Monday, October 29, 2012

October Vegan Food Swap

I've taken part in a few Vegan Food swaps but am behind on the blog posts about them. I promise I'll get to the first two soon, but since I actually have a chance to do the October one on time, I'm going for it.

In this food swap, put on by MeShell and you can get details here Canadian Vegan Food Swap (with a link to find the USA version for those of you not north of the 49th). Each participant is given someone to send food too. Someone else sends a package to them. The idea is to try to find food your partner would like that they are not likely to have tried or have easy access to.

My sender this time was in the Toronto area and did her best to find foods I was less likely to find in Vancouver, while trying to be kid friendly at the same time. My package came from Lauren at

As with any package that arrives at my place, the boys got involved with the unpacking. (see that sofa that looks like hell, it's 18 months old, yup, that's it, from the Brick, I'm not impressed (I typically keep a cover on it). They just love opening boxes and taking things out, lining them up and then putting them all back in again (and then repeating the process over and over and over). They were more interested in the actual process than the food itself, although once Nathan saw the picture on the Sprinklez, he kept insisting that they were cupcakes and I had to open them to show him they were not.

2 Gluten Free products from Sweets from the Earth. 
I've never heard of this company. These disappeared fast. The kids were less fond of the brownie than I thought they would be, but it might have been the gooey texture in the middle that turned them off (which was okay with me as I got to eat it!)

Mulling Spice from Simply Organics
While I've heard of and seen this company, I have yet to try this product. This time of year is perfect for it.

Prana Tamari Almonds

These are a total favorite of mine although I suspect with the recent pancreas issues, almonds are off my list now. Happily the boys liked them.

New Moon Kitchen Granola

I love granola and am loving the chance to try some new ones. This one is local to Toronto so totally new to me. Nathan will sometimes also eat it, although Corwyn still has some aversion to cold cereal.

Confetti Sprinkelz
These were something I was happy to see, so happy once I opened them. See, I've bought these before and was so disappointed. I really try hard to avoid or at least limit the toxins in food colors, but preschoolers and sprinkles in baking are made for each other. When I bought it box the sprinkles were a monotone grey. Bleh. But this box, the colors were so much more obvious. And while no, these are not like the ones with the toxins for brightness, they are still colorful enough to entice the kids without the damage.

They boys have been begging me to make cupcakes since seeing these, so we'll be doing some up soon.

Overall, this was a fabulous swap thanks to Lauren. I look forward to the next one.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Baking with Preschoolers - Bean Brownies

Bean Brownies? Yup, they are real, they are good and they are (mostly) preschooler approved.

I found this recipe over at Mealtime Hostage. I found her blog during the race to the Top 25 Canadian Mom blogs (I didn't make it). I was hooked. She is another Canadian mom with twins. Her twins are older and she has a selective eater. This is not a picky eater, this is more, but I will let you read her blog for more info on that. I worry sometimes that my kids may be headed this way as the food list they are willing to eat gets smaller and smaller, but that is a different story for another time.

So Bean Brownies. I liked the recipe enough to want to try it. It was naturally gluten free plus with 3 eggs and a can of black beans they are full of protein. But being me, I couldn't leave well enough alone. I try to avoid excess sugar for the kids, not none, but control it. So the first thing I did was cut the sugar by half a cup. This being new, I didn't want to vary that much so I decided to break out the Krisda. This stevia blend is one that you can substitute measure for measure for sugar, so added half a cup of it. And I love coconut oil making that was my oil of choice, which meant a bit of an extra step to melt it a bit. And I like raw cacao over your everyday processed cocoa.

Our friends Monika and Aias were coming over to help. In advance of 3 preschoolers in my kitchen trying to cook at the same time with no patience, I poured the ingredients into measuring cups in advance.  So they would cook a bit faster and cool a bit faster, I also went with the mini-muffin format over the cake pan. This made 24 of these two-bite brownies.

The kids were all quite good at taking turns cracking eggs, running the food processor and stirring.

Although both my kids like to push buttons Corwyn usually gets upset quickly at the volume of the food processor. He takes a small turn then puts his hands over his ears telling me Too loud mommy, too loud! and demanding it be shut off. So to keep him happy (distracted) while Nathan and Aias had a turn at the machine I let him pour all the dry ingredients into the bowl.

Then all three crowded around the bowl to stir. Nathan insisted on helping me pour the wet mixture in, then gave up quickly on the stirring so  he could lick the dirt off of each spoon (yes, he called it dirt).

Nathan was very happy to put parchment paper liners in all the mini-muffin tins. He considered it his job and didn't really let anyone help. I've said before  how much I love parchment paper liners. It keeps everything from sticking with no oil.

I let them put in some dairy free mini chips for some extra chocolate taste (less than a quarter cup). Then it was time for sprinkles. Sigh. Yes, they are chemical toxins but 3 year olds and sprinkles seem made for each other. They did a fabulous job taking sprinkle turns and you could still see the cupcake brownies. They put sprinkles only one half of them.

Overall, the kids were great waiting for them to cook. Nathan kept running to check but didn't try to take them out of the oven. I tossed one pan into the fridge to cool faster. From making many gluten-free foods over this year, I knew that any baked goods without flour should be totally cool or they will fall apart. But they were no longer hot enough to burn and it was nearing bedtime so I gave in.

They were good. Very good. Nathan ate as many as he could sneak. Aias had one and took some  home for later. Corwyn liked the first bite but on the second gave up. I suspect for him it was more about the texture and taste. He will probably eat more tomorrow now that they are totally cooled and set more.

To me, while still a bit warm, I really noticed the stevia after taste, not enough to ruin them at all, they were still good, but I could taste it. But now that they are totally cool, the stevia taste isn't there anymore at all. Yeah!!!

I wish I had more pictures of the kids baking and eating, but it was more fun being in there than watching and taking pictures.

Check out Mealtime Hostage for the recipe in its original form and for a great new blog. Try the brownies for a wonderful snack for the kids chalk full of protein and no gluten.

We will be making these again in the future. Now that I did them once, I will play with them even more, maybe instead of the half cup of stevia blend, I'll try a fruit puree or something.

Monday, October 15, 2012

How Much is the Doggy in the Window?

Arf Arf.

No, we did not get, nor are we getting a dog. But we did dog sit a couple of weekends ago and the kids loved (most of) it.

Max is a great dog belonging to my friend Monika over at He's a large Yorkie who is a great apartment dog and wonderful with kids. He is also very laid back. I picked him up Friday afternoon and he went home Monday evening. He didn't even blink about saying good-bye to his family and walking home with me. He's been to my place a few times to visit and led me almost to my door without any prompting. While there, he treated the place like home, showing none of the anxiety I would have expected. It did take him a bit to get used to the noise in the hallway. He lives in a much smaller building, with almost as many apartments spread out over 6 floors as we have just on my floor in my building. I think he kept hoping the sounds (particularly the kid and stroller sounds) meant his family was back.

Nathan was over the moon. He loves animals, any and all animals. He's like me that way. Corwyn likes them, but not with the same enthusiasm. Both boys love cats and small animals. But with dogs, Corwyn is more reserved. Not Nathan, from the moment Max arrived, he wanted him as a constant companion.

 There were some logistics to work out. I live in an apartment. Dogs need to be walked. Kids can not be left alone. Happily Max comes from apartment life which is similar to mine (although there are two adults in his place so one can stay with the child during dog walks). According to Monika, he only needed to go out twice a day. I took advantage of the weather and we went out more frequently. Initially, having him there really helped the boys get ready faster (Hurry, Max really needs to pee!). But as the weekend went on, this took a bit longer and longer, and although they never resisted, just dragged it out more each time.

Corwyn loved helping hold the leash to walk Max. Nathan did too, but wanted to hold it on his own. Unfortunately Max has little to no recall and even if he did, he's not my dog so I wouldn't want to test it. Nathan is easily distracted and would often let go of his hand hold. I was not letting him hold the leash on his own (except once we were inside on the way to the elevator). Nathan took an odd pleasure in taking the poop bag to the garbage. Both boys made the appropriate eewwwww sounds when he pooped.

Nathan wanted Max to sleep with him, but Max didn't want to sleep with Nathan because he is too active until he falls asleep. Max wanted to sleep with Corwyn because Corwyn just lies there, but Corwyn didn't want Max in his bed. In the end, Nathan would fall asleep on the floor next to me (I stay in the bedroom until they fall asleep) and Max would fall asleep in Nathan's bed. (after which I moved Nathan to his bed and Max came with me). It worked.

The harder part came with the before bed pee. While we took him out around 6 or 7 each night, it wouldn't be until 7 or 8 until I could get the boys up and dressed to take him out again. So before I went to sleep, I took him outside for the worlds fastest pee. The boys rarely wake during the evening (although by 3am both are usually in my bed) but I really didn't want them awake and looking for me (Nathan can unlock and open the door). This was a bit of a panic time for me, but we made it through the 3 nights.

Overall, the experience was great. It reaffirmed that we could not get a dog until the boys were old enough to be left alone for the late night walk, or I won the lottery and bought a house with a yard. One night last week, I was in the hallway, just outside my door (partly open) talking with a friend. Nathan woke up and I heard him. In less than 1 minutes he was very worked up because he could not find me (our place is small). One morning, at camp, Corwyn and I went to the bathroom while Nathan was still asleep. He woke up. As we were coming back to our room, I saw Nathan already outside, crying because he couldn't find us. No, I can't leave them, even for a short pee break with a dog.

I know so many people who think all kids should have a dog. While I love dogs, I don't necessarily agree. I think a dog needs to fit into the entire family and the family lifestyle needs to allow for it. As mentioned, I can't leave the kids alone to walk a dog and we don't have a yard to just let one out in, so no dog for now. For other families, they spend little to no time at home. Dogs need companionship. Some need TONS of exercise and that is another time commitment. Some are great at holding in pee, some cant go more than 5 or 6 hours. That said, some families and kids are great with dogs.

A dog is a commitment. I know people who suggest getting a dog to teach a child responsibility. Well, what happens when the child decides he/she doesn't want to walk or feed the dog? Dogs are not tools to be abandoned when the experiment fails. But unfortunately, the shelter is full of dogs like this. And what does that teach the child about having a pet? That they can dispose of them? Commitment. If you plan to get a dog then understand it is a family dog. Know in advance that you as the parent will likely do most of the work. Sure there are some exceptions, but don't plan for those. If you get a dog, make sure it's for the right reasons.

So no dog for us, as least not until they are much older. But I knew that once we were past the potty stage (potties take up space), we might consider a cat. We recently applied and were accepted to adopt a cat from the local orphan cat/kitten rescue. We now need to meet some of the foster cats and find the one that fits with our home. Yes, a cat is also a commitment, but unlike a dog, I wont have to leave the kids alone to take care of it's needs. Both boys like dogs but they LOVE cats. And I think a cat is more suited to Corwyn who doesn't like being jumped on or licked. The cat will be a family cat and of course right now, the responsibility will mostly be mine. But over time they can, if they want take over things like filling the water dish, cleaning the litter box (!!), brushing etc.

And for those who think we're "settling" by getting a cat instead of a dog, here's a shot of Nathan who jumped off his bike to go pet a random kitty we saw. He does this with any and every cat cat we see (luckily he's never tried to pet one of the skunks in our neighborhood). Corwyn has this same reaction to cats (although he will hide from big or hyper dogs). And me, I love cats.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Freaky Fall #Giveaway: $200 Cash, Gift Cards, Jewelry, and Goodies

Welcome to the Freaky Fall Giveaway!

Welcome to the Freaky Fall Giveaway where we have lots of cash, gift cards, jewelry, and other goodies up for grabs!
Welcome to the Freaky Fall Giveaway hosted by Like a Bump on a Blog, and made possible by the contributions of many wonderful writers and bloggers.  We have several great prizes up for grabs for one lucky winner, and we'll also be helping to promote the wonderful organization Look Better Feel Better (#LBFB) for cancer survivors and current cancer sufferers.

 Before we get into the prizes and entry form, I'd like to take a moment to thank our wonderful sponsors:

Aaron from Dadblunders made a generous contribution to the prize offerings, and his blog is one of the best parenting blogs around.

Monica's Rants, Raves & Reviews is a blog with a lot of fun things to check out, including giveaways, reviews, and rants, of course.

Intricate Knot is a beautiful spirit with a wonderful blog, and she's also quite the artist.

The beautiful and talented writer, Susan Silver, of Cirquedumot offers advice on blogging, social media, and everything in between.

Larry at Ireview central offers the best reviews for IOS users to choose the best products without wasting money on bad apps.

Becca J. Campbell has a wonderful writer blog called Inspiration for Creation, and her posts truly are informative and inspiring. You'll see a couple of those posts syndicated on this blog, and you will love her books.

A.E. Howard is a Blogger BookFair Awards winner in the Fantasy Category, and her talent is evident in her book ratings.

Emerson Creek Pottery has gorgeous handmade ceramic pottery made in the USA, and all of their products are lead-free.

Thanks to everyone for making it possible to grant one lucky reader a fantastic head-start on holiday season shopping!

 Now to the awesome prizes! 
$200 PayPal Cash

A $25 Amazon giftcard to bring joy to your online shopping experience!
$10 iTunes giftcard

One limited edition Oscar de la Renta Scarf for supporting #LGFB

An Emerson Creek Pottery Onion soup bowl in the pattern of your choosing. I chose the Blue Crab pattern, and I love this piece!

3 Mid-finger rings from Merlin's Apprentice.

 Cute, dainty beads compliment these ear cuffs from Merlin's Apprentice.

A set of small, cute ear-cuffs by Merlin's Apprentice.

A set of 3 beautiful Artistic greeting cards from Cards for a Gloomy Day.

Foreign Identity by Becca J. Campbell. Click image for more details.
Not the Norm by Becca J. Campbell. Click image for more details.

Flight of Blue by: Keepers of the Key Chronicles by A.E. Howard. Click image for more details.

In order to be eligible for any of the above prizes, you must complete all steps of the Rafflecopter entry or be disqualified. I hate to be harsh, but a lot of effort has gone into this giveaway to make it possible to reward a wonderful and faithful reader and supporter of blogs and books. Thanks for entering and continually supporting various communities and organizations!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and happy winning!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Printable Halloween Games - Review

I like worksheets, coloring sheets and other printables. And I LOVE Halloween. When I was given the chance to review Printable Halloween Games from Python Printable Games I jumped at it.

I knew that there would be a mix of activities for all ages but was still impressed by how much there really was. Some I've used with the kids and others we'll continue working with as the month continues on. But there are so many fun adult ones in here that I'm going break out as I get together with friends this holiday season (yes, to some of us Halloween is a holiday).

So far, a favorite with the boys is Pin the Head on the Monster. Now I know what you're thinking. Simple and easy to make. Maybe, if you have the time. But this is more than just a simple picture of monster with a an extra sheet with a head to cut out. They offer 4 different versions of this game. Two are large versions, one in color and one for the kids to color! Then there are two smaller versions for table top play, again one in color and one in black and white. But it doesn't stop there. There isn't just one head to 'pin on' , there are several to choose from, letting the kids be creative. Mine loved to try each head on and enjoyed coloring the monsters in a variety of options (they are such non-conformers).

I really liked that the graphics in the kids pages carried through the printables. The characters in the Halloween Match Game (another favorite of ours) matched the coloring page characters and the crafty pumpkin decorating ideas (knife free pumpkin decorating for kids).

For those with a food associate with Halloween there is a Name that Candy Bar game. For those trying to teach kids proper eating around Halloween (good luck) there is even a Naughty or Nice Food facts game.

Once you purchase the printables, they are yours. So you can keep them for years, and I'm sure you'll find a use for most of them over time. There are matching games, coloring pages, lots of trivia, multiple sheets that would be great at teen or adult Halloween Parties. I know I had fun with, but got stumped on the Scary Synoposis Horror Movie Trivia (and even found a couple new movies I want to watch). I'm hoping to use the Halloween Party Invitations next year.

For a full list of the 40 amazing games please go to Halloween Party Games.  They are only 19.95 for all 40! If you're tempted but not quite sure, you can download some fall printables for free to try out at

If you're still on the fence, maybe I can push you over it by mentioning that there is a mystery discount code in affect. Enter MYSTY at check out for a mystery discount amount!!!

Don't forget to like them on Facebook and follow on Twitter

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Family Baking Time - Pumpkin Bread

I love anything pumpkin/squash. I grab as many as I can while they are in season at the farmers market (they store great). I also snap up any organic canned pumpkin as it comes on sale for the season.

Last night, with the help of the boys, we made pumpkin spice bread.

Creaming the egg and coconut oil (yes, I prefer coconut oil over butter or margarine)

Measuring the pumpkin out

Adding it in

Double fisted stirring

They insisted on Halloween type sprinkles (non food if you ask me, but I'm not 3) and into the oven.

After what to them was forever, it was out of the pan to cool

After yet another wait for it to be cool enough to eat, it was put to the test. It passed.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Jack-o-Lanterns

Please remember to vote for me on Circle of Moms

Reusable felt Pumpkins and face 'pieces'. Fast and easy to make.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Circle of Moms

I`ve entered the race for the Circle of Mom`s top 25 Canadian Mommy blogs this year. I entered late and need some help from my circle of Moms.

You don`t have to like anything on Facebook, or sign up for anything. You just click on this link Circle Moms and find And Mommy Makes 3 and click vote. You can vote every day (please do) until October 11th.

Please and thank you!!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mickey Mouse Halloween Event - Giveaway!

Welcome to the Mickey Mouse Halloween Event!

Hosted by Mom Blog Society

This adorable 3' Tall Airblown Inflatable Halloween Mickey Mouse self-inflates in seconds. It's easy to set up and store. Stakes and tethers are included.
3' Tall Airblown Inflatable Halloween Mickey Mouse Features:
  • Measures 3'H
  • Lights up
  • Weather-resistant design
  • Self-inflates in seconds
  • Deflates down for easy storage
  • Quick and easy set-up
  • Stakes and tethers included
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey’s Great Clubhouse Hunt is an Halloween themed DVD premiere based on the popular series on the Disney Channel. Mickey takes you on the ultimate adventure to find his friends and to put back together the clubhouse, which has mysteriously broken into parts and disappeared with his friends inside! Featuring favorite characters Minnie Mouse, Donald, Goofy and Daisy Duck. Have the happiest candy haul ever this Halloween night carrying the glowing Disney Store Light-Up Jack O'Lantern Mickey Mouse Trick or Treat Bucket. The frosted features of Mickey's pumpkin face light-up in rotating red, green, and yellow tones. $25 Wal-Mart Gift Card