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  • MAY THE 4TH BE WITH YOU…

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: bloggers, books, cocktail deeva, fabulous, family, kids, lifestyles, review, Toronto

    Comments Off on May the 4th Be With You…

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    1977, 1980, 1983…I was 6,9 and 12 and used my allowance money t head to the theater to see what are, in my opinion, 3 of the best movies ever made. AS a kid I was a huge fan of the Star War series and at the time had no clue I would be able to relive that through my children two more times.

    1999,2002,2005… The next three Star Wars installments arrived, although not my favorite in the series. Non the less, it rekindled my love for the movies and introduced the phenomenon to my eldest two children and started them on their Jedi journey.

    2015 … My love for the Star Wars of old is once again renewed and my two youngest children, who of course we well on their Jedi journey to many rainy day Star Wars marathons. Got to experience the magic of seeing the Millennium Falcon hit warp speed on the big screen.

    To get ready for May the 4th we thought about watching all the movies again but my 8 year son asked if we could have a Star Wars Lego video game marathon instead. Not gonna lie…this option would not be my first pick, I am not much of a gamer.

    Instead we compromised with these amazing books from DK Books Canada.

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    These books are filled with really cool Star Wars knowledge, fun facts, mixed with the fun and sillyness if the Lego Star Wars Video game and cartoon characters. They were a huge hit with my crew and they sat for hours..yes hours…reading through them, laughing and chatting all things Star Wars and all things Lego…

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    I…poured myself a large glass of red wine and sat and enjoyed watching them …Be sure to check out DK Canada’s Heroes and Villains Boutique for more great titles.

    To celebrate May the 4th Be With You…DK Canada has fun downloadable Star Wars activity pages for free. With coloring and trivia it is the perfect way to brush up on your Star Wars knowledge before the big day.

    Of course we ended a fun day of reading, learning and playing with a tribute to the original masterpiece…

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    Looks like someone is already working on her Dark Side …

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    Thank you to DK Canada books for sending us such a great surprise …It was a huge hit!

    Cheers

     

  • EATING WELL WITH CANOLA

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: baking, bloggers, celebrity chef, christmas, cocktail deeva, cooking, dinner party, entertaining, fabulous, family, giveaway, Holiday, home, lifestyles, Party, recipe, recipes, review, social media, Tips, Toronto

    18 Comments

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    Over the past few months Canola Eat Well for Life has been traveling across Canada cooking up a storm from coast to coast. I had the great pleasure of hosting the grand finale at Olde Bridge Place in my kitchen with some amazing people and an FABOOSH baker.

    Cook book author Charmain Christie known as The Messy Baker joined us to give us the 101 on baking with Canola.

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    We set on a an afternoon journey of baking 6 amazing recipes all using Canola…

    The Messy Baker used the Canola in these recipes like you would any other oils or butters. No fancy changes had to be made and the finished products were just FABOOSH. Not to mention that Canola is a good fat. Love the ‘Fat Chart’ they provide on their site. They also have a very handy Canola Oil baking conversion chart...Which is great when you avoid doing math at all costs like myself.

    Here is a fun chart I now have posted in my pantry for easy use.

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    The day was filled with tips, tricks and so much knowledge. Both about baking and Canola itself. One of my faves came from The Messy Baker herself.

    “If you’re baking with sticky ingredients like honey or molasses, measure the canola first, but don’t scrape it all out. It will grease the measuring cup so that the sticky ingredient slides right out.”

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    So simple right! This will save me so much frustration and RE-washing of measuring cups. I knew Canola was a healthy choice in my cooking but had no idea it was versatile in baking.

    Another thing I learned that day is that not all Canola is created equal. Just like many oils and fine wines there are different grades of Canola and we had the pleasure of baking with some Pristine Gourmet Canola that is a pure virgin oil. This oil has a more robust flavour and is a favourite for chefs. It has the lowest saturated fats of all oils and can be used in raw or cooked recipes.

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    And what is a party without GAMES…

    I love learning new things and today was all about the “Canola Crush”..Which is a simple as it sounds. You crush the Canola seeds and VOILA..You have oil. And we could not have asked for a more picturesque place to do it than on the front lawn of Olde Bridge Place on the banks of the Grand River by the Kissing Bridge.

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    Look at this crew of freshly inspired Canola bakers… HUGE thanks to Canola Eat Well and Charmian Christie The Messy Baker…We are all ready to head into the holiday season inspired to make delicious and healthier treats for our loved ones.

    This would not be a proper baking post without sharing some screen licking worthy pictures of our finished products…

    Cranberry Pistachio Baklava

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    Chocolate Chip and Walnut Cookies ( better than my moms but don’t tell her)

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    Poppy Seed Bars with Citrus Icing

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    You can find all the recipes along with so many more both cooking and baking on the Canola Eat Well website. They have a great section right now featuring Holiday baking from Coast to Coast.

    Happy Holidays and Happy Baking to you and yours.. CHEERS

    The Messy Bakers book makes a fabulous Holiday or Hostess gift!!

    AND YOU CAN WIN A COPY!!

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    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    *The wonderful Photography by Jeffrey Chan courtesy of Canola Eat Well.

    *This is a sponsored post and I was the host of the event.

     

  • HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: believe, bloggers, christmas, cocktail deeva, cocktaildeeva, cocktails, contest, decorate, dinner party, entertaining, fabulous, family, giveaway, Holiday, home, humour, lifestyles, Party, social media, Tips, trends

    97 Comments

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    I love all the holidays. I am a sucker for food, family, costumes, decorating: anything that has a party vibe. However, the Christmas holidays are by far my favourite. It may have something to do with growing up with the ‘Griswolds’. My parents would decorate the house from top to bottom, inside and out. There would be an EPIC back yard hockey game.IMG_2584 My mother and my grandmother would bake enough Christmas cookies to feed a small city, or two. In all this ‘It’s a Wonderful Life-isms’, by far my favourite is the tradition of my parents hosting the neighbourhood open house every Christmas Eve…I LOVED IT! My parents had the cheesy fake wood veneer bar in the burgundy carpet-adorned basement. My dad would mix drinks and spin the 8 tracks. That was until I became a bartender and the cheesy bar became all mine. All in all, the holidays growing up for me were all about us kids.

    It is not surprising that all my family’s traditions are the ones I grew up with.

    I love my home and I so look forward to dressing it up for the holidays. I just can’t wait until Halloween and Thanksgiving are over so I can get into the basement and dust off the Christmas decorations. Finding a home for all the sparkle and family treasures, it is like my own special Christmas morning.

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    The cookie baking tradition is by far my favourite, although it means a lot of mess. As messy as this tradition is, my controlling, neat-freak OCD side goes nuts. Two of my four children have November birthdays so ‘Christmas Cookie Baking Parties’ have always been a staple in our home. Sprinkles, icing and flour OH MY! All worth it to see the sticky finger licking kids, covered in flour and green sprinkles smiling and laughing while learning in the kitchen. This tradition encompasses so many amazing things I would never trade it for a perfectly clean house. And the best part of all is the amazing smell of cookies baking! I love how just the familiar scent of holiday cookies in the oven can instantly make me feel like I’m right back there in my childhood home, helping my mom and grandma bake dozens upon dozens of cookies.

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    Following in my father’s footsteps, my husband and I have always opened our home every Christmas Eve to our family and neighbours. On a ‘pop-in-if-you-can’ type of invite, it is always an amazing night. I love to have fun with it and do a ‘naughty and nice list’ table cloth; it’s a simple and very inexpensive way of making your guests feel special and adding whimsy to your party. This night is full of joy, sharing, anticipation and the best part – it ends early. People start coming by around 4:00 and all are gone by around 9 to get ready for the big guys’ appearance. I have met so many amazing people because of this tradition. There is something very special about sharing your home with friends and strangers alike.

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    Finally, the season really is all about the kids. We all know the kids love the ‘Big Guy’ so why not make him the star of your party? Every Christmas Eve my computer transforms into the NORAD Santa Tracker and it is a HUGE hit with the kids. They love to check in and see where he is delivering his toys, watch the videos and see how long before he works his way into our time zone. This way all the kids can scurry home, leave out their cookies and carrots, and make sure all the Elves are nestled in their beds. On Christmas morning my favourite tradition is the single mandarin orange in the toe of each stocking. The smell takes me back to my childhood and brings back so many wonderful holiday memories.

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    Regardless of how you celebrate the holidays or what holidays you celebrate, the most important thing is to surround yourself with those who matter. That is truly the greatest gift.

    In keeping with the holiday spirit and gift giving, to help you make more wonderful holiday memories.  I am giving away a weekend at Olde Bridge Place, my country Inn in the heart of Mennonite country beside the last covered bridge in West Montrose, Ontario. Known as the Kissing Bridge. 

    Just minutes away from the historic St Jacobs market   , charming village of St Jacobs and the wonderful downtown and gorges of Elora.

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    Your weekend of memory making will include 2 nights in the Kissing Bridge suite. A fabulous 2 room suite with king size bed , full kitchen and living room. A Cozy fireplace and your very own private porch over looking the Grand River and so close to the Kissing Bridge you can almost touch it. Also included is a delicious farm style breakfast for both mornings that you prepare at you leisure in your suite.

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    Good Luck …and I can’t wait to be part of your holiday memories.
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    *Giveaway does not include travel. Not valid on long weekend or holidays. This prize is valued at $370 and has no expiry.

    Happy Holidays
    Cheers

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    This post is sponsored by Pine-Sol. With a strong heritage and long legacy, Pine-Sol is a long-standing tradition in many Canadian homes. Apart from the classic pine scent, Pine-Sol is also available in a variety of long-lasting scents – mandarin sunrise, lavender, lemon and sparkling wave. The smell of pine and mandarin always remind me of the holidays! So, you can use different scents throughout your home to change the mood too.