There is nothing like good tunes to get a party started. I can’t help but rock out to “You Shook Me All Night Long.” Songs like “Dancing Queen” and “Hot in Herre” have me dancing like a maniac. And who isn’t downright happy when “Sweet Caroline” starts playing.
To kick off this summer (albeit a few weeks late) I rounded up some of the best party songs ever. Now it’s your turn. Vote for your faves and not only will you have fun sharing and comparing with friends but you’ll be entered to win $50.
My 6 year old daughter and 9 year old son had fun digging into our costume closet. I wish I could come up with captions that truly captured the moment.
If you like yummy nibbles and cute celebrity chefs (who doesn’t?) then read on! Dare Foods, the makers of Bremner Wafers, Breton, Cabaret, Vinta and other crackers, has two big sweepstakes going on.
INSPIRE EVERY BITE SWEEPSTAKES
Prize: Celebrity Chef Kayne Raymond will come to your house and co-host a party for you and 9 friends.
Timing: Closes June 20, 2014.
How to Enter: Entering takes just seconds. Click here and vote for your favorite recipe. You can visit every day and cast your vote for a new favorite. Each vote is a another chance to win.
DARE FOODS $250 GIVEAWAY
Prize: $250 American Express gift card.
Timing: Closes June 20, 2014.
How to Enter: Vote for your 4 (or more) favorite cracker toppings below. Be sure to click “done” after you’ve made your picks and to register with an email or Facebook account.
I have been lucky to always live in a city with a world class zoo - Toronto, New York City and now San Francisco. It is incredible to me that I can drive 15 minutes and see animals like tigers, bears and rhinos. Although I try not to play favorites, I have to admit that the gorillas are #1 on my list. I could watch them for hours.
I love going to the San Francisco Zoo with my children and seeing which animals attract their attention. My son seems to share my fascination with gorillas while my daughter loves the penguins and lemurs.
Now it’s your turn! You can pick your favorite animals by clicking on the images below. Be sure to click “done” and register your votes so we can see which animals make the Top 10.
At my school growing up we had an annual writing competition called The Majorie Pickthall Awards. Caroline Robinson, a friend, former classmate and writer, recently posted on Facebook that she was asked to a judge for this year’s competition. Somehow she had remembered that back in grade 6 I had won the poetry competition. So I decided to dig up my poem entitled “The Mole.”The Mole
Isolated, by a wall of deep earth,
The mole slumbers.
No friends to accompany him.
No relatives to love.
Some say this life is terrible,
Yet is it?
No quarrels to fight.
No friends to lose.
Which life is better?
I remember clearly the day I wrote this poem. In an attempt to spur more entries into the The Majorie Pickthall competition, especially from the junior school, everyone in our grade 6 class was given time to write a poem or story to be entered. I was only 11 years old but was fairly wily as to what usually won the poetry category. It wasn’t rhyming poems about flowers, friends and cuddly animals. It was darker poems that absolutely did not rhyme. So that’s what I wrote.
I was just trying to write something that might win (I was a competitive little girl!) I was a happy 11 year old girl with a loving family and plenty of friends. However now that I read the poem as an adult I can’t believe how dark it was!
Sugar and spice and everything nice (most of the time…)
I am a snacker. Always have been. Always will be. That ain’t changing!
Now it’s your turn! I’d love to know which of these are your favorites - maybe you’ve tried them or they just sound delish. Click on the image to share your picks and then we can compare or you can check out what makes the top 10. Try not to drool too much as you discover new tasty snacks!
My goal now is to find snacks that are healthier than my usual potato chips or crackers. At the same time I’m a big savory person so I need snacks with a spicy or salty quality; sugary things don’t do it for me. Boy did I hit the jackpot when I discovered NatureBox. I don’t know who creates these delicious snacks but I would love to thank them personally.
Among my favorites are South Pacific Plantains, Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper Pumpkin Seeds, Teriyaki Twists, Lemon Pucker Pistachios, Firecrackers, Yogurt Dipped Pretzels, Sesame Soy Rice Crackers, Country Ranch Sunflower Kernels and (last but not least) Citrus Chipotle Chickpeas. The names alone make my mouth water!
I have always loved crackers of any kind, be it for party hors d’oevres, post-dinner in lieu of dessert or late evening for a snack. They are the perfect vehicle - bite-sized and crispy - to deliver all sorts of sweet or savory goodness. I normally just layer on cheese or salami and call it a day but when I saw these delicious cracker recipes that were created by celebrity chef Kayne Raymond for Dare Crackers, I got inspired (and hungry!) to take my cracker toppings up a notch.
My favorites from the list of 10 include:
1. Smokin’ Good Prawns - I’m a lover of prawns so this one spoke to me.
2. “Dave”Viled Eggs - need I explain further?
3. Simply Elegant - that combo of balsamic vinegar, Manchego cheese and sun-dried tomatoes makes my mouth water.
4. Dada Daughter Ice Cream Sandwiches - crackers for dessert = yes please!
And now on to some really fun stuff…sweepstakes! Dare Crackers has two sweepstakes going on right now and I’m excited to share them with you. You can enter both of them - they take just seconds to enter and you could be a big winner!
Two Sweepstakes - Two Ways to Win!
Inspire Every Bite Sweepstakes
New Dare Crackers chef and spokesperson, Kayne Raymond, will invite one lucky winner into the kitchen for the Inspire Every Bite Sweepstakes on Facebook. Go to Inspire Every Bite Sweepstakes and vote for your favorite recipe for a chance to co-host your next party with Chef Kayne. Feeling inspired by a different flavor? Visit every day and cast your vote for a new favorite. Each vote is a chance to co-host your next party for nine guests with Chef Kayne Raymond.
$250 Amex Gift Card Giveaway
Vote for your favorite Dare Crackers recipes by clicking on the images below - the more, the better but at least four. Be sure to click the “done” button and register via email or Facebook when you’ve made your picks so you are entered to win a $250 Amex gift card. You don’t even need to leave my blog to pick your favorites and be entered to win.
I have always loved jigsaw puzzles. As a young girl, jigsaw puzzles were something I did with my parents during summer vacations spent at our cottage in Canada. I had a dry decade in my 20s when I was working (or playing) too hard to really get into jigsaw puzzles. More recently I have rediscovered my love of jigsaw puzzles and I think it’s fair to say that it is approaching obsession/addiction level. If one can be a jigsaw-aholic, then I am one!
So I decide to crunch the numbers on my jigsaw-ing. Here they are:
Time Spent Doing Jigsaws
5 hours / week [more during vacations / less most work weeks]
260 hours / year
11 days or 1.5 weeks / year
488 days or nearly 1.5 years over my lifetime
Pieces Put Together
4 puzzles / month
48 puzzle / year
>2,000 puzzles over my lifetime [assuming I live a good long life!]
60,000 pieces / year [assumes average of 1,250 pieces/jigsaw]
1MM+ pieces over next 17 years
$25 / puzzle
$1,200 / year
$4.62 / hour of enjoyment
$50,000 over my lifetime
A few things I’d like to share about jigsaw puzzles for those enthusiasts that can relate (please do comment!) and those that know someone like me and might want to understand the obsession.
1. Regular, old-fashioned jigsaw puzzles are the best. I’m a not a fan of 3-D puzzles or puzzles that have weird shapes. Ravensberg is the best brand in my opinion.
2. My ideal number of pieces is 1,500. I will sometimes go down to 1,000 pieces or up to 2,000 pieces. Anything more or less than that is either not enough or too overwhelming.
3. I have a very particulate way I do my jigsaws - outside first, pockets of color next and then organize by shape for the remainder (e.g. the sky or some other big block of color.)
4. Expanding on #4 - I have a difficult time when people want to get in on my jigsaw puzzling. They move the pieces around and it really bothers the OCD person that I am. The one exception is my daughter. I love-love-love doing puzzles with her!
5. If allowed I can go 4-5 hours or more on a jigsaw in one sitting. My friend Emily told me she has sometimes gone 8+ hours on one. I could probably do that except that I get pulled away for something silly like work, eating, looking after my kids, etc (yes, I joke!)
6. When I am doing a jigsaw I find myself thinking about it a lot - I want to attack it first thing in the morning, I want to sneak time to do it during the day, I can’t wait to start in on it at night. It may surprise some people who know me well but I would rather do a jigsaw puzzle than watch reality TV!
So now you know my secret. I guess being addicted to jigsaw puzzles is really not that bad when compared with other things I could get obsessed with. It is something that truly does calm me and takes away the stress. If only it was something that also burned calories than I’d be super fit to boot!
Vote for your favorite purses, wallets, watches and other accessories from Michael Kors and you’ll be automatically entered to win a $100 gift card from eBags. Just click on the vote buttons below to pick your faves and be sure to click the “Done” button to register your votes and be entered to win!