Recipe: Cheesy Beef Skillet Dinner

Despite the repetitive menu requests from my kids – we can’t have quesadillas for dinner every day, so I’ve tried another cheesy, delicious, Cook With Campbell’s recipe that incorporates some of my children’s favourite ingredients: meat, cheese, and macaroni noodles -> the Cheesy Beef Skillet Dinner.

As all Campbell’s recipes, this one was super easy to make – requiring only one pot (for the noodles), and one pan/skillet (for everything else). This was the perfect meal for a busy evening packed with extracurricular activities (post-soccer game dinner perfection) – and super tasty too!

Cook With Campbell

Ingredients: 

1 tbsp (15 mL) canola oil
1 lb (454 g) lean ground beef
1 tbsp (15 mL) steak spice
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 cups (500 mL) button mushrooms, sliced
1 can (796 mL) tomatoes, diced
1 can (284 mL) CAMPBELL’S® Low Fat Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard
2 cups (500 mL) macaroni, cooked to al dente and drained
3 cups (750 mL) aged Cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
1/4 cup (60 mL) green onion, chopped

Directions:

1) Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Crumble in ground beef; season with steak spice. Cook, breaking up into small pieces, for 5 to 7 minutes or until browned. Add onion, green pepper and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp.

2) Stir in tomatoes, soup and mustard. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in cooked macaroni and 1 cup (250 mL) cheese until well combined.

3) Sprinkle the top with remaining cheese and green onion. Cover and remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

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Bee’s Take:

1) I like my cheese a little brown and crispy. If you do too, I would suggest popping the finished skillet meal into the oven for a few minutes under the broiler.

2) For picky eaters who aren’t crazy about mushrooms, I think this dinner would be equally as delicious using Campbell’s Cream of Broccoli Soup, and perhaps replacing the mushrooms with fresh broccoli.

3) The leftovers made the most delicious lunch the next day, perfect for a work-from-home mom like me. I may have added some extra melted cheese on top.

4) Don’t forget to cook the macaroni noodles first so they’re all ready to add at the end!

*****

Disclosure: I am part of the Campbell Company of Canada Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Recipe: Cheesy Chicken Quesadillas

My kids are very picky eaters. So picky, that if the daily dinner menu were up to them, we would be rotating between 3 dinner favourites: my homemade mac n’ cheese, my famous chicken broccoli bake, and my super-simple cheese quesadillas. Are you seeing a common theme here? Cheese. And bread.

And while I can’t blame them for loving two of my most favourite food groups, the mom in me feels as though they need more substance (and healthier ingredients) in their meals. Cue my pick for this month’s Cook With Campbell’s easy & delicious recipe: Cheesy Chicken Quesadillas.

(Spoiler Alert: despite the misleading title, vegetables are aplenty in this one)

Quesadillas

 Ingredients:

1 tbsp (15 mL)    canola oil
1/2    red onion, sliced
1    red pepper, sliced
1    green pepper, sliced
1 tsp (5 mL)    chili powder
1 can (284 mL)    Campbell’s® Cheddar Cheese Soup
3/4 cup (185 mL)    Pace® salsa, plus additional for serving
3 cups (750 mL)    shredded cooked chicken
1/4 cup (60 mL)    chopped green onion
4    large flour tortillas
1/4 cup (60 mL)    sour cream

Quesadillas 

Directions:

1) Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet set over medium heat. Add onion, red pepper, green pepper and chili powder. Cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Reduce to medium-low heat. Stir in soup and salsa.

2) Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until peppers are tender-crisp. Stir in chicken. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until heated through; cool for 10 minutes. Stir in green onion.

3) Spread a quarter of the chicken filling over half of a tortilla; fold tortilla over to enclose filling. Repeat with remaining chicken filling and tortillas.

4) Set a clean skillet over medium heat; coat with nonstick cooking spray. Toast quesadilla, in batches, for 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Cut each quesadilla into wedges. Serve with additional salsa and sour cream.

Bee’s Take:

1) Don’t forget to cook the chicken first! I was so wrapped up in the oozy gooey deliciousness of the vegetable/sauce mix, that I almost forgot to cook up some chicken to complete this delicious meal.

2) I found it to be a bit tricky to eat these yummy quesadillas without losing some of the contents – I suggest wrapping the delicious filling like a burrito to keep it all tucked in.

3) Next time I’ll add a little hot sauce to my portion to spice things up a bit!

*****

Disclosure: I am part of the Campbell Company of Canada Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Big Topics, Little Kids: 4 Books That Got My Kids Through Hard Times

Children are often faced with larger-than-life experiences that can be difficult for parents to explain to them in a comprehensible way. Through the art of storytelling, parents can explain big topics to their children using words and events that they can relate to. When my children are faced with new challenges, I look for books that cover the topics in a relatable way, and read to them regularly so that they can feel comfortable with the big topics that they are faced with. Here are 4 books from our collection that have helped us to explain big topics to our little kids:

Boy Soup (Canadian)

by Loris Lesynski

illustrated by Michael MartchenkoTD Reads

Boy Soup is a book about a Giant who has fallen ill, who discovers in his “Home Medical Guide” that the only way to cure his sickness is to eat “boy soup”. Eager to regain his health, the Giant seeks out a group of boys (and happens to capture a girl as well), and plans to use them as the main ingredients in his soup. Through clever plans and imaginative adventures, Kate and the boys convince the Giant that the soup is actually to be made by boys, not with boys in it. The group of kids work together, and in the end, become friends with the Giant.

We received this book last year as part of the TD Grade One Book Giveaway, and the detailed, colourful graphics and comical, yet meaningful moral of the story were a great way to engage my children in a book about the benefits of working together as a team. While most of the time they are the best of friends, my two eldest children often butt heads, fighting over who is in charge, what games to play, and how things should be done. This book encourages children to use their imaginations, and to work together to resolve problems.


Luna Chip & Inkie in Which Way Back? (Canadian)

by Michael Mayes

illustrated by Rory O’SullivanTD Reads

Another book that has been great for encouraging the message of teamwork and the benefits of working together is Which Way Back? – a Luna,Chip & Inkie Adventure. The three critters get lost in the forest and fear they will never find their way out. Through working together and contributing each of their unique talents, they manage to find their way home. Created by BC’s Knowledge Network, this action-packed and colourful story encourages children to hone in on their own unique talents while recognizing the talents of their friends, and how to  find a solution to a problem while working as a team. A great lessons for duelling siblings.


Welcome to Kindergarten

by Anne RockwellTD Reads

Transitioning to full-day Kindergarten can be an intimidating experience for young children. Welcome to Kindergartenis a great story about a boy who spends a day walking through what is soon to be his new Kindergarten class on student orientation day. As he strolls through the school, his mom explains to him everything that he can expect – from the large clock on the wall, to the reading centre, to the other children and how they will be experiencing the same things as he will.

The story provides a comforting, yet detailed explanation on the importance of school and all of the fun things that children can look forward to experiencing while they’re there – in simple words that kids can understand. Reading this book helped to smooth the transition to school for my eldest, and I plan on reading it to my second child as he approaches his first day of Kindergarten soon too.


Baby on the Way

by William Sears, Martha Sears and Christie Watts Kelly

illustrated by Renee AndrianiTD Reads

Welcoming a new baby into the family can be one of the most overwhelming, confusing, and intimidating experiences a young child can face.Equipped with fears of the unknown, children can fear the arrival of their new little sibling instead of anticipating the fun that comes with welcoming a new little baby into their lives.

Baby on the Way is a great story about two children – a brother and sister – who are expecting a new little sibling to join their family. The book not only explains the exciting adventures to expect when welcoming a new baby into the family, but it covers all of the things to expect while living with a pregnant mommy as well. Filled with clever similes (“mommy’s feet will hurt, just like your feet feel when you try to squeeze them into last year’s shoes”), and detailed “Answers for the very curious” and “What you can do” calls to action, this book covers it all, and reassures your children that this new change to the family will be a fun and exciting one!


Reading with your children is a great way to bond, educate, and encourage them to explore and imagine new things. It’s a great way to open up conversations about life’s issues in a relatable way, and to foster a love of reading – an important life skill that they can carry through a lifetime.

What are some of your favourite books to read with your children?

Light Up The Holidays With The Nutcracker Ballet {Giveaway}

Last year was the first year that I was able to share my annual holiday tradition of seeing the Nutcracker ballet with my daughter, and it was a memorable mother-daughter experience that we will never forget. It was the first time that my little ballerina was able to watch professional dancers perform the Christmas-themed ballet on stage, and she watched the entire performance wide-eyed – completely in awe of the magic that unfolded on the stage before her.

This year I can’t wait to surprise her again with tickets to the Nutcracker (presented by Ballet BC), this time performed by Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet – one of the most prestigious dance companies in the country.

“We excitedly present this ballet each year as it ties our past to our future. With Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet celebrating its 75th Anniversary this year, we are very happy that Vancouver is part of our exciting touring season and that we are working with Ballet BC.”

– André Lewis, Artistic Director of Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet

Nutcracker

Photo by Vince Pahkala

Sprinkled with a few Canadian-themed surprises, this rendition of the Christmas classic promises to surprise and intrigue even the most knowledgeable of ballet connoisseurs, and the sparkling tutus, magical characters, and life-like set decor (snow falling from the sky – a childhood favourite scene) make the Nutcracker an unforgettable experience for the whole family to savour.

Not only is the Nutcracker the can’t-miss event of the holiday season, but it supports young artists across Canada who aspire to pursue a career in dance.

“Casting over 70 talented, aspiring young dancers from close to 20 dance schools across the Lower Mainland, this gives us a chance to support the local dance community. This marks the first opportunity for these young dancers to perform with a professional ballet company. We are excited to provide this experience to so many young artists.”

– Emily Molnar, Artistic Director of Ballet BC

Nutcracker

Photo by Vince Pahkala

Share this magical ballet adventure with your family and treat them to an evening they won’t forget.

In true Christmas spirit, I offer the gift of dance through a giveaway for Bits of Bee readers! Enter below for a chance to WIN a pair of tickets to this year’s unforgettable performance of the Nutcracker ballet.

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NUTCRACKER

Choreography: Galina Yordanova & Nina Menon
Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

QUEEN ELIZABETH THEATRE
DECEMBER 12 – 14, 2014 • Performances at 7:30 pm
DECEMBER 13 – 14, 2014 • Performances at 2:00pm

BUY TICKETS

 

Family Fun at the Grey Cup Festival {Giveaway}

Wrap up the Canadian football season with a 3-day festival full of fun for the whole family in downtown Vancouver from November 26th – November 30th!

Grey Cup

On November 30th, 2014, Vancouver will once again play host to the Grey Cup, the 102nd CFL championship game, which will be held at the home of our BC Lions – BC Place Stadium. This year’s Grey Cup Festival promises to be a ROARing good time for the whole family, with an epic line up of kid-friendly events and activities to get your family revved up and into the spirit of the game leading up to the final showdown of the season.

The Grey Cup Festival kicks off on November 26th, and includes a plethora of free events over 3 days for families to enjoy leading up to the final game on November 30th – including live concerts, a street festival, a parade, and an action-packed family zone!

Because the list of activities is so long, I thought I would share with you the top events for you to enjoy with the whole family:

TOP FAMILY EVENTS AT THE 102ND GREY CUP FESTIVAL IN VANCOUVER

Nissan Family Zone – Jack Poole Plaza, Nov 27-29, 11am-7pm (FREE)Grey Cup

Highlights:

  • Family-friendly live entertainment will be happening daily on the Canadian Direct Insurance Stage, featuring a lineup of talented performers.
  • The CN Safety Zone will be set up, including football tips and railway safety lessons from the experts.
  • Football BC will be running fun football activities – including the opportunity to toss the pigskin with a CFL alumni!
  • The Canadian Forces will be presenting a fun and interactive obstacle course for kids to get active!

TELUS Street Festival – Canada Place Way, Nov 27-29, 11am-9pm (FREE)Grey Cup

Highlights:

  • Live radio station broadcasts, food trucks and interactive exhibitors (face painting, photo booths and even a giant jenga game).
  • Experience 15 concerts over three days right in the heart of it all at the PlayNow.com Main Stage, featuring local up-and-coming Vancouver artists like Delhi 2 Dublin, The Matinee, BESTiE, Dominique Fricot and more. (Complete concert line up)

Save-On-Foods Grey Cup Festival Parade – Saturday, Nov 29 10am-12pm (FREE)

Start: 10:00am at Smithe & HornbyGrey Cup

Finish: 12:00pm at Dunsmuir & Granville

Winding through the streets of downtown Vancouver, the parade will be a celebration of Canadian football, spirit, and the coveted Grey Cup will make an appearance!  It promises to be an event filled with floats, marching bands, smiles, and fun.  Get ready to ROAR on the Shore starting at 10am! And be sure to catch the Purolator Tackle Hunger campaign. Purolator will be collecting non-perishable food items from the parade crowd, which will contribute to their Tackle Hunger campaign, providing food for those in need.

And More!

  • Cheerleader Extravaganza – see all of the teams’ cheerleaders and dance teams perform at the Vancouver Convention Centre in a FREE family friendly event
  • Calgary Grey Cup Committee Pancake Breakfast – FREE pancake breakfast from 11:00am-1:00pm Thurs + Fri on the PlayNow.com Main Stage
  • CFL Alumni Autograph Sessions – daily in the Vancouver Convention Centre from 11:00pm – 7:00pm

Don’t miss out on the party of the year!

GREY CUP FESTIVAL FAMILY FUN GIVEAWAY

Make your Grey Cup experience one-of-a-kind by entering for a chance to win this amazing family package, which includes:

  • Family Set of Official Grey Cup Festival Apparel ($250 value)
  • 4 VIP spots to the Grey Cup Parade (including breakfast) ($400 value)
  • 2 VIP Red Truck Lager Tailgate Concert Series passes (for the grown ups) ($300 value)
  • Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a child (aged 6-14) to be in the one of the VIP Vehicles in the Save-on-Foods Grey Cup Festival Parade!
  • TOTAL VALUE: $950!

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5 Reasons To Love VONBON {Review & Giveaway}

We’ve recently welcomed our third baby into the world, and while we love her to bits, I think she sometimes feels a little neglected. She often spends the entire day in her pyjamas, and while she’s only 4 months old,  I feel like she’s already starting to notice the lack of variety in her wardrobe.

I had been admiring VONBON Childrens Apparel for a long time through my Instagram and Facebook feeds, and was so excited when a little package full of beautifully-wrapped, organic goodies arrived at the door for my little girl.

VONBON

Cloey looked absolutely adorable in her new trendy garb, and I was pleased to discover that all of their products are not only high-quality and eco-friendly, but also fashionable and unique! After having enjoyed the VONBON experience firsthand, I thought I would share with you 5 reasons to love VONBON:

1) VONBON IS STYLISH. Incorporating modern designs with neutral colour palettes, VONBON products are perfect for any age, gender, and lifestyle. Their designs are fresh, and offer a fashion-forward alternative to the drab, colourless children’s clothes that are marketed as “gender neutral” in most shops.

2) VONBON IS LOCAL. I love supporting local businesses, and their products and apparel are designed and crafted right here in beautiful Vancouver, BC.

3) VONBON IS ORGANIC. Their products are made using certified organic cotton, and their fabrics are carefully crafted using water-based inks, making them safe for the environment and your little one’s sensitive skin.

VONBON

4) VONBON IS QUALITY. From the personalized notes that arrive with their orders, to the high-quality, premium fabrics and designs they use, their little touches make them a truly unique and stylish line of clothing.

5) VONBON IS UNIQUE. Each pattern is designed by the VONBON team, and the products have been created with the ability to mix-and-match every item, allowing their customers to create their own unique look and style.

VONBON 2

Not only do I love VONBON for my own little girl, but I think their products would make the perfect gift for baby showers, birthdays, and special occasions. Want to get your VONBON on?

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: Bits of Bee readers can enjoy a 15% off discount when using the code “BITSOFBEE”. Click on the image below to start shopping now. Note: Offer only valid from October 7, 2014 – October 31, 2014.

VONBON

WIN a $30 VONBON Gift Card: Enter below for a chance to win a gift card to VONBON Childrens Apparel!
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5 Ways Ordering Your Groceries Will Get You Out Of A Jam

Unfortunately, my fantasy of having a grocery store in my ‘hood that offers a full-service wine bar for moms has yet to become a reality, so I’ve settled on a new dream: groceries delivered straight to my door. Thanks to my local Save-On-Foods, this dream has become a realistic reverie.

Until recently, I was a terrible planner when it came to filling the cupboards in my home. I didn’t like to pre-plan a week’s worth of dinners (because: what if I were to change my mind?), and I didn’t like to do bulk shops (because: heavy bags), so I fell into a habit of twice-weekly binge shops.

The problem with my habit, was that I would stroll through the aisles with a rumbling belly and no plan in mind, and I would toss anything that tempted my tastebuds into my cart. The results? Cupboards full of unused ingredients, and a bill as long as my 9-year-old is tall.

When the online ordering feature was first launched at Save-On-Foods, I was skeptical. I worried that having someone else select my fruits and vegetables would result in spoiled or poorly-picked produce. It wasn’t until some friends shared their positive experiences with me that I decided to give it a try – and boy was it a life saver!

Here are five ways ordering online has gotten me out of a jam as a busy mom of three:

Click and pay during vacay. There’s nothing worse than returning home from a fun family vacation to an empty fridge. The last thing I want to do is hop back into my car and drag my feet down the grocery store aisles. Now that I’ve created a list of my favourite items on my Save-On-Foods profile, I simply go online, select my favourites, click and pay. As we unpack and unwind, my groceries arrive right at my door.

Cure those Sunday night blues. During the school year, Sunday nights can be a total downer. I tend to wrap up my weekends by tidying the house, helping the kids catch up on homework, and preparing for the dreaded ‘L’ word -lunches. Ordering online helps me skip a step as I rush around preparing for the week ahead.

Ease the extracurricular overload. Having 3 active kids means playing chauffeur to ballet, soccer, karate, guitar, skating, and gymnastics classes on almost every day of the week.  Ordering online allows me to quickly drive through the pick up lane at my local grocery store to grab my pre-ordered food, or arrive home to a delivery at my door. One less driving destination goes a long way.

Avoid the massive market meltdowns. For me, nothing is worse than dragging my 3 hungry kids along for a grocery shop. They get antsy, active, and eventually someone has a meltdown and we have to abort the mission. While I used to wait until my kids were in bed (sometimes hitting the store at 10pm just to do a quick solo shop), I can now shop with ease from the comfort of my home.

Last-minute dinner party prep. I love having friends over for dinner, but when the plans are made at the last minute, I end up rushing around in a panic, power-cleaning, meal-planning, and child-minding simultaneously. I love that I can place my order online, and then tidy up until the food arrives. I save time, and a little sanity too.

If you haven’t tried ordering your groceries online, I highly recommend giving it a try! Want to learn more? Visit: How It Works.

Disclaimer: I’ve partnered with Save-On-Foods to help spread the word about their fantastic online ordering options. While this is a sponsored post, the thoughts and ideas are honest and completely my own.

Canuck Place Adventure Race (Giveaway)

When I was working for the Vancouver Canucks, we had a special day each year that was dedicated to giving back to the community called Live 2 Give day. On this day, the office staff would select a charity from a list of options and spend the day working with that organization. For my first Live 2 Give day, I chose to work with the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, and it was an experience that I will never forget.

About Canuck Place Children’s Hospice

Canuck Place, the first free-standing children’s hospice in North America, opened its doors in 1995. The program offers 24/7 world-class health services for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families, in a home-like setting. Canuck Place has become a global leader in pediatric palliative care, and has helped over 400 children and their families throughout BC.

Canuck Place relies on the donations and fundraising efforts of individuals and organizations to keep their programs running. In September, they will be hosting the Canuck Place Adventure Race – a great way to enjoy the outdoors while supporting this important cause.

Canuck Place

How You Can Help – The Canuck Place Adventure Race

The Canuck Place Adventure Race is a fun, family-friendly event held to raise funds to provide children and their families with the respite care they need. Support Canuck Place by participating in the multi-sporting event which includes kayaking, mountain biking and trail running in a beautiful setting, and enjoy a community BBQ lunch. Unable to participate? Bring your family and friends and cheer on the race participants!

CP Adventure Challenge_ks0327

Event Details

When: September 7, 2014

Registration begins at 8:00am and the event concludes at 3:00pm.

Event includes a community BBQ, beginning at 11:30am.

Where: Jericho Beach, Vancouver

Who: Both youth and adult participants are encouraged to participate and there are 3 course options to suit all abilities:

    • Long Course: 6km Kayak, 30km mountain bike, 8km trail run
    • Short Course: 3km Kayak, 15km mountain bike, 6km trail run
    • Kids Course: 500m assisted sail, 2km bike, 1km run

Race participants can sign up as individuals or as a team to a max of 4 people.

Registration costs: Adults $50 / Youth (17 and under) $25

Fundraising goals: Adults $1,000 / Youth $150

CP-Adventure-Challenge_ks0445-For-web

 

WIN A Canuck Place Adventure Race Prize Package

Enter for a chance to win a prize package which includes 4 entries in the Canuck Place Adventure Race, and two 8 X 10 autographed photos – one of Daniel Sedin and one of Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks (total prize package valued at $350).

Fundraising Note:

The Canuck Place Adventure Race is a fundraising event. Funds raised support Canuck Place Children’s Hospice in providing critical clinical care and programs for BC’s children with life-threatening illnesses and their families who love them. Therefore, Canuck Place asks all participants to do their best in reaching the fundraising goals, and Canuck Place supports all participants in doing so through tips and tricks, and helpful newsletters (examples here: http://bit.ly/1rL418L). However, if the goal is not met, no penalty applies.

Enter to Win!
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#CPCHAdventureRace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why My Kids Are Allowed To Watch TV #KidoodleMom

I grew up with a TV in my bedroom – a necessity for my single mom who was juggling two jobs and an active little girl on her own. I was raised in a household where TV viewing was considered a positive activity for children (in moderation of course, and when balanced with reading and physical activity).  I didn’t have adult supervision when watching TV, and was free to watch whatever I chose – opting not only for The Muppets, The Smurfs and Jem, but more mature shows like The Love Boat and Three’s Company. I was oblivious to the mature jokes and connotations that arose in those grown-up shows, and it wasn’t something that the parents of my generation ever worried about.

Many things have evolved since my early childhood days. Children now have their own iPads, iPhones and iPods. Content has become more easily accessible, and parents have become more concerned about the affects of TV on their children.  TV channels have been created dedicated solely to younger audiences, and parental controls have been enabled in devices to ensure children’s viewing habits are within their suitable age range. But with all the new technology in place, children are still finding ways to access mature content. And parents who were raised in my generation are starting to worry about the content that their children are exposed to in their early years, and how it may affect their development.

With all of the concerns in the media about TV and children, I feel completely comfortable with my children watching TV. I monitor what they watch, when they watch it, and how much they watch, and I make sure that they have a healthy balance of down time, versus outdoor activity, imaginative play, and educational exercises. When it comes to electronic devices I set time limits, and for my school-aged child, I ask her to read a book for 15 minutes in order to earn 15 minutes of game time on a device.

But there are still some difficulties that we face around our house. We only have one TV, so my children are often frustrated about having to compromise and watch each other’s favourite shows. My husband has introduced them to some of our childhood favourite cartoons, but the only channel that plays those shows, also plays inappropriately mature commercials (my kids really don’t need to watch an Axe commercial or a commercial for lubricants thankyouverymuch). When we record movies, many of our favourite family-friendly animated movies are aired on channels that also run adult-focused commercials (is a commercial with a woman scantily clad in lingerie, rolling around in the sheets with a shirtless gent really suitable for children who are watching Over The Hedge?).

Cue Kidoodle.TV. When I heard about the Netfix-like video service focused on content for kids, I was intrigued. An ad-free streaming service that offers many of my kids’ favourite shows (Super Why!, My Little Pony, Inspector Gadget, National Geographic animal shows, and so many more), available on any device that has access to the web? Yes please! My kids love being able to watch the shows of their choice on separate devices, and us adults love that we don’t have to watch kid’s shows or deal with the bickering that comes with it. We can set time limits on the device, and can select from a menu of age-appropriate shows for the kids to access. Built for kids, and loved by parents. Ain’t that the truth.

Read below to learn more about Kidoodle.TV and how you can try it out for FREE!

Benefits of Kidoodle.TV include:

  • Kidoodle.TV is a safe, ad-free streaming video service that youKidoodle.TV can customize for your kids according to your preferencesand theirs.
  •  Create up to 5 custom profiles for your kids.  Choose content based on your child’s age or on a show-by-show basis.
  • The secure Parents Room includes a setting where you can set viewing time limits, allowing families to balance the time spent on Kidoodle.TV with other important activities.
  • Kids can watch Kidoodle.TV on the go – all that is needed is web access.
  • Kidoodle.TV has a wide range of safe, kids-only content, including retro content from your childhood like Jem and the Holograms and Inspector Gadget.

Special Promo Code & Giveaway:

Try it out for yourselves! A subscription to Kidoodle.TV costs only $4.99/month, but you can receive a special 25% off discount on a one-year Kidoodle.TV subscription when you register using the code MCC25. Offer expires on June 30th, 2014.

You can also enter for a chance to win a ONE-YEAR KIDOODLE.TV SUBSCRIPTION FOR FREE below!

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Please Note: Although you may enter to win through multiple blogs, you may only win on a single blog.  Entrants must be a resident of Canada, however those in Quebec are unfortunately unable to enter the giveaway.  Winners will need to provide their email addresses to you to be provided to Kidoodle.TV.

Kidoodle.TV is also giving away 3 iPad Minis in March and April! Enter to win one on the Kidoodle.TV Facebook Page.

To learn more about Kidoodle.TV, check out their website.

Disclosure: I am part of the Kidoodle.TV blogger program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Unleashing Our Disney Side

Let’s face it, for many of us parents Disney vacations aren’t just for the children. While a Disney vacation may be a magical jaunt for the little ones — a fun way to unite in a fun-filled, virtually rules-free environment — it’s Disney Sidealso a welcome opportunity for parents to lose all inhibitions and succumb to the magic that Disney and all of its timeless and enchanting stories represent.

When our family recently enjoyed a Disney World/Disney Cruise vacation, my first thought was that the trip would be all about the kids. “It’ll be nice to see the wide smiles on their faces. That alone will make the whole trip worthwhile”, I thought to myself. But when we walked through those magical gates, my eyes widened and the five-year-old me was released full-force.

My heart raced as I scanned the perimeter for the faces of familiar Disney characters. Suddenly, I had no problem with skipping down the street, wearing mouse ears, and singing my favourite childhood tunes in public. The sight of the world-renowned giant mouse gave me butterflies in my stomach, and I had to resist the urge to push little ones aside for my turn at a hug with the loveable rodent. And I was captivated by the angelic voices of our favourite Disney princesses as they gracefully glided past us as though they had strolled straight out of the movie screen and onto the street on which we walked.

Our trip was a whirlwind of adventure, magic, and ongoing fun — and not just for the children, but for us adults as well.

Since returning home to the monotony of daily routines and overbooked schedules, we try our best to relive our favourite Disney moments whenever possible. Many nights are spent curled up as a family watching some of our favourite Disney movies — Peter Pan, The Little Mermaid, Tangled, and Toy Story are just a few of many favourites in our home. We sing our favourite Disney tunes in harmony (the latest: “Let It Go” from the Frozen soundtrack), and play make-believe with Disney figurines. And on occasion, our pancakes take the shape of Mickey Mouse, which never ceases to light up the faces of our little mouseketeers.

I think it’s important to take time out of our busy lives every once in awhile, to relive our childhood memories and create new ones for our children. And in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we could all use a little more light-hearted childhood fun, am I right?