Monday, 15 May 2017

She's Back! Season 3 of @KimmySchmidt on @Netflix_CA #Streamteam #Ad

Mommy is going to need some "Me" time because Kimmy Schmidt is back!

That's right people! Season 3 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt will be here May 19th!

Disclaimer: As a member of the Netflix Streamteam I receive special perks for my participation, posts and sharing. 
All opinions are my own. 

What does this Mom want for Mother's  Every Day? 
Uninterrupted Netflix time to stream my favourite shows and movies. So fold your own socks, and make your own meals cause this Mom is otherwise engaged. 

But feel free to bring me coffee and snacks ...
Because I'll be too busy binge watching all the shows I'm midway through streaming to make it for myself. I want to be fully focused on Kimmy when May 19th comes around! 

If for some bizarre reason you haven't watched the first 2 seasons of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt might I suggest you get cracking! That means HURRY! Like go NOW! RIGHT NOW! NOW!

Happy Streaming People! 

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about Kimmy. 

Supper's Ready! With help from @SupperWorks #SupperWorksOttawa #Ad

Supper's Ready!

Disclaimer: I was invited to Supper Works and prepared two meals for the purpose of this post. All opinions are my own. 

Wouldn't you love to say that every night, about a nutritious meal your family actually wants to eat, that didn't take an hour to make? I think most of us have the best intentions, and want to be organized, plan and prep for busy weekday meals. But even with the best intentions it can be tough, and sometimes you need some help. With SupperWorks it's like having a personal prep team to pick up the slack when your busy schedule trumps your best intentions. They shop and chop, you get all the glory! 

As I was preparing my meals at SupperWorks Nepean I realized that my first impression or thoughts were this was perfect for a busy family with young kids. It is all about feeding lots of people fast and easy. Work, school, sports, lessons, and life often meant lots of juggling and meals on the run. But that isn't my life now. My kids are older and the days of carpooling to swim lessons, Beavers, hockey, snowboarding, skateboarding, etc. are long over, but we're just as busy.

With one child in college (aka Thing 1) and the other at university (aka Thing 2) our schedules are mixed and unpredictable. Having a meal that can be on the table quick and easy is wonderful. A meal that someone else did the shopping and prepping for even better. One my culinary-challenged son (that would be Thing 1) can put together is fabulous! The Nacho Chicken Stew couldn't be easier to prepare, and it pulls together many of my family's favourite flavours. I'm thinking a Mother-Son evening at Supper Works would be the first (baby) step towards his culinary independence. He gets to pick and put together several meals, and learns how to prepare a non-microwavable meal.

Thing 2 on the other hand is a bit of a foodie, and just moved into his first apartment. With his busy university schedule and course load, having the prep work done for him is a big time saver, and means the difference between having a healthy meal or grabbing a bag of chips or skipping meals. The half rather than full (family size) portions are perfect for dinner for one with leftovers for lunch the next day. Note to self ... It would also make a great apartment warming gift. Perfect for when he's really busy and doesn't have a lot of time to prep and cook for himself, and far more nutritious than the bag of chips or expensive takeout that's the normal go-to options when there's no time to cook. 

I realize I'm always more motivated to prepare a meal when it's for the whole family then I am when cooking just for myself. On my own I tend to grab whatever is fast and easy but not necessarily healthy, skip meals, or grab takeout. It hardly seems worth the effort if it's just for one or two people. The trouble is my life and family's schedule means it's almost always about feeding one or two people at a time. The option to prep meals in half portion sizes rather than the full family size means it fits my life as it is now. And let's face it a healthy diet is important and I'm worth it!

Carte Couture: (a fancy new term I made up for custom-fit menus that work for you)
I guess that's one of the things I found most interesting about the idea of Supper Works ... that it fits your individual lifestyle. Whether feeding a large family or just yourself, whether you want vegetarian, or gluten free, whether culinary-challenged or a foodie there are options that fit. 

Currently there are three Ottawa area locations. I'm sure you'll find both Susanna at the Kanata location, and Alison at the Nepean and Orleans locations have all sorts of ideas and ways to customize your meal planning to fit your specific lifestyle, and make "supper work" for you. Be sure to check out what fellow Ottawa Blogger Kamerine from The Life of K had to say about her SupperWorksOttawa experience.

Bon Appetite!

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about meals made easy. 

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

10 Movies to Watch this #MothersDay #WhatToWatch #What2Whatch

Ten Movies to Make You Laugh This Mother's Day

Looking for some ideas for what to watch on Mother's Day? Below you'll find my suggestions for What To Watch this Mother's Day, all of which are currently available to stream on Netflix Canada. Whether you're a mother or not you're sure to be entertained by these mothers trying to navigate the sometimes tricky, often underappreciated, but never dull job of being a mom.

1) Mother's Day (2016, 14A)
2) Prime (2005, PG-13)
3) Tyler Perry's: The Single Mom's Club (2014, PG-13)
4) Freaky Friday (2003, G)
5) Just Go With It (2011, PG)
6) The Family (2013, R)
7) Monster-In-Law (2005, PG)
8) All Relative (2014, NR)
9) Love, Wedding, Marriage (2011, PG)
10) Life As We Know It (2010, PG-13)

Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms, and Happy Streaming to everyone!

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about what to watch on Mother's Day. 

Note: My What To Watch posts are not sponsored, and I do not receive compensation in any form for these. Their purpose is merely to share something I believe is of interest to my readers. Please also note these posts are separate and unrelated to my participation with the Netflix Streamteam. 
Image courtesy of Pixabey

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

.@TajOttawa is Celebrating 30 Years in July! #Ottawa #MyOttawa #OttawaFood #Ad

Taj Indian Cuisine: A delicious taste of local flavour. 

Disclosure: I received a meal free of charge for the purpose of this post. All opinions are my own. 

This July Taj Indian Cuisine is celebrating 30 years of serving Ottawa delicious Indian cuisine! Thirty years of being part of a community, and adding to it their unique local "flavour". Thirty years of owner Indu Bakshi creating the delicious North Indian flavours, recipes and dishes served at Taj. To celebrate this milestone and as a gesture of thanks to Ottawa and their community for 30 wonderful years, they've planned some exciting events, and promos. Be sure you're Taj on Facebook, twitter and instagram to stay in-the-know as they reveal details about their upcoming 30th Birthday Celebrations. 

The Taj staff is friendly, engaging, and knowledgeable about the dishes they serve. When asked their opinion or for assistance deciding menu items, I found them to be open, honest, and clearly eager to make my experience an exceptional one. Don't be afraid to ask about customizing your dishes to suit your taste palette. They really do aim to please and deliver the best dinning experience possible.

Taj Indian Cuisine is Open for:
Weekday Brunch Mon - Fri 11:30 - 2:00 pm  ($13.95) and 
Dinner-A-La-Cart Mon - Fri 4:00 - 10:00 pm, Sat 12:00 - 10:00 pm, Sun 4:00 - 10:00 pm. 

What can you expect from Taj Indian Cuisine in terms of Yum Factor? 
I'll let the following pictures do the talking ... 



And with the couple of thousand words those pictures just spoke, I'll leave you with one final thought. In my opinion you can't go wrong supporting small, local businesses. When they serve up dishes like these and the owner greets you and remembers your name by your second visit, it feels more like sharing a meal with friends. Friends that cook really really well!

Yep, just me Cathy thinking about Naan-fastic food!

Disclosure: I received lunch free of charge for the purpose of this post, but I've dined at Taj Indian Cuisine on my own dime and enthusiastically recommend it to friends and family. There's no doubt I'll be dining at Taj in the future. All opinions are my own. 

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Inside Minds of Teens: Common Ground & Conversation #Streamteam #Ad @Netflix_CA

Ever feel like Parents are from Mars and Teens are from Venus?

Gaining Insight into the Minds of Teens, Finding Common Ground and Starting Conversations with a little help from Netflix:

 Disclosure: As a member of the Netflix Streamteam I receive special perks for my participation. All opinions are my own.

I have to admit there are times when it seems like my kids and I are speaking different languages, or worse not speaking at all. I'm not sure if having boys and our differing gender plays any part in the degree of awkwardness involved in some of our conversations, or if it's merely a parent-child generation gap thing. I do know as a parent it's important to have open lines of communication with my kids, and to find ways to make our conversations two way and meaningful. For that to happen I need my kids to feel comfortable(ish) opening up to me and their father, and to know we are here and available to talk about anything, even if "anything" is awkward and hard to talk about. I need my kids to know we'll always try to keep and open mind, and be supportive. They need to know that even if we're not thrilled about what they have to say, we love them and that won't change.  

Having said that I won't say no to a little help along the way gaining insight, finding common ground, and finding ways to help segue into some of the more challenging conversations. Turns out that watching some of your kids' favourite shows with them may just be the conversation bridge you're looking for. 

Watch what happened when Netflix brought some parents and teens together before and after watching 13 Reasons Why. 

Parent Cheat Sheet (because who doesn't need some cheat notes sometimes?)

Other Resources:

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about connecting with our teens.

Disclosure: As a member of the Netflix Streamteam I receive special perks for my participation, posts, and sharing. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Want a chance to try #YoplaitWholeMilk Yogurt? #Ad #Giveaway CAN

Yoplait Whole Milk Yogurt

Disclosure: I received Yoplait Whole Milk Yogurt in exchange for sharing my opinion of this product. All opinions are my own. 

Just because my kids are older, doesn't mean their demands for snacks has decreased.
If anything it has increased with our busy individual schedules. When I'm not around to make their snacks and they grab the closest and the easiest items available. I refer to Yoplait Whole Milk Yogurt as Snackages in Individual Packages. They're fast, easy and healthy snack options, that are sold in 3 flavour mixes, with 9 flavours in total. 

It's a fast and easy snack perfect for any time of the day. 
I enjoy it with a sprinkling of granola for breakfast. My Hubby on the other hand likes it as an afternoon or evening snack. My growing boys eat every few hours so they find it perfect as a quick snack to enjoy throughout the day. Not only does it have a delicious creamy taste, Yoplait Whole Milk yogurt is a good source of calcium and has no gelatin, artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. 

Enter the giveaway below to win 1 of 3 Yoplait Whole Milk product coupons (ARV $5.99 Cdn). 
Giveaway open to Canada, and runs from April 12th - April 28th, 2017. 
Good Luck! 

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about snack time.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Art & History Your Thing? Then @OntLakeCountry Is For You #OLC #LetsGoMaple

We're All Connected - Art, Culture, History. Discover how in Ontario's Lake Country. 

Nothing more Canadian than Maple Syrup!

Canada - Maple Tree - Maple Leaf - Maple Syrup ... 
Do you see the pattern? The common denominator: Maple! Once I got home from the fabulous #LetsGoMaple experience I found myself feeling like I was in the Maple version of Six Degrees of Separation. All that was missing was Kevin Bacon ... did I mention that bacon tastes really really good with maple syrup. It occurred to me #LetsGoMaple is the perfect hashtag when talking about the art, history, and culture of Ontario's Lake Country and Canada as a whole. 
If you know me, you know I'm all about sharing and linking information, ideas, and people, and I see links all over the place in Ontario's Lake Country and this area's art, history and culture.
Disclosure: I was invited to join a group of bloggers and influencers for a 2 day/3 night getaway to Ontario's Lake Country to sample some of the many and wonderful activities and attractions this area has to offer so I might share my experience with my readers. 

Ontario's Lake Country: Casino Rama Resort, Shaws Maple Syrup Bush, and Orillia Museum of Art and History are all in Ontario's Lake Country. 
Casino Rama Resort is located in the Town of Rama on Chippewas of Rama reserve land.

~Art & History~
Casino Rama is filled with art inspired or created to reflect the rich history and heritage of the Rama First Nation. Everywhere you look you'll find breathtaking art work that tells the history and stories of the area and the Rama First Nation.

~Culture & History~
The Gathering"The Chippewas of Rama First Nation (Rama) has been known as 'the gathering' place throughout history, where travellers journey to trade, to seek counsel or medicines, and to attend meetings. Today, it is home to Casino Rama Resort" and, not surprisingly, it continues to be known as a 'gathering place' for friends and family to meet. 

~Culture & History~
Chippewas of Rama First Nation: The Weirs (Rama is a Chippewa word meaning fish fence) The Mnjikaning Fish Weirs (a system of underwater fences used to capture fish) was recognized as a National Historic Site in 1982. The fish fence at Atherley Narrows is located close to Rama First Nation. Carbon dating of samples taken of the fish fence stakes were found to be as old as 5000 years. We are talking Pyramids old. For a young country we have some old history. 

~Culture & History~ 
Maple Syrup and First Nations: Maple trees, and maple syrup played an important role and food source for the First Nations people of Ontario's Lake Country long before European settlers came to the region. (There is a Haudenosaunee/Iroquois legend that explains the discovery of maple syrup). In fact early settlers to the area learned from First Nations how to collect sap and produce maple syrup. 

~Culture & History~ 
Shaws Maple Syrup Bush has been tapping maples and producing maple syrup since 1904. Five generations of Shaws have been maple syrup producers with the sixth in training. They tap more than 4000 maples each year. It's clear the maple tree and maple syrup have historical significance and played an important role in the area. Maple syrup and the maple tree have become recognized symbols of Canada, Canadian culture, and being Canadian and are therefore significant to all Canadians.

~Culture & History~
Orillia Museum of Art and History: The building was completed in 1894 is home to more than 12,000 artifacts. The collection includes works of art, objects, archival documents and photos that have historical significance to Orillia and the surrounding areas, and Canada.  

~Art & History~
I found it interesting that OMAH is both backward and forward looking in that along with its many historical pieces, it's also home to an entire floor dedicated to contemporary art. Archival objects and documents are used for historical research and education about the art, history and culture of the area, while the dedicated space for art lessons helps to develop the skills of future artists

Sir Sam Steele Memorial Building, which presently houses the Orillia Museum of Art and History, has also been used as a Post Office and Customs House, by the Orillia Police Force, as a Court House & Jail (the cells are still in basement), by the Sir Sam Steele Art Gallery.

~Art & History~
Thomas Fuller, the original architect of the Sir Sam Steele Memorial Building also worked on Canadian Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, where the our federal government sits. Both the maple leaf and maple syrup are recognized as symbols of Canada and being Canadian. The maple leaf theme is woven into the culture, art, and history of Canada. It can found on our flag, and was on all our coins from 1876 until 1901, and on the our penny (until the it was phased out in 2012). Three maple leaves also appear on the Ontario Coat of Arms. 

And there's the Beaver ... also a recognized symbol of Canada and being Canadian. (of course there's moose, but I digress) Beaver - Beaver Fur - Fur Trade - The Gathering - Rama First Nation - Ontario's Lake Country ... 

And we're back to the beginning again. 

Personally I find all the connections through art, culture, and history fascinating since it is the connections we make with people, and places, and through experiences that makes us as individuals, and Canadians, and as a country wonderful. I highly recommend you connect with some of the art, culture, and history Ontario's Lake Country has to offer. 

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about art, culture, and history ... oh, and bacon ... the maple kind.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

All You Foodies: Ontario's Lake Country Is For You! #OLC #LetsGoMaple

Savour the Flavours of Orillia, Ontario's and Ontario's Lake Country.

Disclosure: I was invited to join a group of bloggers and influencers for a 2 day/3 night getaway to the Ontario's Lakes Country to sample some of the many and wonderful activities, attractions, and eateries this area has to offer. Special thanks to Julie and Stacey of SJ Consulting for organizing and hosting this fabulous experience, and the sponsors for providing an exceptional experience to share with my readers. 

Supreme Cuisine was the Order of the Day(s):
You'll find no shortage of cuisine options at every price point in Ontario's Lake Country. I had the pleasure of sampling seven different eateries, participate in a local craft beer demonstration, a pizza making demonstration, a cooking with chocolate demonstration, Apres Ski with hot chocolates and DIY S'mores, AND nightly sweet treats delivered to my room. Each taste experience was different and delightful in its own way. Our visit coincided with the beginning of Tap into Maple that celebrates and showcases the area's tradition of producing maple syrup. Some producers like the Shaws have been tapping maples for more than a 100 years. 

St Germain's (at CasinoRama) served our group a mouth watering meal, that from appetizer to dessert was both delicious and beautifully presented. Keeping with the maple theme many of the dishes were infused with the flavour of maple, including the Maple Braised Ribs. The chefs and kitchen staff at St Germain's create visually beautiful dishes that are a feast for your eyes and your taste buds, including selections of AAA Alberta beef, lobster, sea bass, and salmon. It also boasts an award winning wine list, an awarding winning pastry chef, and top notch service and wait staff.  

Shaw's Maple Syrup Bush treated our group to a breakfast of maple tea, pancakes, maple beans, and sausages served with maple syrup produced from the 4000 trees they own and tap each year. (Pancakes are served from 8:00 am - 4:00 pm daily during the season.) Five generations of Shaws have been producing maple syrup and tapping maples since 1904. During Maple Tapping season walking trails are open, as well as horse drawn wagon rides on weekends. I think you'll find the experience to be both delicious, educational and a perfect family activity. 

Crazy Horse Sports Bar & Grill at Horseshoe Resort served us a delicious lunch that was much appreciated after the appetite we built up from Fat Biking, Snowshoeing, Cross Country Skiing, and Tubing. After lunch we enjoyed some Apres Ski time making S'mores, and sipping hot chocolate. Not only was the lunch scrumptious the service was great. 

Rustica Pizza Vino (in Orillia) created an exceptional dinner adventure which included a Pizza Making Demonstration about the pizza oven, dough, and pizza making, and a demonstration from Horseshoe Valley Brewing Company. I personally sampled at least 4 kinds of pizza and would recommend all of them. The salad with pears and Gorgonzola was to die for. And it seems I do drink beer after all. Much thanks HSV Brew Co for helping me see the light. 

Photo courtesy of Julie (Try Small Things)

Room Service (at CasinoRama) was such a treat. I had a wonderful bacon and eggs breakfast with fancy Rye bread delivered right to my door. Good thing since I basically refused to get out of bed. 

The Weirs Restaurant (at CasinoRama) serves a Greek Salad that's a salad lover's dream, but Shannon better keep an eye on her Beet Salad because it definitely look worthy of risking the consequences of a grab and dash. Our server was both engaging and efficient, just the way I like it. 

The Grape and Olive Wine & Martini Bistro (in Orillia) delighted our group with a selection of dining options created by award winning Chef Derek Mayes. I chose the pasta, but it was a tough choice between that and the chicken. The salad was a work of art, and the apple crisp dessert tasted like home. To complete our dining experience the group was treated to a sweet cooking with chocolate demonstration by the pastry chef.

Sweet Treats courtesy of CasinoRama:
Each night we were treated to a delivery of delectable sweet treats. Talk about being spoiled!  

More sweetness courtesy of Julie from Try Small Things baked us #LetsGoMaple cookies, and they were delicious! Be sure to check out Julie's #LetsGoMaple post about her experience.

Salad Summary: Being a salad lover it seems only right to share my #LetGoMaple salad experience.

Once again I would like to thank our #LetsGoMaple hosts and sponsors for making this such a memorable experience. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of activities, attractions, things to do, and places to eat in Orillia and Ontario's Lake Country. 

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about good eats and sweet treats.