Maple Leaf Monster Jam #Giveaway

Earlier this year my daughter and I had the opportunity of attending our very first Monster Jam. Upon entering the Rogers Centre, all we could hear was loud (I mean REALLY LOUD) engine roaring. Having never been to one of these, I didn't realize that ear protection was a must for kids! Luckily, they sell these adorable monster truck tire ear muffs for adults and kids alike!  I have to admit, I had an amazing time!

"Welcome to the Monster Jam Tour, an incredible family-friendly experience starring the biggest performers on four wheels: Monster Jam monster trucks. These twelve-feet-tall, ten-thousand-pound machines will bring you to your feet, racing and ripping up a custom-designed track full of obstacles to soar over - OR smash through.  Monster Jam provides a massive night’s entertainment tailored perfectly for your family’s budget, and these colourful, larger-than-life beasts are sure to capture the hearts of both young and old." 

You can purchase your tickets through Ticketmaster or you can enter below to win a 4 pack for the opening night show on January 16th, 2016!  The wonderful promoters behind the Maple Leaf Monster Jam Tour have given me the awesome opportunity to share this experience with one of my lucky readers and three of their guests!  

And A Murray #Netflixmas To You! #StreamTeam

I don't know where each and every one of you live, but in the GTA (Ontario) there has been very little snow.  So little, in fact, that my grass is still glimmering green! To me, it doesn't really feel like Christmas without snow (I'll even settle for a light dusting). I find that snow just gives it that Christmas feeling (please tell me I'm not the only one!). Well, since I can't control the weather, I have to find some way of "amping" up that Christmas umph inside our home. I can't think of a better way than snuggling up with a warm cup of hot chocolate, with floating marshies, and watching some Christmas classics and newbies. This year, to-date I have watched Home Alone 1, 2, and 3 what feels at least like a thousand times!  I even finally got around to watching the 4th for the first time, and to be honest, if you haven't seen it yet, you're not missing much.
This year, we've watched quite a few Christmas movies on Netflix already, and our family favourite so far has been Arthur Christmas. If you haven't seen this gem yet, I highly recommend it! Here's the Synopsis:
"Everyone knows that, each Christmas, Santa Claus delivers presents to every last child on Earth. What everyone doesn't know is that Santa accomplishes the feat with a very high-tech operation beneath the North Pole. But when the unthinkable happens, and Santa misses one child out of hundreds of millions, someone has to save the day. It's up to Arthur (James McAvoy), Santa's youngest son, to deliver a present to the forgotten tyke before Christmas morning dawns."

Making Moments Matter with #MyInstax #Fujifilm #Giveaway

Nothing says "Abracadabra" like watching film developing before your very eyes. The new limited edition Fujifilm Instax Mini Hello Kitty instant camera is the ideal gift for any young girl. Featuring a built in flash for when the light is low as well as automatic exposure to help ensure consistency in exposure no matter the lighting conditions. There is a built-in flash (which also has red-eye reduction). It’s an automatic flash with the ability to adjust the brightness. My daughter has always been a huge fan of Hello Kitty, so when she heard that this camera was coming out, she was super stoked. Keep in mind she's 8 and the camera is as big (if not bigger) than her head! It's next to impossible to not smile when someone is taking your photo with and adorable Hello Kitty face looking at you. You can purchase this adorable addition to your collection exclusively at Best Buy and Staples.

Take Back The Night! #StreamTeam #5MoreMinutes

Bedtime Stall Brawl!  Let's get ready to rumble . . . 

Ok, let's start from the beginning, we have let our little monkey sleep in bed with us since she was born. They recommended this option to us at the hospital as she was a preemie, the warmth would help comfort her. Well, a few months turned into a year, which turned into quite a few more. Getting her to transition into her own bed was a hassle on its own, never mind the "falling asleep" part.  She mastered the art of wearing us out. "I'm thirsty", "I'm too hot", "I'm too cold", "I'm hungry", "I need to go potty", and the my favourite of them all is "I'm trying really hard, but I can't sleep" (then falls asleep within 2 minutes of climbing into our bed).  She's the best at what she does, but thank to Netflix and their new partnership with DreamWorks Animation, they've condensed full episodes of Dinotrux from start to finish in just 5 short minutes.  This means that the "Can I just watch one more show?" line, can be used and you can "give in" without giving in! In a mere 300 seconds, your little bugger will be speechless as they march themselves up to bed knowing they got exactly what they wanted.   
Here are some new favourites that your 
kiddos can enjoy when they have more than just 5 minutes :)

Dare To Dream w/ @Disney On Ice! #DisneyOnIce

It's the most wonderful time of the year! With Christmas being just around the corner, what better way to surprise that Disney fan in your life than an opportunity to Dare To Dream! My family and I have been enjoying Disney On Ice productions for as long as I can remember, but we are super excited to watch all of our favourite fairy tales come to life right before our very eyes.  

Hockey: When It's More Than Just A Sport #WeAllPlay

I grew up loving hockey.  I collected cards, played with the neighbourhood boys during the spring, summer, and fall.  I loved (and still love) hockey, but have yet to set foot on the ice with a stick and a puck.  I remember asking my parents to put me in a league for girls, but they always said it was too expensive.  I understood and took it at face value.  When my younger brother turned 10, he asked to be put in a league, and without hesitation money was found, equipment was purchased, and he was enrolled in less than a month.  I assumed that this meant I could ask again, and when I did, I was told "Hockey isn't for girls.  It's too rough, it's a boys sport."  I didn't understand.  They knew just how much I loved hockey, why couldn't they just let me play and decide for myself whether or not it was "too rough". Up until that point, I believed I could be and do anything I set my mind to, but my world changed that day.  I felt limited because I was a girl.  *Not cool mom and dad, not cool*  Time has passed, I've grown older and now am proud to have a daughter of my own.  She's a little diva who's willing to try anything, and both my wife and I encourage her to do whatever she wants.  Last year, after we attended her very first Leafs game, she told me that she wanted to give hockey a try.  I was overwhelmed with such joy and pride, and was taken by surprise as she's normally not into sports.  I wanted to do for her what my parents didn't do for me.  This was my way of somehow re-writing my past, by letting my daughter follow wherever her heart takes her.   Her skating may not have been perfect, her skill not refined, but there she was stick in hand, puck on the ice, and a huge smile upon her face.  I couldn't help but cry as I watched her live out both our dreams.  Things have changed over the years and now I sit with my mom and watch her cheer on my daughter with pride.

The Wickenheiser World Female Hockey Festival is an annual hockey festival set up by Canadian hockey legend Hayley Wickenheiser. It draws teams from across Canada for seminars, workshops and a friendly tournament. This year, it takes place in Calgary Nov. 26-29, 2015. The festival is sold out for 2015 with 2,000 female players from 8-18 years old.  Learn more about it HERE!

Totally fan-momming over here knowing that I'll be tweeting along with Hayley and Meaghan.  Do you have any questions for them or just want to tell them how awesome they are?  Join the #WeAllPlay twitter party, where not only will you have the change to chat with these amazing athletes, but you might also win one of 10 $100 Canadian Tire gift cards (just in time for hockey season!)

Twitter Party Details:

Date: November 25th, 2015
Time: 8:00 p.m. E
Hashtag: #WeAllPlay
Guests: @Wick_22 and @Mikkelson12
Join the Twubs page here.
Prizing: 10 x $100 @CanadianTire Gift Cards

Anyone can participate but only Canadians can win prizes, excluding those in the province of Quebec.

We Love Christmas, Let Me "TEAL" You All About It #MyCANVAS

As the days get shorter and the air gets crisp, I can't help but turn my thoughts to Christmas carols and stringing lights on our tree.  I don't know about you, but with our lives being so hectic, we usually find ourselves scrambling to get those last minute gifts and the cookies out of the oven before they burn!  This year, as it will be our first Christmas without both of our grandmothers, we've decided to focus on the most important things, spending quality time with the ones we love and savouring each moment.  Christmas without them will undoubtedly be rough and I'm sure there will be tears as we remember them and talk of Christmas' past,  but we'll be comforted knowing that they'll be around us.

We've taken advantage of the warmer than usual weather and brought all of our Christmas decor out of storage and immediately got started on decorating our porch.  For the last 12 years, somehow we've always waited until it was too late and had ended up decorating with blowing snow and negative temperatures surrounding us. Not this year!  We strung up our entire porch with green garland and then lined them with bright white lights.  It was when we went to turn on the lights at night that we discovered that some needed to be replaced!  A quick trip to Canadian Tire was definitely in order and off we went.

Now let me tell you that the moment we walked in, the three of us were in awe!  Right at the entrance there were beautifully decorated trees and fully blown-up lawn decorations on display.  I couldn't help but take pictures of them, they were so beautiful!  As we walked further into the store, the seasonal section had been overhauled and transformed into a Chrismtas decorator's dream.  Each aisle was tailored to a specific colour scheme, and what made it really impressive was that it all went together! I tend to find a way of mucking things up, so it was nice to see that they were thinking of me!

All of our current decor falls in the traditional Christmas colours of red and green, but once we walked into the teal aisle, I fell in love.  It looked so crisp, clean, and elegant.  After a very short discussion, we decided that this was definitely the year for change and that a new colour scheme would definitely brighten things up.  In less than 10 minutes, we were already in need of a second cart!  We got so caught up in all the excitement that we almost forgot the very thing that we had come in for, the outdoor white lights!  As we walked through the rest of the aisles, we picked up a few extras including Fir scented sticks to scatter through our artificial tree, Canvas Christmas crackers, and a new addition to our Christmas village. 

This year our little family of 3 will be hosting Christmas dinner, and it goes without saying that we are in need of more cutlery, dining and serving sets to create the most perfect place settings to host our loved ones.  We stepped into the dinnerware section and found such a wide variety to suit any colour palette and style.  We picked up a beautiful 16 piece Canvas Skyler dinnerware set for $99.99, which is now on sale for 50% off!  After seeing that most of the Canvas collection had gone on sale as of last Thursday, we added a stunning 40 piece Canvas Lattice dinnerware set to our collection for $79.99.  Luckily we were able to get this one at the sale price.  Add that to the 2 cutlery sets that we purchased, and we're all set for what this Christmas has to bring us, I think. ~I'm sure a trip or two to Canadian Tire might still be in the stars before the big day~

With all the decor and place settings being taken care of, all we can do now is wait patiently for our Elf-on-the-Shelf to arrive and start counting down the days until the one and only Santa Claus himself drops by for some milk and cookies.  

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town! #TOSanta #MyCANVAS

111th Toronto Santa Claus Parade!

This Sunday, there will be a warm feeling in the air, even though the forecast is calling for a brisk 10°C.  There will be children of all ages lining the streets, all huddled up waiting to get a peek at the big man himself, Jolly Ol' Santa Claus!

This year's parade includes more than 25 animated floats, 2000 costumed participants and 200 Celebrity Clowns! Check out the parade route to see where Santa will lead his friends so you can find a great spot to observe.

Rest assured that while all eyes will be on Santa himself, I'll be looking out for Mrs. Claus.  I hear she's got a few style tips for this holiday season.  She knows what's hot and what's cool!  She's teamed up with the good boys and girls over at Canadian Tire and will be decorating her float in the season's hottest, um I mean coolest trends and colours. 

You can check out the entire CANVAS Christmas Collection here!

For more information about the 111th Santa Claus Parade, visit their site.  Whether you're there in person or watching it from the comfort of your home like we'll be, be sure to tweet and instagram your experiences during the parade and follow along by using the hashtag #TOSanta.  You can also follow along their social media channels by clicking these links:

What floats do you look forward to seeing each year?  Let me know in the comments below :)

Disclosure: I am part of the Canadian Tire Santa Claus Parade and Christmas Crew and as such receive perks for my participation. As always the opinions are my own

#SupportPrincessMargaret: Think Of The Possibilities

The Early Bird Gets the . . . Forget the worm,
 I want this Home away from Home

If there's one thing I have to say about Cancer, is that it doesn't discriminate.  Whether you 1 or 101, male or female, from anywhere around the world.  There's no rhyme or reason for it (although doing certain things can definintely increase the risk of getting it).  Cancer has touched all of us in one way or another.  It makes you wonder how you can help and even wish you could heal them yourself, but you can't. What you can do however, is head on over to the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre "Welcome Home Sweepstakes" page and order your tickets.  While you're at it, you can also get your hands on the tickets for the bonus "50/50" draw and the "Cash Calendar" too! (Tickets must be ordered and will be mailed within the province of Ontario)

Everyone wins with the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre's "Welcome Home Sweepstakes".  The hospital gets the much needed funding to continue with it's leading research (PMCC is one of the top 5 cancer research centres in the world!), the patients continue to received the best possible care, the ticket holders who get selected, and even the ones that don't (because even if your ticket isn't a winner, deep down you know that money went to a very good cause)!

Join me and some super awesome and passionate people for a very special twitter party/periscope chat next week!  

Here are the details:
#SupportPrincessMargaret Twitter Party details:
Monday November 2, 2015 @7:00pm ET
Hashtag: #SupportPrincessMargaret
Hosts: @PMLotto @HouseandHome
Guest: @GlucksteinHome
Moderators: @thePMCF @ChristineLasky
Prizing: @HudsonsBay Gift Cards (10 x $100 each)
There is no RSVP, but you must be 18+ and a Canadian resident to qualify.
On the day of the Twitter party, visit the TWUBS page to join in on the fun and informative chat. Simply login with your twitter account at

Good Luck 

You can now follow the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre's "Welcome Home Sweepstakes" by visiting these links below:

Smart Is The New Cool! MC2 #StreamTeam

So my kid thinks going back to school is cool.  She feels bad for all the other kids who are dreading going back to school.  Wait a minute, this is my child?  My child who almost a year ago had enough anxiety to kill a cat?!?

I'm so proud as a parent to know that she wants to learn!  Netflix released a new series called "MC2".  This new series follows four super smart and science-savvy girls as they are recruited to join the secret spy organization, NOV8 ("Innovate"), and the have to learn to work together to save the day.  Each possess unique skills, but when combined there's almost nothing that can stop them. Watching the new teen show on Netflix "MC2" has really given her the push that she needs to know that there are girls out there who love science, math, and all the fun experiments that come along with liking those subjects.

The awesome folks at Netflix sent us a Mckeyla McAlister doll, complete with a lava lamp experiment kit.  Well, my little Mikaela was over the moon with the fact that they randomly sent her a doll that had the same name as hers (just different spelling).  That evening, we were lava-ing our newest addition to the family!  Check out the unboxing video done by the one and only "Mckeyla McAlister" herself!

The last week before school is usually the toughest for my little monkey.  Dealing with the anxiety of going to school, meeting new teachers, and having different classmates usually takes it's toll on her, so I took it off to spend some quality time with her and ease her into it.  With work, and other stuff going on, it feels like life gets in the way more than I'd like it to and I wanted to make sure she was prepared for an awesome year that lay ahead of her.

We spent the entire week doing different science/exploration activities.  Day 1 with her, and man oh man did I realize just how much I love this kid!  We started the day off by having a nice chat over breakfast.  *It's amazing what kids have to say when you actually pay attention to them.  Not to say that I don't pay attention, but usually I have a list of a million other things going on in my head.* Once breakfast was over, we began building our "LoveBot" tin can robot.  Check out the short vid of our completed little "LoveBot" on our Instagram!
Day 2 - Consisted of "mining" for gems

Day 3 - We grew our very own Crystal Dino

Day 4 - We dug up Dino bones

Day 5 - And on our last day, we made some really neat glow-in-the-dark snow and attempted a game of "Justin Bieber's Backstage Pass". Our pup was just as amused as I was *insert sarcasm here*  Don't get me wrong, I like the Biebs, its the game that was a little . . . different.

We concluded our awesome week with our family tradition: the annual "End-of-Summer" trip to the  CNE.

One Walk. One Day. All Cancers! #OneWalkShoeSelfie

OneWalk. One Day. All Cancers.

Cancer sucks.  I don't know anyone who hasn't been affected directly or indirectly by this disease.  Just recently, a dear friend of mine that I met at a conference last year lost her husband to this monster.  4 blogger friends of mine are currently either battling cancer themselves, or are slowing losing their loved ones because of it.  It breaks my heart to be hearing this happening on a more frequent basis.  Back in 2004, my partners grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  I believe that, because of the treatment and wonderful care he received from the staff at Princess Margaret Hospital, we were able to enjoy an extra 10 years with him.  He eventually passed away due to the effects of dementia, but we are forever thankful for the extra time we were given with him.  

Thursday BackTraxx - My 2003 #TBT Playlist

This is a new series
 that I thought would break things up a bit.  Each Thursday, I'd like to feature tracks from a certain year, nothing too specific, no genre will be left out.  In this debut edition of Thursday BackTraxx #TBT, I'd like to take you back to 2003 and give you some of the sweet sounds of that summer.  But first, lets recap some major events of that year shall we?  Jean Chretien
was our Prime Minister, same-sex marriage became legal in 8 provinces, it was the year of SARS, Mad Cow, West Nile,
and the great Blackout which affected most of southern Ontario, Quebec, and parts of the northeastern United States!  Yep, that blackout happened just 9 days before I was set to marry my best friend, greatest supporter, and future babymama :)  As of this Sunday (the 23rd) we've been married for 12 years.  12, can you believe it?  I remember it like it was yesterday. 

Are you a SuperHero or Villain? #MarvelUniverseLive

Marvel Universe LIVE! will captivate audiences with an authentic and original story that brings more than 25 Marvel characters together on one epic quest.  The story is framed around the battle over the Cosmic Cube, the source of ultimate power and one of the most feared and coveted treasures in the Marvel Universe, that has been shattered into pieces by the Mighty Thor in order to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. With the pieces scattered across the globe, Thor’s villainous brother Loki devises a scheme to clone its powers, inciting a threat that could not only decimate Earth but also obliterate the Universe.

When it rains, it S'mores! #StreamTeam

Being on a limited budget in our household means having to create our own little adventures.  Although we love playing outdoors, we also enjoy our rainy days.  It gives us the time to cuddle up and spend some quality time together.  So. . . what can you do when you're "stuck" inside?  At our house we play dress-up (and no, you're never too old to play dress-up!), some classic board games, we bake, and our fave thing to do is escape in some of Netflix's awesome content while enjoying our famous "Indoor-Smores".  What makes them famous, you might ask?  Well, not much, except for the fact that I make them.  My little one will not have it any other way!

We recently attended a Dragons-themed event in the heart of Toronto's very own Distillery District.  We watched an advanced screening of the first 2 episodes of Netflix DreamWorks' "Dragons: Race To The Edge" series.  It was a day jam-packed with activities and snacks.

Hey, #WannaPlay?

With the Pan Am games in town, my little one loves to try all the fun tricks that she sees the gymnasts doing on tv.  It's amazing to see how inspired she is by all of the amazing athletes that have been welcomed to our great city.  Our couches have magically turned into make-shift trampolines, there have been many attempts at "synchronized" swimming in our tiny backyard pool with her cousins, and running laps around the park with our pups, all to get the gold medal!

Tangerine Bank+Steve Nash = #BrightWayForward

The Stuff Legends Are Made Of

About 2 weeks ago, my kiddo and I were invited to attend a special event being held at the YMCA hosted by Tangerine Bank.  While she's not very athletic, she had an absolute blast and was especially thrilled when she realized that she had just played basketball with one of the greats!  She still hasn't stopped talking about it.

We left that day learning a little more about what it means to work towards your dreams.  Hard work, drive, and passion all play a roll in achieving them.  Tangerine Bank has partnered with Steve Nash to help empower young Canadians.  Not only are they providing the resources to help teach financial awareness and responsibility, but they are also giving them the tools to gain the confidence and skill they'll need in the future.

Find Your Voice! #RedDotSafeSpot

Bully vs. Bullee

Sure they sound the same, but they are vastly different.  One does the hurting physically and/or mentally, the other is hurt.  One does the teasing, pushing, shoving, the other is teased, pushed, and shoved.  Alright, so "Bullee" isn't really a word, but is there actually a word for the one suffering?  I remember being in highschool, barely 16 and having just "come out" to a few of my friends.  It was such a scary, yet liberating moment for me.  It wasn't until I was in a relationship (with my then girlfriend/now wife) that things got complicated for me.  Coming from a Catholic family, attending a Catholic highschool, and being gay weren't three things that necessarily went together.  I definitely learned that the hard way after one of my so-called friends outed us to practically the entire school.  Being gay didn't change who I was as a person, but to some it changed who they became towards me.  The names we were called, the out-casting from certain school events, and even during a religious retreat!  Let's just say that the last 2 years of highschool weren't exactly pleasant, to say the least!  The only thing I'm thankful for is that all of this took place long before the internet was a "thing".  It was hard enough being bullied at school, I couldn't imagine it following me home, like it does with kids today.  Skipping ahead a few years, shortly after our wedding, we decided it was time to grow our family. Let me tell you, making this decision was very tough for us as we had to factor in how having 2 moms might affect our unborn child.  We thought long and hard, and in the end decided that there was nothing wrong with having 2 loving parents (regardless of gender) who would do anything and everything to ensure their child's happiness.

Dear Winter, I'm Ready To Let You Go! #DisneyOnIceInsider

Dear Winter,
I'm ready to Let You Go, but not without one last warm hug from Olaf that is!
This February has officially gone on record as being one of the coldest since the 70's!  As March rolls around, I'm hoping February has taken the cold weather with it!  Not sure if you've heard that even the Harlan City Police department put out an APB alert for Elsa this year!  Don't believe me, check it out!
Click photo to be directed to HPD FB page!
With March Break quickly approaching, I couldn't think of a sweeter send-off to old man winter than a getting a nice warm hug from Olaf himself!  We're taking our little princess to see Anna, Elsa, Sven, Hans, Olaf and the rest of the Cast and Crew!

I Have To Make A Confession . . .

So here it goes . . .

I like to use exclamation points . . . A LOT!

Please forgive me if you see these more than you should throughout my blog posts.  I can't help it, sometimes a period just won't do, you know?

10 Things You Should Know About Me!

10 fun (and true) facts about little ol' me!

 1) I was born in the Azores and migrated to Canada when I was only 5.

2) I became a Canadian Citizen in 2010.  I don't know why I waited so long?!?

3) My truest of true passions is music.

4) I can play all sorts of instruments, here's a list of the ones I can think of right now: the flute, guitar, bass guitar, drums (full kit), clarinet, trumpet, alto/soprano/tenor saxophone, campanelli, and recently got into digital DJing (in all reality, who hasn't AMIRIGHT?!?!?)

5) I believe in "The Secret" and similar teachings.  While I don't believe ALL of it, I've been able to pick out little nuggets that have worked for me and stuck with them.

6) I've been happily married to my highschool sweetheart for 11 years, we've been together for 18! We have a beautiful daughter, not biologically my own but if you put us side by side, you wouldn't know it.

7) I wrote a book at 19 that I have yet to finish. Maybe this will be the year, who knows?

8) I'm short.  No seriously, like short-short.  Like Five-Foot-Nothing short.  And I'm okay with that.

9) I'm a HUGE UFC fan.  I've also met Dana White on many occassions, he even saved me some pretty awesome tickets for the last event in Toronto.  I was pretty stoked to say the least.

10) I love animals.  I have 1 cat which I've had since I was 19, 3 dogs, 1 rescue JRT and two Morkies which have all stolen my heart.  I also had 2 fish, but lets just say I'm not good with fish and leave it at that.

So there it is, 10 things about me to give you some insight into me and my family.  Did I leave anything out you'd like to know more about?  Let me know in the comments below :)

Why 2015 Won't Suck!

Here are 5 reasons why 2015 won't suck:

Maple Leaf Monster Jam Tour #Toronto #Giveaway

Free Printable #MyMonsterJam colour sheet!
I can't be the only one who has never been to one of these events right? Please tell me I'm not alone?  The first thing that comes to mind when I think Monster Truck Jams is those "SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY" commercials that used to run on tv (not sure if they still do now, but I haven't seen them in a while!) I see big wheels crushing tiny cars, doing massive flips, and putting on an awesome show. I never got to attend as a child, but am fortunate enough to be providing this opportunity to my little girl! If you've been to one of these before, do you have any