Things I Love Thursday: pineapple upside down cake that I don’t have to make! plus a contest!

tilt.jpgOver at The Diaper Diaries, it’s time for Jill’s weekly “Things I Love Thursday” blog carnival. This week I am sharing a delicious dessert that is so retro not only will you want to serve it again and again, you’ll want to make Spam appetizers, a sputnik cheese ball and maybe those Swedish meatballs in a fancy sauce that we didn’t know until later was melted grape jelly and ketchup!

Yes, I’m woman enough to admit that I bought this President’s Choice Pineapple Upside Down Cakes dessert by its cover—who could resist that happy homemaker, in the upper-left corner, with her teeny waist and coifed hair and “there’s-a-martini-on-the-sideboard-for-you-dear” air of confidence about her?!?

If I serve these pineapple upside down cakes to my family, I too could pop right onto that box!

So $6.99 later, there we were, lined up in front of the microwave, elbowing and guilting for position—”I was at school longer than you!” “Yeah, well I carried the groceries in!” “Mum should go first, she works hardest!” That’s what I said. These little cakes are delish—sponge cake, the pineapple slice, sweet caramel sauce (not enough, mind you, but for me there never is). Each cake (you get four in the box) has 16 g of fat, takes 55 seconds in the microwave and can be eaten in one to five minutes, depending on your willpower. And, get this, they’re a product of Canada!

Now, you have three things to do:
1) leave me a hello below
2) pop over to The Diaper Diaries and see what other things make the Things I Love list
3) click over to enter my contest. Want to win three Consonant Body Organic Skincare products from the Pure collection? They are perfect for babies, children, pregnant women and anyone with sensitive skin or a sensitive nose, because these products have no added colours or scents, organic or otherwise.

The giveaway consists of a full-size Pure Unscented Body Wash, Pure Unscented Body Lotion and the Organic Olive Oil Pure Unscented Soap. All you need to do is answer one of my questions in this post (or more, if you’d like), so click and enter my contest!

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Things I Love Thursday: Consonant soaps and a contest!

tilt.jpgOver at The Diaper Diaries, it’s time for Jill’s weekly “Things I Love Thursday” blog carnival. A couple of months ago I did my TILT (Things I Love Thursday) posting and held a contest to give away what I loved. It was a success, so I did it again, this time using a huge messenger bag from Teletoon, stuffed with Teletoon-themed DVDs, books, travel mug, school supplies, and the winner is HenniPenni! You can read all about this uber-cool great-grandmother who loves the Simpsons in this post. And I’ll be doing a giveaway on the fabulous line I’m talking about today!

PhotobucketPhotobucketWhile I am the first person to scoff at hokey ad come-ons, “Change your TV, change your life,” and the way they drill concepts into the brains of our kids (and us!), I am a sucker for well-written, clever copy. Hence my very first impression of Consonant Body Organic Skincare’s body soap. I picked up the box, turned it over in my hand and read:

“Well look at you, you unapologetically discerning shopper. you. Holding this bar of organic body soap just inches from your meticulously groomed face. Examining every last detail. Ensuring it contains the finest quality natural ingredients. Wondering whether it’s safe for all skin types and hoping you are right for such a great product.

“Well, it does. And it is. And you are.”

Obviously this has to be a superior soap, because it has superior copy! How clever, how tongue-in-cheek, how presumptuous! I loved it before I even opened the box, which, when I did, let escape a wonderful “eat me, chew, me, spread me on your skin” fragrance of spearmint and sage. Folded carefully into the box was a slice of loofah, all the better to exfoliate, and a bonus since I had no idea it would be there.

I received three soaps, and have tried all three. Warm, gentle and rich describe them. The scents are subtle, and even the exfoliating soaps feel soft and gentle. The slogan for Consonant Body is “What goes on your body goes in your body,” and so only the puest and fewest ingredients are used. The president of the company, Bill Baker, says “Our bodies can’t process all the chemicals we absorb. They are ‘persistent bio-cumulative,’ and as they build in our bodies they are irritating at best; toxic and dangerous at worst.” Consonant Body products have no parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, artificial colours, dyes or synthetic fragrances—all those things you usually see on the shampoo bottle if you can focus your eyes in the shower.

I have tried the body wash and the body moisturizer too—both are amazing—but I’m stuck on the soaps for now. These are the types:

  • clove (organic vanilla, buttermilk and clove oil)
  • goat’s milk (organic vanilla and goat’s milk)
  • goat’s milk and hemp (organic oatmeal, shredded hemp and goat’s milk)
  • olive oil (organic beeswax, spring water and glycerin)
  • spearmint and sage (organic citrus oil, spearmint and sage)
  • spearmint and sage with exfoliating sage (hominy grits, dillweed, polenta, oatbran, spearmint and sage)

This company is Canadian (yay!), and just starting out, with plans to expand its line of soaps, body washes and body lotions to products for the face (double yay!).

And the best news for you: Consonant Body Organic Skincare is providing me with a giveaway of items from the Pure collection, perfect for babies, children, pregnant women and anyone with sensitive skin or a sensitive nose, because this line has no added colours or scents, organic or otherwise.

The giveaway consists of a full-size Pure Unscented Body Wash, Pure Unscented Body Lotion and the Organic Olive Oil Pure Unscented Soap. And all you need to do is answer one of my questions (or more, if you’d like).

QUESTIONS FOR YOU: on a scale of 1 (not important at all) to 10 (vitally important), how imortant is organic purity in what you put on your body? How important is organic purity in what you put on your face? How important is organic purity in what you put IN your body? Would you buy a skin care product from the internet after researching it and finding good reviews? Or would you have to be able to try it, or at least examine it, in store before buying? And last, but not least, who would you buy a $12 bar of organic soap for: yourself? your partner? your teen? your grade-schooler? your baby?

That’s it! Post an answer and maybe you’ll be loving your skin with Consonant Body products. Contest closes January 30th, so spread the word, get your mum to enter, your sister, your friend—just decide ahead of time if you’re sharing!

You can buy all the Consonant products online from Consonant Body, or in Toronto at Delineation, Lileo, Outer Layer and Pir Cosmetics.

Good luck!

Things I Love Thursday: Amazing Baby by Desmond Morris PLUS a contest!

tilt.jpgThis blog carnival is called Things I Love Thursday. The rules are simple: “pick an actual thing that you love. Feel free to do a product review, but make sure to let your readers know that you have been supplied with the product to review so we are keepin’ it honest.” This Thursday the thing I love is a book, Amazing Baby by Desmond Morris, and the publisher—Firefly Books—has given me two copies (hardcover, $40) and they’re both up to be won! Read on!

This post could also be called People I Love, and right there beside Tessa, Graydon and Luka (my three babies) would be Desmond Morris. It was his book The Naked Ape that made loving my babies as easy as it was. This new book—Amazing Baby—will do the same for every parent or parent-to-be who reads it. It is sumptuous to look at and hold, with the most beautiful photography and glassine paper overlays, and so freeing in the text that if you don’t have a baby to hold, I’m pretty sure you’ll be visiting a friend with a baby to get some cuddle time. I tried Ferberizing my first baby, and quit after about, well, one night. Morris gave me the permission I needed to respond to her cries and need to be held and fed when she wanted, not when a silly routine said to. He said we were the only mammal on earth to intentionally separate mother from baby, and that it was unnatural. That sounded sound to me. I responded to my babies’ cries, coos, outstretched arms, all on their schedules, not mine. Family bed, too. Attachment parenting is a lovely thing.

Amazing Baby traces the first two years of babies, with insight on their biology, development and behaviour. It’s an unmitigated lovefest of babies. You know who can say it best? Mr. Desmond. Click to see his two-minute spot on YouTube—again, I love this man.

Can you tell how much I love his book too???

So, how can you win one?

Answer this question: What is the most amazing thing about a baby in your life?

A panel of three will choose two lucky winners next Friday, November 28 December 7. I forgot my American readers will be having Thanksgiving and their Black Friday frenzy, so I’ve extended the contest a week. Grab a coffee and think about those warm, wonderful, trusting little humans and get writing!

For more excellent things that bloggers love, check out The DiaperDiaries.net.


Things I Love Thursday: leaving the holiday planning to someone else!

tilt.jpgThis blog carnival is called Things I Love Thursday. The rules are simple: “pick an actual thing that you love. Feel free to do a product review, but make sure to let your readers know that you have been supplied with the product to review so we are keepin’ it honest.” Well, this little service is free for the asking! For more excellent things that bloggers love, check out The DiaperDiaries.net.

For years I was the most organized Christmas person alive. I started buying and stockpiling presents in February, always finishing before October, even my handmade gifts. Cards all written out and mailed in time. Baking finished in time, some of it frozen, some of it stored. I even ran a fair number of the holiday initiatives in my former office—staff children’s party, gift exchange, champagne breakfast, corporate gifting for my department.

Then came kids and Santa got involved, then came all kinds of other things and details and I turned to the professional: Cynthia (the CEO) of organizedhome.com. She had a Christmas countdown that caught me speechless (I know, it doesn’t happen very often!): daily emails nagging reminding me what to do, who to contact, what to bake, where to clean, all with the goal of being practically task-free by the first week of December. And it works, by gum!

It was just difficult to also have a job and a family and a desire to sleep four hours a night.

So this year, I’m taking a new organized approach: I’ve signed on for the Canadian Living’s Holiday Countdown, which is six weeks of daily emails to guide the not-so-organized into organizational nirvana. At least as far as the holidays are concerned. If you want to give it a whirl, click here and go down the list of helpful newsletters (no joke, I get four of them) and put a check beside the 50-day Holiday Countdown. It begins November 12, and promises lovely holiday recipes, entertaining and decorating tips, without the guilt brought on by other countdowns (“If you haven’t baked and frozen eight tortieres by this morning, you will have no breakfast on the 25th. No time to cry. Start wiring pinecones!”).

For more excellent things that my peeps love, check out The DiaperDiaries.net.

QUESTIONS FOR YOU: is it too too early top think about Christmas for you?? Have you used a planner like this to remind you and keep you “in the season?” Do you need a reminder service, or do your holiday preps run like clockwork already?


Things I Love Thursday: party invitations

tilt.jpgThis blog carnival is called Things I Love Thursday. The rules are simple: “pick an actual thing that you love. Feel free to do a product review, but make sure to let your readers know that you have been supplied with the product to review so we are keepin’ it honest.” This isn’t a true product review, just a posting on something I love. For more excellent things that bloggers love, check out The DiaperDiaries.net.

Now, you might be thinking that I love grown-up party invitations, but no, I’m talking about party invites for little kids. it never mattered what the mood, how rainy the day or how tough a day it had been at school, when a party invitation fell out of a backpack or there was a knock on the door and an envelope came through the slot with a kiddie’s name on it, it was instant HAPPY. A grin from ear to ear, wide-open eyes, little up-and-down hops and a flood of: “I heard about this party but I didn’t know if I’d be invited what should I get for a present oh wait I know he loves Lego when is it I can’t swim does that matter can I give him and me matching tattoos we have to go shopping should I make a card???”

Luka, my seven year old, has invites to three parties in the next two weeks. This is a boy who was invited to three birthdays in all of Grade 1. Now it’s halfway through October in Grade 3 and he’s been to four parties already and by the end of the month, that’ll be seven. I am so happy for him, because he used to be a very quiet, kinda shy little guy, and now he’s so thrilled to be included.

Check out this fabulous printable birthday invite by Jessica Jones!

Got a party coming up? You can Google for printable invitations, and come up with tons of choices, like fun kid invites from PBS. Over at Hostess with the Mostest you’ll find a fabulous guest posting by Jessica Jones of How About Orange with the cutest free customizable printable invites and flowers for decorations—that’s them above. For an email or postable-bloggable e-invite, be sure to check out SmileBox.com, where even a techno-feeb like moi can make a cool, video- and photo-personalized invitation that can walk the eco-talk (no paper).

Anyway, it’s so much fun to see my little guy’s joy at being included that party invitations are some of the Things I Love!

For more excellent things that my peeps love, check out The DiaperDiaries.net.

QUESTIONS FOR YOU: have you sent an email birthday party invite yet? Have you printed or designed one yourself? What about just a telephone invitation, parent to parent, for a kid’s party? And the final question, do you forget to RSVP??


Things I Love Thursday: Rescue Remedy

tilt.jpgThis blog carnival is called Things I Love Thursday. The rules are simple: “pick an actual thing that you love. Feel free to do a product review, but make sure to let your readers know that you have been supplied with the product to review so we are keepin’ it honest.” Yes, here is an endorsement to be sure, but again, it is a product I have always paid for, and have not been supplied with for the purpose of a review. For more excellent things that we love, check out The DiaperDiaries.net.

rescueremedy.jpgI was introduced to Bach’s Rescue Remedy maybe 20 years ago when my ancient Himalayan kitty Suki stopped letting me comb her out, and I had to resort to a groomer. This groomer was fabulous (the only one I have ever used), and let me in on one of her secrets—a drop of this herbal tincture, and my kitty would enjoy be groomed, clipped and sheared. And there was a million dollars in my bathtub too, I thought.

Shame on doubting me! The Rescue Remedy worked. The groomer said she was including the bottle in the original price of the service, because since I had “two cats, two kids, a job and a husband” she told me it would work equally well for all of us! It took me a trip to a health food store to confirm it, but yes, it could be used for people too. I tried it for anxiety-producing situations: large-group meetings with lots of stress; scary trips to doctors; a flight. I did not give it to the kidlets. Gravol had the reverse effect on Graydon—wound him up like a top—so nothing like that for them. But for me? Excellent. Continue reading

Mom blog: GPS kids’ jacket—save me!

Mom Blogger Jacquelyn

I’m sure you heard about the wonder in child-tracking devices for those of us in the frozen north—the BladeRunner GPS children’s jacket. The U.K.-based company BladeRunner announced it was coming out with the jacket in late September, and released it October 20.

It looks like the typical GAP-style fluff-filled parka, but Continue reading