Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Nightmare!!

I just woke up from a terrible nightmare!! Have you ever had those horrific dreams when everyone you love, trust and care about either betrays you in the worst ways possible and/or are taken away from you? I rarely have nightmares and when I do they always involve just this--total loss and betrayal. Obviously my greatest fears or at the very least the worst things I can imagine ever happening!

I wake from these dreams with the feeling that I have swallowed an enormous pebble which sits in the pit of my stomach. It rocks back and forth at nauseam and every once in a while sets off shock waves of panic. I now know the stress I am feeling is effecting me even while I sleep. I’ve tried telling myself not to worry, not to let my nerves get the upper hand. Through the day I work hard to keep myself busy, preparing the house for sale, cleaning and painting but it’s easier to tell yourself to stay calm than to listen to your own advice!!

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Be careful who you challenge to a fight…you might wind up fighting a champion! When Carly jokingly trash talks teen fighting champion Shelby Marx and unwittingly challenges her to a fight Carly soon gets more than she bargained for! iCarly: ifight Shelby Marx , a television movie, is now the DVD of choice in my household. It has been an eternity since one movie has been replayed this often and by all three of my children! My children rave about this movie in which Carly prepares for the fight of her life--or perhaps will be fighting for her life--with the help of her friends!

iCarly is a Nickelodeon hit television show about a young teen and her friends who create and produce the web show iCarly.com. If you haven’t heard then where have you been? This is the top rated show for kids 2-11! Yes, two to eleven and not only does its appeal extend across age groups it also knows no gender boundaries. iCarly is a favourite for boys and girls of all ages and my children are the perfect example of the iCarly fan range.

I only recently learned the impact of the iCarly phenomenon. I knew my girls ages 5 and 7 watched the show regularly, and yes my son watched but I thought this was possibly only for the sake of his sisters. I was talking to a friend and soon learned that iCarly was the favourite program of her two boys 6 and 8. It was then that I discovered the wide, boundary crossing appeal was truly genius. What makes this show so popular? I believe it is a combination of the zany antics complete with verbal zingers and slap-stick humour, and the contemporary context of a computer show and tweens just dealing with the dilemmas and frustrations of everyday life--school, family, growing up, and creating! A show within a show, the concept is fresh, fun, and the definite wave of a new era. Hilarious, goofy, and computer oriented it is exactly what kids are currently looking for in television viewing.

While the real excitement from this DVD will be generated by the feature movie iCarly: ifight Shelby Marx Paramount Home Entertainment has even more to offer the truly iCarly crazed! This DVD includes a second television movie special: idate a Bad Boy and two more bonus iCarly episodes. Special features of this sure-to-be-popular DVD: exclusive behind-the-scenes extras and the Pilot Episode of Big Time Rush.

If you are looking for a DVD your kids will probably never become bored with--hey, maybe to top up that Easter basket this weekend-- iCarly: ifight Shelby Marx which just hit store shelves yesterday is a great choice!

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right Book Review and Give Away


Author: Joanna Dolgoff, MD
Format: Paperback
Pages: 254
Publisher: Rodale Books
Published: (2010)
List Price: $21.99US/$25.99CAN







If you have kids, then you need this book! It is a valuable resource guide for parents to learn and to teach their children how to choose a healthier lifestyle for themselves. We, as parents, teach our kids their habits for life. We try to teach them the difference between good and bad, right and wrong, but we also need to teach them how to make healthy lifestyle choices. If we show our kids that exercise and good eating habits will not only make us look good but feel good and keep us healthy at a young age, then our children will be empowered with this knowledge and have the ability to make these important choices over a lifetime.

Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right is written by a Pediatrician who specializes in childhood obesity. But don't let that trick you, this book is not just for overweight kids and teens, it is for skinny kids too. That's right, just because your kid may be skinny does not necessarily mean that they are healthy.

As the title would suggest, the weight loss and healthy eating plans in this book are based around a traffic light system, which is easy for children to follow. Green foods are "go" foods that have a lot of nutrient value, are lower in calories and fat, and contain protein and fibre (i.e. chicken and brown rice).Yellow foods are "slow" foods that are moderately high in calories, with slightly more fat but yet still provide nutrient value. These foods should be eaten in moderation (i.e. granola bars and chicken nuggets). Red foods are "uh-oh" foods or treats that should only be eaten 2 times a week. They are high in calories, fat and sugar, and unfortunately do not provide much in the way of nutritional value(i.e. cake and fried chicken).

Kids on these plans should eat every 3-4 hours, thereby incorporating 3 meals and 2 snacks every day. By eating smaller portions throughout the day your child will increase their metabolism and burn more calories. Each child will eat a specific number of green foods at each meal and snack based on their age, gender and BMI (Body Mass Index).
Now, you may be asking yourself how you are suppose to teach a small child all of that?! Dr. Dolgoff includes many strategies to do just that in her book. One idea is for you and your child to color code your foods in the pantry and the fridge with green, yellow and red stickers, making it easy for a child to know what foods he/she is choosing. She also includes an appendix at the back of the book loaded with more than 1000 foods that have been color coded with appropriate serving sizes.There are also tons of recipes in the book for snack and meal choices. You can go through all of these with your child and highlight the ones they would like to try.

Here is one of my kids favorite snacks that we made from the book:
Bugs On A Log


My Kids love to create and eat their own healthy foods. My son Keegan was so impressed with this snack idea that he eagerly grabbed the book searching for other great healthy food recipes. He discovered the "Banana Dog" and said we should definitely make this for dad's breakfast in the near future!


While healthy eating choices are an important component to weight loss and good health, so too is exercise. In the later portion of the book Dr. Dolgoff writes about many aspects of exercise and how to motivate your kids to do it. I was surprised to find out that children need 60 minutes of vigorous exercise almost every day of the week. However this does not need to be consecutively, it can be done intermittently throughout the day and can include such fun activities as dance and exergaming ( the use of interactive video games like Wii fit).

In short, this book is a safe, standardized weight lose program boasting a 96% success rate, loaded with strategic and motivational ways to help you and your children build a healthy lifestyle together!

Dr. Dolgoff has made it clear that she wants to help people achieve these goals, by building a pediatric weight loss clinic, and writing this book. She would also like to help one of our Northern Mama readers by giving one of you a copy of Red Light Green Light Eat Right.

To Enter:
  • Visit Dr. Dolgoff's Web Site at DrDolgoff.com and tell me something you learned that I did not talk about in my review. (REQUIRED) and don't forget to leave email address with your comment if you are not a blogger.

Extra Entries:

  • Be a Northern Mama Follower (google)
  • Be a Northern Mama Facebook Fan
  • Subscribe to Northern Mama via google
  • Grab my button
  • Follow on Twitter @ Northernmama35 and tweet about this give away 1x per day
  • Blog about this give away with a link back here (leave me your post link)

Giveaway open to Canadian and American Residents. Giveaway closes on April 13th, 2010. Read Giveaway rules for further details.

NIKKI

Monday, March 29, 2010

Winners!!

Winner of Building Character:

Congrats to Misfit Mommy Missy:) Yay!


Winner of Yo Gabba Gabba Birthday Boogie DVD:


Congrats to Tannie's Chatter!




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"City of Night" by Michelle West

City of Night is the second novel written by Michelle West in The House War series, which is shaping up to be a four book series. I say shaping up, as West's Sun Sword series was originally planned as a duology but ended up taking six publications to complete. Once again, I am reading an author for the first time, and very quickly became trapped by the world she has created around her Essalieyan Empire.

As described on the inner front jacket, West opened our eyes to this fantasy universe in 1995 with her duology Sacred Hunt. From what I can gather, The House War series is the story behind one of the main characters in The Sun Sword series, Jewel Markess.

In City of Night, Jewel (or Jay) to her friends is the head of a 'Den' of 10 youths in the Essalieyan's capital city Averalaan. This den, which struggles within the holdings of Averalaan-- and the hidden city below its streets--to eek out a survival is thrust into the house wars of the ruling powers of Essalieyan.

West does an artful job of building the path between the urchins of Jay's den to their eventual introduction into the upper echelons of Averalaan. As this is accomplished, the universe she has created is revealed in extremely rich detail. This is not only accomplished in the physical realm, but also in the exquisite detail she puts into developing her characters and the complex social structure of the societies they interact with.

As I began to read this novel, I did not have the benefit of being previously introduced to the various characters and beings of the Essalieyan realm. For me, the story began slowly as I tried to understand who the characters were and how they fit into the overall scheme of things. While doing this though, I came to appreciate the Tolkeinesque detail that was being poured into this book. I enjoyed learning about Averalaan, and exploring the niceties and defining behaviours of the various classes making up this city. By the end though, I was reading at a fevered pitch and could not wait to see where Jewel and the survivors of her Den would end up. After all, children are disppearing from the holdings of Averalaan, and Mages of the Order of Knowledge are all entangled in the battle with a nearly unstoppable foe.

West has captured my interest with her writing with the same sort of snare that J.R.R. Tolkein and Robert Jordan and will perhaps be one of the next Greats of fantasy fiction!
Eager to read? Penguin Canada is offering one lucky Canadian Northern Mama reader a copy of City of Night by Michelle West!
To Enter:
  • Be a Northern Mama Follower {Google} OR a Northern Mama Facebook Fan {Required}

Extra Entries:

  • Subscribe via email
  • Grab my Button
  • Follow on Twitter @Northernmama35 and tweet about this giveaway {1x daily}
  • Blog about this giveaway with a link back here {please leave the link to your post}

Giveaway open to Canadian residents only {sorry publisher's request}. Giveaway closes April 14th, 2010, midnight EST. Read Giveaway Rules for details.

TOM

Life According to Angela~Update of my latest Life Adventures!

I'm used to a life filled with the unexpected and the exciting drama of living each day as a learning adventure but the latest life turn has me in a tailspin!

I have never been the most patient individual. I get an idea, make a life decision it is then time to implement it...no sitting around! Unfortunately, the nature of my husband's career can often take the control we have over our own lives and leave us waiting anxiously with our hands tied. How to explain?

My husband has a career which will require us to transfer every so many years. This past fall my husband received paper work asking if we would accept a transfer. After deliberating briefly we knew we were ready to accept the transfer and the idea of moving took hold. There was no rush of excitement. There were no arrangements to be made. We knew the final paperwork telling us our transfer was granted would not arrive until Spring. After Christmas I realized I had a long road de-cluttering and downsizing for the move so the last several months I have spent my time desperately weeding out items to donate and shedding unnecessary extras, making small home repairs and trying to live life as usual.

Now that spring is here and April 1st is supposed to be the day transfers are announced this week has been the longest I can remember! The wait has been exacerbated by so many unknowns and frustrations. The government organization which employs my hubby is one brimming with policies, including regarding the removal benefits. We have to sell our house before we can go on a house hunting trip and we are not allowed to put our house on the market until we receive the go ahead {or we forfeit the benefits the organization can offer! This would be frustrating enough but the kicker is we may have a buyer lined up and we can't even show her the house yet.

Someone contacted us several times this year eager to buy or at least get first crack at the house before we list but we keep having to put them off until we get the nod. The worst part is we have been checking mls and other online sites for available properties in our destination location and because we are looking for acreages the selection is more than a little limited. In fact, we have found a total of one...yes only one...listing which suits our needs and though it seems perfect I fear it may be gone before we have even an opportunity to view it.

Sorry I'm in such an unfocused frame of mind! I hope to get back on track soon. With any luck the end of this week will bring at least some answers and resolve! Here's to the longest week!

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Mattel's New WWE Collection!

This toy review may seem out of my normal realm but there is a nostalgic reason I just couldn’t resist. In the 1980s, when the WWF {as it was known at the time} and wrestling mania took hold my cousin Craig became possibly the world’s biggest fan of this crazy new entertainment/sports genre. My cousin had Downs Syndrome and anything which allowed him a moment away from the troubles of the world and gave him an outlet for his imagination and creation of an alternate reality was wonderful. He understood it was only entertainment and imaginings and it was his WWF action figures which became his favourite toys.

When I was asked to review a toy from Mattel’s new WWE {World Wrestling Entertainment} lineup it was in honour of my cousin that I thought this review apropos and to be honest, though my son doesn’t watch WWE matches, Gabriel was very excited about the Ultimate Rivals WWE action figures he received from Mattel for this review! Some children will enjoy recreating their favourite matches using these seven inch action figures or like my son they may just enjoy displaying them as collectors items. My son posed them on his bookshelf and praised how very cool they looked.
Admittedly I am not a WWE fan myself and being a rather pacifist individual I find it odd including these wrestling icons in my home but I do realize the entertainment value for boys and the relative innocuous nature of a figurine. My son loves collecting them, just as he does other sporting memorabilia and Mattel has kept the adult collectors in mind as well by creating an Elite Collection and Entrance Greats line. These lines include individual stands, authentic costumes, extreme articulation and amazing accuracy that even the most discerning collector will appreciate. I know my cousin would have been completely enthralled with this new line of WWE products!

“Mattel is excited to bring the iconic WWE entertainment brand to fans worldwide, through an authentic line of products that capture all the drama and excitement that makes the WWE a worldwide phenomenon, WWE has spent the past decade tailoring its live and broadcast entertainment experience to a more mainstream audience. Our goal is to help kids and parents extend the experience even further by safely recreating the action in the home through play with these action figures.”
Tim Kilpin, general manager, Mattel Brands' Girls, Boys & Games Division.

Launched in January 2010 the World Wrestling Entertainment line from Mattel includes Action Figures created to replicate individual WWE stars authentically , these can be purchased individually and in two-packs. My son received the Ultimate Rivals 2-pack with the Shawn Michaels & Chris Jericho action figures. The two-pack was perfect for recreating matches especially for a child like my son who did not already have other figures. Mattel will be releasing new figures each month!

Also included in the new WWE Collection Flex-Force figures which can be manipulated into recreating various wrestling moves and the WWE Superstar Ring perfect for housing the ensuing action. From action figure play and costume elements for imaginary play to authentic collectables this collection will certainly be a hit with boys of all ages!
Available in toy stores and toy aisles everywhere!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Affresh ~ Say Goodbye to Dishwasher Stench!

With a family of five I love the convenience of a Dishwasher. Depending on your dishwasher's efficiency it can often cut back on water usage as well! I resent spending too much time slaving over sinks of soiled dishes when I could be spending quality time with play-soiled children instead!

The efficiency and convenience of a Dishwasher can be grand but I have a problem. My Dishwasher is a disaster. I've used dishwasher cleaners before but never been entirely satisfied. Affresh I'll admit did not solve all my tired dishwasher's dilemmas--I think it may be beyond the possibility of perfection--but I did notice a marked difference with Affresh Dishwasher Cleaner. This different was the newly fresh citrus-y scent wafting from my Dishwasher in place of the foul scent I could never completely wash away before.

It is suggested that you clean your dishwasher monthly using Affresh. I have used Affresh two months in a row and found that more staining has been removed and though not all of the mineral deposit residue has disappeared it has decreased! I live in a rural setting and we do not use a water softener which may result in over mineralization and a greater problem than most of you may encounter so I would say Affresh is battling a war at my house and winning one small strike at a time.

Another great advantage to using Affresh over bleach and other brands with harsh and harmful chemicals, Affresh does not harm your septic system nor does it therefore create as much environmental havoc!

Freshen up your dishwasher, dispel those lingering odours for good and fight the gruelling battle of disgusting food residue and mineral build up with one packeted Affresh "pill" each month! It's a vitamin for your dishwasher!

Canadian readers win a year supply of Affresh Dishwasher Cleaner along with other great cleaning supplies here at Northern Mama!

To Enter:

  • Visit Affresh and tell me where you can purchase Affresh Dishwasher Cleaner. {Required}
  • non-bloggers remember you can still enter just leave me your email with your comment.

Extra Entries:

  • Be a Northern Mama follower {Google}
  • Be a Northern Mama Facebook Fan
  • Subscribe via email
  • Follow on Twitter @Northernmama35 and tweet about this giveaway {1x daily}
  • Grab my Button
  • Blog about this giveaway with a link back here {leave me your post link please}

Giveaway open to Canadians only {sorry company's requirement}!! Giveaway closes April 9th, 2010 midnight EST. Read Giveaway Rules for further details.
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My Blog is Carbon Neutral!

Make your blog carbon neutral! Who would have realized that just writing a blog could cause a carbon footprint? Yes, according to a Harvard physicist and environmental activist an average website causes about 0.02g (0,0008oz.) of carbon dioxide for each visit. How? The calculations are based primarily on the immense energy use of mainframes, servers, computers, and cooling systems. Imagine....you can make a footprint even sitting at your computer, not to mention the shipping of goods for product review blogs...ouch!

I certainly don't want to be the cause of so many footprints when I write here advocating for the environment so I'm enlisting the help of "make it Green" the 1 Blog, 1 Tree program to help neutralize and offset Northern Mama's carbon dioxide output...yes, I want to take a branch and sweep up my footprints and a young team in Germany is doing just that!

Can one tree actually effect change? There is no tried and true answer to the question "How much CO2 does one tree absorb this depends on the tree type and the many variables effecting its growth however the assumed values vary between 10 and 30kg (20 and 70 lbs).

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) assumes a yearly absorption of one tree as approximately 10kg (20lbs) carbon dioxide emissions. “Make it green”, the environmental programme of kaufDA, is using a yearly absorption value of 5kg (11lbs) for its “My blog is carbon neutral” initiative. This is a very conservative calculation, ensuring that the neutralisation of each blog is achieved. Hurray!

So join in and make your blog Carbon Neutral simply by clicking My Carbon Neutral Button!
carbon neutral coupon with kaufDA.de

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Swan Thieves

Sensuously stunning and woven with an artistry of language and storytelling The Swan Thieves is Elizabeth Kostava's latest masterpiece. Author of the #1 bestselling novel The Historian--which also graces my shelves--Kostava masterfully entwines the richness of history with contemporary times. She innately understands the intimacy humanity can feel for its history.

The Swan Thieves opens with the vicious imagery of a painter, Robert Oliver, defacing a canvas in a National Gallery. Incarcerated and considered troubled after the incident Robert's Psychological well-being is placed in the hands of a middle aged Andrew Marlow, Psychologist. Marlow becomes deeply engrossed in the tangled web of Robert's relationships with women of the present but most importantly of the past...a very distant past! Robert's obsession with a woman long since dead involves Marlow in the pursuit of a puzzle hearkening back to France in the late 1800s.

This is a tale of obsession, unconditional love and treacherous betrayal. An historic wrong which must be made right in order to save the troubled mind of a genius.

Admittedly The Swan Thieves is a long ride but one with mesmerizing intensity. I felt the story almost endless at times but could not resist picking it up again and again to continue the story's journey. Romantic yet mystifying this novel is like a hand reaching out to grab your hand and lead you on, lead you through a thought provoking, stomach tightening tale. The characters are charismatic and complex, and the plot original and curious!

If you are a lover of lyrical description, dramatic and romantic literary and artistic mastery you will lavish in the reading of this beautiful piece of fiction.

Win one of 5 copies of The Swan Thieves being given away here at Northern Mama!

To Enter:
  • Be a Northern Mama Follower {Google Friends Connect} OR a Northern Mama Fan {Required}

Extra Entries:

  • Subscribe via email
  • Grab my Button
  • Follow on Twitter @Northernmama35 and tweet about this giveaway {1x daily}
  • Blog about this giveaway with a link back here {please leave the link to your post}

Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents. Giveaway ends April 8th, 2010. Read Giveaway Rules for further details.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bob Greene's Total Body Makeover DVD Review And Give Away


Are you looking for a great workout video or exercise program? Then Bob Greene's Total Body Makeover is the DVD you should try! I don't know if any of you get tired of doing the same video over and over again, but I do! That is why I have tried so many different ones over the years. This innovative dvd provides you with 8 progressive workouts, as well as the ability to customize your own routine. What is really amazing is that it takes less than 15 minutes a day, 3 times per week to do, and does not require a formal meal plan or "DIET"! It only requires you to follow 5 simple rules of eating in addition to following this accelerated workout program.

Bob's 5 rules are:
  • have an eating cut-off time
  • eat a nourishing breakfast

  • drink a minimum of six 8-ounce glasses of water every day

  • eliminate 6 "problem" foods

  • make eating a conscious act

Bob talks in detail about these rules on the dvd and in the getting started booklet included inside the dvd case.

The 8 workouts are actually a progressive series ( it gets harder every week). The first week you start out with a chair, yoga mat and your hand weights. You will perform squats, lunges, presses, tricep extensions, bicep curls, chest fly's, ab crunches, stretches, and more....... On week 2 you drop the supporting chair and the workout gets a little bit harder. The body parts you work and the exercises you do are similar to the week before but with increased variations and combinations of each exercise. Each week your need for balance and coordination increases as the exercises grow in intensity. By week 6 you are twisting and turning, working almost every muscles in the body.

After you have completed all 8 weeks you can still continue to perform a varied workout with the customized workout option on the dvd. You can choose any workout in any order you want to create your personal workout routine. For example, I can choose week 3,week 8 and week 6 and the dvd will play these workouts in that order for me, giving me approximately 30 min's of exercise (as each segment is approx 10 min's). It doesn't get much better than that!

To summarize my opinion, there are so many great features to this program that I could go on forever about it. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone! I personally thought that Bob was amazing in his instructional techniques throughout the video, guiding you through step by step with helpful "Keys" to accomplish the exercise properly and to attain the most benefit. Finally, since I already have an established workout routine, it was easy for me to add this to my daily routine because of the minimal amount of time it requires.

To Enter the Give Away:

If you would like a chance to try this amazing workout dvd, then visit Gaiam's Website and tell me something you learned about Bob Greene. (REQUIRED)

Extra Entries:
  • Follow Northern Mama (google)
  • Subscribe via email
  • Be a Northern Mama Facebook Fan
  • Grab my button
  • Follow on Twitter at Northernmama35 andTweet about this give away 1x per day
  • Blog about this give away with a link back to this site (don't forget to leave me the link to your post)

Good luck on winning this Give Away and with achieving your Exercise and Lifestyle Goals!

(Give away open to Canadian and American Residents Only. Give Away Closes on April 8th, 2010. Read Give Away Rules for details.)

NIKKI

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Book Winners!!

We have some wonderful book winners!!

Miracle in Sumatra: The Story of Gutsy Gus:
Congratulations to couponmom!

-------------------------------

Making a Family Home:

Congrats to MissCrabbyPants you've won a copy of Making a Family Home!

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Aleutia~The Iams Ambassador Without Finesse

Who would have thought 12 years ago when we brought a fuzzy ball of rusty-hued fur home with us that we would be turning our lives upside down and backward for a nightmare dog we couldn't help but adore? Yes, that endearing chubby pup, the last of the litter, is now a 90 pound bear, a spoiled, cantankerous old lady. Aleutia is an Alaskan Malamute-Husky cross and though she has evolved and grown at an alarming rate over the years two things have remained constant: her unbelievably loud howling and her sensitive tummy!
While other dogs may make the perfect pet ambassadors for their charming personalities or their adorable faces, or maybe their smart tricks, Aleutia is the ideal Iams ambassador for one simple reason Iams is the only dog food she has ever been able to stomach...oh and she certainly "gets noticed"! Her wolfish, siren like howl--which we thought delightfully quaint as a small puppy--is a neighbour's worst nightmare and her massive size is enough to intimidate grown men. From soiled floors to a broken window, angered neighbours to chewed up belongings you'd think Aleutia had few redeeming qualities. You'd be wrong! Aleutia is exceedingly loyal and protective, her patience of three spirited kids admirable considering her breed. She is an active dog even in her aging body and she is truly affectionate, approaching cuddly!
When we ventured out to the backwoods of Thunder Bay Ontario in search of a sled dog owner selling a litter of hefty, endurance running dogs and we laid eyes on Aleutia it was impossible to believe she had been passed over and was the last of her brothers and sisters left waiting for a new family. We fell in love with her squinting eyes, fluffy appearance, and stalky stoic little body. We were just finishing our teaching degrees and as newly married students we were less than affluent. Our first instinct was to buy an inexpensive supermarket brand dog food. Aleutia soon developed some serious gastrointestinal upset {not pretty} and we began searching out a food which wouldn't result in nasty surprises! Expensive brands, brands meant for food allergies. We gradually introduced new foods only to realize nothing was working until Iams.

One of the keys we learned for choosing a quality dog food is simply looking at the ingredient list. Look at the order of ingredients. Like human food labels, pet food ingredients must be arranged in decreasing order by weight and the terms are standardized by the American Association of Feed Control (AAFCO). Select a food that lists an animal based protein as one of the first ingredients. In general, animal proteins are more highly digestible than plant-based proteins (e.g. soy) and contain a complete balance of essential amino acids (EAA) that dogs and cats need for optimal growth and development.

Iams has been a tried and true staple in the diet of both Aleutia and our cat, Jarre, and Iams has now introduced something very special Prebiotics! While Iams Probiotics and Eukenuba formulas are nothing new now they have been improved by the addition of prebiotic FOS (fructooligosaccharides) to promote intestinal and immune system health. Okay, I know you're asking what are prebiotics? I think most of us are familiar now with probiotics which we find most readily in our favourite yogurt brands but prebiotics actually feed those amazing probiotics--good bacteria--leading to a decrease in non-beneficial bacteria and better gastrointestinal health.


Iams believes in being both pro-active and pre-active when it comes to the health of your pets! We have experienced first hand the effects of Iams pet foods. Our dog no longer experiences digestive upset and Aleutia and Jarre, both now in their senior golden years are of excellent health and remain active. What more could a pet owner hope for? Well maybe a quiet dog who doesn’t less-than-secretly sleep on the sofa all night causing me to wonder why the drool stained cushions to wash? Can’t win them all and like they say you sometimes don’t choose who you fall in love with--maybe this is even true of pets!


Is your pet an Iams Ambassador? Or maybe you've been thinking of switching to Iams! Iams is offering two Northern Mama readers there choice of free Iams pet food {a 17.5 lb bag or smaller}!
To Enter:

  • Tell me a little about your pet{s} and what Iams product you would purchase. {Required}

Extra Entries:

  • Follow Northern Mama {Google}
  • Subscribe via email
  • Be a Northern Mama Facebook Fan
  • Grab my Button
  • Follow on Twitter @Northernmama35 and tweet about this giveaway {1x daily}
  • Blog about this giveaway with a link back here {please leave a link to your post}

    Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents. Giveaway closes April 9th, 2010. Read Giveaway Rules for further details.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

"Words To Sweat By" Towel Review And Give Away

When I first saw these inspirational work-out towels (designed by Whimsical Walney) I was instantly hooked on them. If the name (words to sweat by) is not catchy enough, then just read the mantras on these towels and feel motivated to keep up those weight lose goals or healthy lifestyles.

In addition to sporting my trendy towel at the gym, I have hung my towel on the bathroom towel bar, and the kitchen stove bar. When I see the towel and read the mantra on it, I am reminded of what I have worked so hard for and what I must do to continue to succeed. I am motivated by and get encouraged from these simple words.

" HEALTHY, STRONG, HAPPY "
There are lots of other fun, witty, motivating, and inspirational mantras to choose from on their user friendly site. And if that's not enough to make you buy one of these towels then maybe the price will. These towels are only $8.00 plus a $2.00 shipping fee for Canadian and US residents.
The Give Away:
Dana Lardner, at Words To Sweat By, would like to motivate one of Northern Mama's readers by giving away 2 towels to one lucky winner. She would like the winner to keep one towel and give the other towel to a friend, workout partner, or someone else in need of some inspiration to achieve their healthy lifestyle goals. The towel comes in a sheer gift bag making it perfect for gift giving!

To Enter:

Extra Entries:

  • Be a Northern Mama follower ( google friends connect)
  • Be a Northern Mama facebook fan
  • Follow on twitter @ Northernmama35 and tweet about this contest (1x per day)
  • Subscribe via email
  • Grab my button
  • Blog about this give away with a link back here ( please leave the link to your post)
  • Follow on twitter @ wordstosweatby

Give Away open to Canadian and American residents only. Give Away Closes on April 6th, 2010. Read Give Away rules for details.
Review By Nikki

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spongebob Squarepants: Spongebob's Last Stand DVD

Spongebob continues to squeeze his way into the hearts of my children and I know they are not alone in their relationship with this dynamic spongy character. His popularity has become iconic and with such a meteoric rise you encounter fans who have seen every episode. Compilations become a review of repeats but not this time! Spongebob and Patrick become activists fighting to save Jellyfish Fields in the never-before-seen episode Spongebob Squarepants: Spongebob’s Last Stand available as of March 16th, 2010 on Paramount Home Video!

Despite the crazy hilarity resulting from Spongebob and Patrick’s na├»ve natures it is often amazing how Spongebob fans can encounter a certain morality, and value system. Spongebob’s Last Stand ultimately introduces fans to the importance of standing up for what you believe in through the ridiculously fun antics we’ve grown to expect from any Spongebob episode.

In this new adventure Spongebob becomes insensed by the proposed construction of a new highway which would spell destruction for his beloved Jellyfish fields. What can be done to save an ecosystem in danger? Spongebob has a plan of protest but will he succeed? The fate of Jellyfish Fields, for better or worse, is in Spongebob’s well-intended but less than capable hands. You’ll find on the DVD exclusive special features which include karaoke music videos of the Jellyfishing Song and Save Jellyfish Fields!

As you know one can always expect more from a Spongebob compilation! Enjoy six additional new-to-DVD episodes:

Pet or Pests {my youngest daughter, Bronwynn’s favourite}
Spongebob finds he’s taken on more than he bargained for when he adopts a stray worm who soon gives birth to a litter of baby worms!

Komputer Overload
Plankton contemplates swapping Karen, his computer wife, with a new line of Krabby Patty thieving robots!

Gullible Pants
Spongebob is no business man, naive and rather a bit gullible but perhaps Mr. Krabs is a little gullible himself when he leaves Spongebob in charge of Krusty Krab. What could possibly happen for just 15 minutes?

Overbooked
Have trouble saying no? Spongebob knows what it's like to try to please everyone but wind up overwhelmed, overexerted and even overbooked. Three events at the same time? How will Spongebob manage to be in three places at once.

No Hat for Pat
Patrick takes a job as a sign-holder compliments of Mr.Krabs.

Toy Store of Doom
It sounds like a dream come true for most kids...being locked in a toy store for the night. Is it a dream come true for Patrick and Spongebob when it becomes a reality?

Loaded with even more special feeatures including a sneak peek of "Neptune's Party", Bollywood Bob, and How to make a Spongebob Squarepants this is a great DVD for any Spongebob fan!Spongebob has become an old stand by and regardless of the adventure, dilemma, or disaster my kids enjoy each episode!

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Need a Vacation and a Renovation? Royale Reno-cation Giveaway!!

Ever wish your life was just a little bit better, a little more relaxing, luxurious, and stress-free? Of course you do. I know I could use a Royale reno-cation! A what you ask? A few home renos and a vacation all rolled into one. I am a closeted interior designer. My friends and family know my addiction to adding a regular nip and tuck to my home environment. I admit it, I’m a nester. I love to be surrounded by the aesthetically pleasing and unfortunately my tastes sometime exceed the contents of my pocketbook {okay, okay I just splurged this week on some all-too-pricey fabulous throw pillows}.

Lately my needs for home renovations have taken on new meaning. Our family is currently in flux. We are preparing for a possible move and I am working to give our home a mini-makeover to further entice buyers. I’m sure what awaits at the other end of a sale will be a new home which may require work or at the very least loving touches to make our new environment home, our home!

The stress of three children and an eminent move has me dreaming of a vacation. Though I love my children dearly and we are generally inseparable as a family it would take no arm twisting to send my little miracles off to grandma and grandpa while hubby and I enjoyed a vacation all our own. We are dreamers, adventurers so our ultimate vacation would probably be exotic. We’ve often talked of visits to the Belize, Africa, maybe Greece, New Zealand, or India however having three children, a dog, and a cat is not conducive to world travel. Let’s be honest any vacation to anywhere that didn’t necessarily require a tent brimming with five people would be a welcome change!

I am willing to assume I am not the only one who could use a reno-cation and this is why Royale is offering Moms across Canada the opportunity to win the Royale Reno-cation Contest! Canadian moms looking for a fresh start this spring, a pick me up after a long winter’s doldrums can enter to win the spectacular Grand Prize including $13 000 to spend on home renovations AND an 11-day, $7000 Royal Caribbean cruise for two on the “Jewel of the Seas” --sounds hard to take right? Not too tempting {can you hear my dripping sarcasm}? Too good to be true? It gets even better, an additional $5000 in prizes will be given to secondary winners in the form of 15 weekly prize packages including a personal heated towel rack, new luxurious towels, and premium Royale robes all from the Royale Luxury Bath Collection. I know you have just one question….it’s simple enter to win on the Royale website until April 27th! Yes, GO THERE NOW!

AND…just when you think the sky’s the limit Royale goes above and beyond because thanks to them I am hosting a mini reno-cation of my own! One fabulously lucky Northern Mama reader will win a $50 Restaurant gift card for a night out and a $50 Home Hardware gift card to give your home a small nip and tuck!
To Enter:

  • Suggest to me what your ultimate "Reno-cation" would be! {Required}

Extra Entries:

  • Be a Northern Mama Follower {Google friends connect}
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  • Follow on Twitter @Northernmama35 and tweet about these contests {1x daily}
  • Subscribe via email
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  • Blog about this giveaway with a link back here {please leave me the link to your post}

Giveaway open to Canadians. Giveaway closes April 27th, 2010. Read Giveaway Rules for details.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Nurture a Traditional Natural Lifestyle with Vital Earth Traditions

Lotions and potions have been a part of human society since the first humans started plucking leaves from plants and peeling the bark from trees. We have explored the bounty of our environment for thousands of years and it is this essential habit which has provided us with the traditional knowledge of nature's medicinal properties. Natural herbal and aromatic care has been tested and true for centuries and mompreneur Kelly Lynch Ring creator of Vital Earth Traditions understands the significance of this knowledge.

Vital Earth Traditions offers a variety of natural lotions, salves, salts and scrubs made fresh and free of chemicals using natural processes and ingredients including natural preservatives providing skin with nutrients and imbued with anti-aging properties. What impressed me most is Kelly's use of her personal life experiences as inspiration for some of her most popular products. Acting as peacemaker as her daughters battled out their first "cat fight" was cause for the inception of a lotion to induce soothing and Bitch Balance Butter was the amazing result!

Aptly named, Kelly developed Bitch Balance Butter using ingredients known traditionally for their support and relief of symptoms of the female cycle. Massaging just a small amount of this whipped body butter onto my abdomen and feet truly had a calming effect. I felt a warmth emanating through my abdomen. Whether this was the effect of the actual application of this amazing cream or the soothing nature of the aroma, reminiscent of florals such as rose and geranium and hearkening the freshness of peppermint, spearmint, and green tea it was definitely a hit of well-being for those "female moments". You would be stunned by the plethora of natural ingredients this butter contains! I have been feeling a great deal of stress and agitation lately preparing for a house sale, raising three demanding children, worrying about a move, and trying to fit blogging into the fray. Bitch Balance Butter's calming effects has helped me while weathering this storm of hormonal angst and it truly does balance the bitch within! I plan to use this little charm monthly!

Kelly spoiled me with a care package of further Vital Earth Traditions including three luxuriously lavish handmade sugar scrubs so scrumptiously scented you may be tempted to taste them rather than scrub your body with them. Believe that the latter experience is as deliciously satisfying! I received the Coconut, Cranberry and Mandarin, and Peppermint Patty sugar scrubs all delectably aromatic. What I love most however are inclusions I can actually see. The seeds and bits of herbs whipped in provided me with a sense of assurance that these are naturally, well, natural! It's a glorious sensation to know that you are scrubbing and massaging with natures beauty inducers rather than harsh, fabricated chemicals. Exfoliate, moisturize, and enjoy a little aroma therapy with one simple act! Honestly, I could not even begin to choose a favourite of the three. The invigorating and fresh Cranberry and Mandarin, the exotic and sensuous coconut, and the inviting and fun Peppermint Patty are equally delightful products.

I love handmade soap! I adore the homey aesthetic of chunky soaps with visible inclusions and roughly hewned imperfect edges. Vital Earth Traditions creates Recycle Soap. Recycle soap is formed using the bits and pieces which are the remnants from the soap making process...less waste and the result lovely! Vital Earth Traditions includes Recycle soap with customer purchases and also donates Recycle soap to local charities. I will be garnishing my bathrooms with these beautiful bars for house showing!

There are so many reasons to be impressed with Vital Earth Traditions! Kelly is a licensed Massage Therapist, a Doula, Child Birth Educator, Master Aromatherapist, Reiki Master, an Herbalist, and is also enrolled in the Associates of Applied Science in Complementary Alternative Medicine. Her expertise can give customers confidence in the products she brews but the fact that she is also an everyday mom who knows the needs of everyday families is also a source of comfort. Vital Earth Traditions provides a variety of products which are tailored to your unique tastes and specific conditions all using 100% natural ingredients!
Receive an extra 40% off your purchase with the promotion code: SPRINGBLOG

Kelly has graciously offered one Northern Mama reader the luxury of one 16 oz. jar of the three sugar scrubs I reviewed {reader's choice} and a 1 oz. jar of Bitch Balance Butter for those female moments!
To Enter:

Extra Entries:

  • Follow Northern Mama {Google friends connect}
  • Be a Northern Mama Facebook Fan
  • Subscribe via email
  • Grab my Button
  • Follow on Twitter @Northernmama35 and tweet about this giveaway {1x daily}
  • Blog about this giveaway with a link back here {please leave me the link to your post}

Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents. Giveaway closes April 3rd, 2010. Read Giveaway Rules for further details.

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Mexican Card Holders ~ Great Gift Idea!!

Those of you who are crafty, creative, or just love unique home decor will appreciate this post! I love handmade items! I think handmade gifts say so much more than those pre-fab items you find in a store. They are unique and if you make them yourself they become a "labour of love". I admit I truly enjoy spending every extra moment I can scrounge producing some handicraft or another. I also enjoy buying handmade items from small business owners like those on Etsy.com. It is truly amazing the amount of talent there is in the world and Etsy represents just some of this untapped artistry.

Even if you are not an expert crafter or undiscovered artist you can produce this fabulous Mexican inspired card holder in minutes! I admit they may not be as authentic as the ones they are manufacturing in Mexico but they can still be as beautiful if you choose the proper materials.

I must give credit to my mom. She is a retired kindergarten teacher and is more creative than she would ever care to admit. After admiring a friend's greeting card holder she had purchased on a trip to Mexico my mom decided to create her own. I received one as a gift this Christmas and started making them as gifts for my friends and family! Uh oh...now I've spoiled the surprise!

You can find what you will need at local dollar stores and craft shops. My mom found all her supplies at Dollarama and around the house. I found my clips at Dollarama and the beads at a local craft warehouse. Now that I have been searching I have found a variety of themed clips for almost every holiday.The green wire I purchased from Michaels in the jewelery making section but I later realized my husband had some wire of the same gauge in the garage!!

What you will need:
*Approx. 192 small hand painted wooden beads
(You will need less beads if you use larger beads or a mixture of large and small beads. You may also need more or less depending on how many clips you choose to use)
*12 or 13 medium sized Decorative clothes pins (there are smaller ones also available or you may choose to use large ones and decorate them yourself)
*approx. 1.65-1.7m (5 ft. 5 inches) of 18 gauge multi-purpose or craft wire.
(check your hardware store or your local craft shop)
*A wire cutter and pliers
*Two picture hanging hooks

Here's How:
1. Cut your length of wire. The craft store may have coloured wire if you wish.
2. Form a loop on one end of your wire by wrapping it around the end of small pliers two or three times. The loop should be just big enough to hook onto the end of your picture hanging hooks.
3. Start threading the wooden beads onto the other end of your wire. You can use all the same sized beads or vary the bead size which looks fantastic too! The numbers here are based on small wooden beads so you may wish to decrease by 1-3 if you are varying the sizes. String on 6 small wooden beads then string on your first clothes pin. The wire should be fed through the side hole of the metal clamp which holds the clothespin together. Make sure that the clip end faces down.
Note: I found that some clips are made to face the wrong direction with the clip end up. Do not use any that will look upside-down if the clip end is at the bottom....clear as mud?? Basically, the cards must hang below the cardholder. They will just flop over if you try to clip them above it.
4. After the first clothespin string on 15 small beads (approx. 12 beads if you are varying big and small beads) and then another clothespin. Repeat with 15 small beads between each clothespin until you have string on 12 to 13 clothespins. After the final clothespin is strung, string on the final 6 beads (to match the number you began the strand with).
Note: You may choose to make a longer cardholder with more clothespins but you must remember to cut a longer wire accordingly.
5. With the remaining wire form a loop similar to the one you made on the other end of your wire. Again form the loop by wrapping it around the end of your pliers or even a pencil 2-3 times. Make sure the loop is tight up against the last bead so the beads and clips cannot slip and slide. Remove any excess wire with the wire cutters.
6. Use the picture hanging hooks to hang your finished piece!
VOILA!! Your Mexican Inspired Cardholder is complete!!
A great way to package your gift is to purchase a wine bottle gift box. Then the holder can be stored in it when not in use!

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Carolina Pad Winner!!



A wonderful giveaway thanks to Carolina Pad!! And the winner of this Tax time "Hot Choclate" patterned collection is LizW!! Congrats!!

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