyteller, Farley Mowat!

I grew up on the tales of Farley Mowat! My mother is a true admirer of his humourous and exaggerated writings and I easily slipped into this same admiration. After moving to the Arctic I became most enamored by his works about the Canadian Arctic its animals and its people. If you haven't already read such works as: Never Cry Wolf, The Snow Walker, People of the Deer, and Walking on the Land--just to name a few of his arctic titles--I invite you to pick-up one very soon! I was thrilled when my son read Owls in the Family in his third grade class last year and I hope to introduce him to Lost in the Barrens, and Two Against the North shortly. I don't believe any Canadian should go a lifetime without reading at least one Farley Mowat story cover to cover {and if you are not Canadian reading Farley Mowat may give you some new insights into our quirky Canadian culture}!

Finding Farley's creators, Leanne Allison and Karsten Heuer, take delving into Farley Mowat's life work a little more seriously by travelling accross Canada by canoe from their west coast home to Mowat's east coast sanctuary!
Here's the film board announcement:

The World Premiere of Finding Farley at the Vancouver International Film Festival
Finding Farley follows Leanne Allison and Karsten Heuer's (Being Caribou) journey from Calgary to Cape Breton to retrace Farley Mowat's literary footsteps from Owls in the Family to People of the Deer. The film will have its world premiere at the 2009 Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF).
VIFF runs from October 1–16. For more information, visit the festival's website or our VIFF festival page.
Perhaps it was this letter from Farley Mowat himself that provoked this wild endeavour....the journey accross Canada in a canoe with their two year old!!
Leanne Allison and Karsten Heuer had just created the film Being Caribou {also a fabulous film enticing one to be this one of the north's most significant animals}. To see Farley's letter and learn more about Leanne and Karsten's journey visit: Finding Farley {their website}

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A New Phase in Stay-At-Home-Motherhood!

As I bent over to tie my well-worn running shoe after donning my dismally out-of-date running gear I took a second glance around me. I was waiting to hear the crying protests, the requests for food, games, tv, or a catastrophic crash signally a mom emergency I must rush to attend, instead I was met with silence!! Yes, pure, inaudible, unadulterated silence!! Though my children started school last week and my youngest has commenced her first year of school today was the first day in 9 years I've experienced without children {alright I husband and I did escape for one overnight trip during those 9 years and it isn't entirely true the day will be without kids since they will be home at 3:30 and they came home for lunch}. My husband is working, my children are at school and I am entirely alone!

This exciting development is almost unfathomable! I admit I was completely overwhelmed this morning with thoughts of how to spend this glorious day and now I am gazing at the clock having done very few of those planned activities and my day to myself is drawing to a close. I spent the morning lounging on the deck finishing the next book for review, after hurriedly stuffing my children with lunch and pushing them back out the door to return to school I decided it was time to finally make room for exercise beyond the helter-skelter pilates, and yoga video routines which are undoubtedly always being interrupted by a multitude of demands. I hitched the leash to our old lady Malamute, Aleutia, and off we flew down our back-country side road ready to transform ourselves from untoned lumps into stunning.....well--to be brutally honest--sweaty, breathless, limping, jello-legged, and pathetic, untoned and exhausted lumps. It was only our first attempt { I haven't jogged in several months and I haven't jogged regularly for years}. I am proud to say I actually made out better than my dog who had to practically be dragged home in the heat.

My world is certainly changing. I am still not sure what to make of this new chapter in my life. I have applied to substitute teach but with my youngest only attending school every other day, my husband's work schedule being crazy and unpredictable, and living out in the country working a regular job seems far too complicated. I would love to take courses or go back to school but the expense...and the thoughts of another student loan seem frightening and daunting. What will I do next? Where will my path lead from here? I don't think I am the only SAHM to ask these questions and to struggle with re-entering education or the workforce. After such a long stint at home so many fears are realized: Can I still do all the work I did before becoming a stay at home mom, or have my skills been dulled? Will employers even give me a second glance when they see the "gaps" in my resume? Am I still as confident as I once was? I am still struggling to answer these questions but in the meantime I think I will settle in to enjoy my last half hour of freedom for the day and prepare for the chaos when my three children walk through that door, school bags in hand, demands to be made, and stories to tell!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Artist on the Edge!! Dyan Marie

I have been anticipating diving into this post for some time and I finally decided I just had to introduce my readers to Dyan Marie. My husband's aunt, Dyan Marie, is an incredibly innovative and gifted artist whom I've personally admired for many years. What inspires me most? Her art straddles art and activism while effectively embodying both! She is on the edge!Dyan Marie uses her art as a tool for social change and social awareness in a way that is unique, powerful, and provocative. A resident of Toronto, the epitome of Canadian urban settings, Dyan Marie has applied the grassroots concept of community activism to the sprawling city streets which form for her neighbourhood, and home!

My favourite of Dyan Marie's exhibitions over the last few years is that of the "Vine People". This experiment in transformative public art, fraught with symbolism marked "areas of Concern" in the city's Bloor-Lansdowne-Dupont area. For those of you unfamiliar with Toronto this area is known for its perilous nature. Dyan Marie called her "Vine People" ambassadors. The vine people images are inspired by the local flora of Poison Ivy, and weeds--beautiful in there own right and meant to transform crack houses, contaminated lands, and other signs of despair on her cities streets into areas of hope. They are meant to be ambassadors of what could be, of possibilities. Greening a community takes on a whole new meaning and Dyan Marie does not take this lightly but rather tackles this task head-on with in-your-face images approaching graffiti art! You must view her Vine People You-Tube videoclip {performance art if you will}!

This year's exhibit entitle Transmissions poses the question "Where does my body end?" Though I have not discussed with her these images and the meaning behind them, to me they represent the way we as humans exhibit a need to fill our environment; how our existence fills and inevitably effects the world around us; and perhaps symbolize our connections to a world beyond ourselves. Okay, I am a true novice at art interpretation! All I know is that her images excite emotions in me and a passion to make a difference!

Please Visit: Dyan Marie.

Images are from Dyan Marie's website.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sand Sharks Winners!

Congratulations to the winners of Sand Sharks: Belinda M., Elissa R., Jaime, Flowerchild, and Heather!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Fabulous Article Ahead of It's Time ~ Or maybe just back to traditional basics!

As an educator and parent I have long believed that the best learning does not always occur in a classroom! Teaching in the remote arctic communities of Canada I learned a great many things from the people I was there to educate. Though I was always a girl of the outdoors and the natural world it was the Inuit of the Canadian arctic who truly instilled in me the significance and value of outdoor education. Immersed in a culture still so intimately linked to it's environment one senses the innate relevance of nature that we all should share and embrace! Is this a new teaching concept? No in reality this dome of sky, forest, land, and sea is the most ancient of classrooms one that for a time has been given less attention.
Parenting in a rural community housing a very small school without a gym within its four walls, we are lucky that the teachers are perhaps forced into the great outdoors for physical education and have started to see the wealth of knowledge to be gained outside the school building yet experiencing nature and all it has to offer is a remarkable gift and educational opportunity which parents and family can bestow! This is why our family spends countless hours walking, biking and camping. Camping trips for us are filled with wonders! From catching tiny lake creatures to talking about the plants we see hiking woodland trails, exploring together and discovering together the secrets mother nature inevitably reveals is a cathartic and most memorable shared experience!
It was a recent David Suzuki Foundation Email featuring a 1956 magazine article, “Help Your Child to Wonder” by the now renowned Rachel Carson which inspired me to write this post expounding the value of outdoors education!
I believe, as did Rachel Carson, introducing your child the these wonders at a young age is an invaluable parenting tool instilling the values of stewardship and environmentalism, but also self-reliance, safety and survival skills, innovations, curiosity, and invention! It is also a great motivational tool for further research, study , and interest development. I am lucky to have a husband well versed in plant, bird, and animal knowledge {he was a biology major in university} and I must admit that I am not completely without similar knowledge. As we hike the trails of our National and Provincial parks we often stop to examine plants, many my children have pointed out, curious, and eager for information. I find children are like sponges when they are in an environment which offers so much fodder for the imagination! We have answers to some of their inquiries but often we have to pull out the plant book or ask others. This makes it a true learning activity for the entire family and one which enriches us all!
Here are a few tips to help enrich your family's relationship with nature and build your child's sense of wonder:
  • Take regular walks and hikes {or if you prefer bike rides~but be sure to make stops along your route}. This could be a great evening or weekend activity or even set aside the same time each week for such an excursion.

  • Though there are probably many wonders just outside your front door vary the experience by taking day trips, camping excursions, or trips to the shore. Research what trails, beaches, and parklands are near you!

  • Invest in field manuals on flora and fauna of the region. Books on plants, birds, animals, and even animal tracks are great resources and are often published in handy compact or pocket sized editions {Peterson's and Smithsonian guides are excellent and comprehensive, though often pricey they are worth their weight in gold}.

  • For younger children or those with less walking experience choose shorter hikes with easier terrain but be sure to gradually increase the difficulty of hikes to provide more exciting experiences and challenges. Older children if conditioned to hiking feel a sense of accomplishment by completing more challenging ventures.

  • Be aware of possible natural hazards and safety concerns of the area you are exploring i.e. wildlife concerns such as bears, knowing poisonous plants such as poison ivy, and avoiding the consumption of unknown berries etc. These are important to teach your children and you would be amazed at how diligent they will be with the responsibility of using this knowledge effectively.

  • Though it is wonderful to collect natural things and create collections of these fascinating treasures be sure to follow the rules and guidelines of the parks you are exploring and always consider stewardship and how your actions effect the environment. Preserving leaves and flowers by pressing them, keeping rocks, shells, and cones/seeds in containers divided into small compartments is great for further inspection and research! Rubbings of bark, leaves, and seeds are also fun.

  • Cameras are great for collecting memories of nature. With the invention of digital cameras children can take as many photos as they wish of flora and fauna they encounter without the cost of developing. My children love their personal digital cameras! Digital photos of plants can be a great aid for looking up and comparing information on the Internet.

  • If you are limited to your yard bird feeders are wonderful for introducing birds to your yard and allowing children to see them up close. Vary the types pf feeders and seed to attract varies bird species.

  • Nature scavenger hunts are a great activity both at home or on outdoor trips. See my crafty ideas post on creating your own laminated travelling scavenger hunt card set!

  • Nets and buckets for beach and shoreline excursions, bug collecting cages/jars and butterfly nets are great for temporary collection of living creatures to inspect up close. Small microscopes, magnifying boxes and magnifying glasses help children gain an up-close view of fascinating small water and land creatures!Remember that most children possess an instinctual curiosity and interest in the world which surrounds them. Let your children direct your inquiry of discovery. Do not set out with an agenda but rather with the mind set to explore together as friends. Don't be afraid to admit that you too have things to learn and above all enjoy yourselves!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Celebrate Grandparents Day {Sept. 14th} with the gift of Your Voice!

Grandparents are a precious commodity and to grandparents their grandchildren are priceless! Grandparents' Day is September 14th and is the perfect time to celebrate this invalueable relationship!

My husband and I have lived across the country from our parents for more than a decade. It's sometimes difficult but we grew used to the geographical separation and compensated with emails, long distance phone calls, pictures, videos, and parcels. Visits became less and less frequent as our family grew. Flights for a family of five are not cheap and the thought of travelling so far with three young children is not terribly appealing! But it was after having children that the distance had become more difficult. The grandparents ache to be involved in their grandchildrens' lives and as the children grow older they start to feel the void somewhat more {as parents the idea of the odd night-on-the-town while the kids are securely tucked in at grandma's and grandpa's also sounds tempting}.

We enjoy our family life however and our freedom to roam and always look for new and innovative ways to allow our children to find connections with their grandparents and close the gap distance can create. has a simple way to achieve this momentously important goal! Your Voice is a free service which allows you to record an audio message and then send it by email to that special someone. Why not just pick up the phone and call directly you ask? The benefit to Your Voice is that the recipients can play the message over and over whenever they wish! This is an especially precious gift to a grandparent separated from grandchildren. It is the intimate gift of hearing their grandchild's voice when they need it most!

The best gift you and your children can give on Grandparents' Day is the gift of yourselves and Your Voice provides you with a unique and FREE way to express your love!

My children and I tested this service and were thrilled by the results. My in-laws were the lucky recipients {my parents no longer have Internet}. We decided to make one recording in which each of my three children related a story of his/her favourite memory of time spent with grandma and grandpa.

This is Our Recording {just click play}!

Because my children are quite young and this was a new experience I had to feed them their lines so there are quite a few pauses but over all I'd say it was a success because here is what grandma wrote in response:

"We really did enjoy hearing the kids. There messages to us were wonderful. We could understand every word. Their messages brought tears to my eyes."
Love Mom

What more can you ask for? You may also listen to your own message before saving it and when you send your message Your Voice will also email you a copy. My children loved listening to their message. It's exciting for them to hear their own voice and know that grandma and grandpa will hear it too!

Your Voice also allows grandparents the opportunity to send love and words of wisdom to their grandchildren. Grandparents can share stories and memories with their grandchildren which can be stored and played again and again!
Sound technical and complicated? and Your Voice makes it easy as 1,2,3!
Step 1: Call the service phone number and enter your personal code.
Step 2: Follow the instructions to record and save your recording
Step3: Send your message by email
More and more grandparents are computer and Internet savvy today and
provides grandparents with amazing resources to nourish their relationship with their grandchildren! Join today and celebrate the riches of family!