Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sharing Something Good

During the holiday season it is very easy to lose sight of the positive impact small acts of kindness can make. One of the most beautiful aspect of living in Canada is enjoying our wintery wonderland. This year my children and I started early with our outdoor activity planning, we purchased new snow pants, boots, hats and coats as needed. We decided to donate our  winter clothing from the last few seasons to our local women's shelter. Having a candid conversation about the importance of being warm led to my three lovelies deciding they had more to give. After an day of laughing at old clothes that no longer fit, and gasping at how big the littlest of feet in our home had grown we ended up taking six more totes of warm previously loved clothing to our local shelter.

What is your good news story of the holiday season? Have you helped a family in need or donated to a local charity? According to the 2014 Food Banks Canada Donor Impact Report, more than 4 million Canadians don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Are you looking for an easy way to make a small difference in the lives of Canadian families who live with hunger?

The lovely Amanda, writer and owner of the blog A Mother Hood Experience recently tweeted about her #McCainShareGood story: 

We all know how much good can come from helping others, so this holiday season, McCain Foods wants to fill social media news streams with good news stories, to motivate more people to help support Food Banks Canada. Through December 23, McCain Foods is donating $5 to Food Banks Canada, up to $50,000, for every good news story shared using #McCainShareGood on Twitter or by tagging the McCain Foods Canada Facebook page.

I am also happy to send one of my readers a #McCainShareGood prize pack worth $50. Enter below to win! 

In exchange for my participation in this program I received compensation and a donation was made in my name to a local food bank. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Hardest Conversation

Tonight, I sat down with our little family and told them our beloved 18 year old cat Phoebe died in her sleep last night.

Phoebe snuggled up on her favourite pillow just before bed. 

Phoebe-Cat has lived with us for 14 years. Phoebe and our first dog Tippie had a love hate relationship. They would fight over the water dish but end up sharing the same spot in front of the fire.  Snickers & Easton were terrified of her for years. Phoebe was a big fluffy-butt cat and would repeated smack the puppies on the nose and backsides as they tried to pass her on the stairs. As puppies, Snickers and Easton would whimper at the bottom of the stairs to pick them up because Phoebe would be blocking their way. Our two new kittens, Tigger and Edgar snuggled up with her on a daily basis, they really didn't give her a choice. 

My oldest and I just cried together, she asked if Phoebe was in any pain.  AndiePandie had so many questions about how we knew she had really died and were we sure she just wasn't just in a deep sleep. AndiePandie needed to see her resting in peace. Beckett, wasn't sure what to say...he walked off quietly to his room. I found him a few minutes later, he asked if he could send another letter to Santa and ask for Phoebe to come back for Christmas and cried a angry six year old cry. 

I explained to the kids that Phoebe must have been waiting for us to bring the kittens into our home, so she could pass away knowing that we had cats to give us the love she no longer could.  We also decided that Phoebe and Tippie must be in Heaven together watching over us. 

This experience is a first for my children and I am sure this will lead to further conversations about life, death and everything in between. For now we will remember our French cat, her tenacious attitude and lack of mouse catching skills. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

My Best #LifeAdvice

Over the years I have had many strong and wonderful leaders influence me along my path. Most of the leaders I have interacted with have given me words of wisdom or pearls of knowledge that have helped me. But there is one piece of #LifeAdvice I received that has resonated with me for close to 25 years. 

My father's advice made little sense at the time and my 15 year old self didn't quite understand it's full meaning. In a very small way his advice has been a reminder for me to pause and think before jumping into a situation and or partnership my entire professional career. 

"If you lay down with dogs, 
you are going to get fleas."

I am working with an amazing group of people who are also sharing their best #LifeAdvice with Manulife. Check out their blogs and videos: 

Bit of Mom Sense  - What's the Best Life Advice You've Received? 
Blunt Moms - The Day I Stopped Hitting Myself 
I Don't Blog  - What's the best Life Advice You've Ever Received? 

There are also some amazing vlog offerings from the #LifeAdvice campaign: 

Hacking Into Awesome  - #LifeAdvice with Lori, Cher and Manulife

Take a moment to think about who has given you great life advice and thank them! 

@Manulife is asking you to spread some positive by thanking those in your life who have given you great #LifeAdvice. Take a moment to #PayItForward by thanking someone important to you.

Holiday Wishes With Barbie and Make-A-Wish

Earlier this year my daughters and I had to opportunity to be at the launch of Entrepreneur Barbie with with Erica Diamond owner of Women on the Fence and Chief Inspiration Officer for Barbie. We loved learning about the history of Barbie and catching up with other fantastic and inspiring women like Erica Ehm creator of Yummy Mummy Club

I'm excited to share a unique opportunity with all my readers called Barbie Wishes from the Heart campaign. 

This holiday, Barbie is spreading joy across Canada, honouring loved ones with a unique Barbie™ Wishes from the Heart campaign.  From the beginning of November through December 31, Barbie is placing loved ones first, by asking Canadian children to submit a heartfelt wish for someone special in their lives on the Barbie™ My Dreams website.  Barbie will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish Canada every time a wish is submitted*.

Canadians are also encouraged to spread social joy using the #BarbieWishes hashtag, and Barbie will donate $1 for qualifying posts to a maximum of $10,000*.  Barbie™ will also celebrate the season by granting one wish submitted online!

“We are so proud to partner with Make-A-Wish and to do something meaningful for others,” says Lu Huang, Sr. Marketing Associate, Barbie, Mattel Canada Inc.  “Barbie, by asking children to make a wish for someone else, is teaching important values, such as kindness and selflessness.  We believe children are never too old to dream and think big. And with Barbie, anything is possible, so their wish just might come true!”

How to Submit a Wish and Make a Difference
This holiday season, Barbie™ is encouraging Canadian children to think of someone in their life who deserves something extra special, and to submit a wish on their behalf. Whether it’s a much-needed vacation for Mom, a chance for Dad to meet his childhood hero, or a day of pampering for Grandma, Barbie wants to know.

To submit a wish, children are invited to visit and either record a video message or draft a written wish using the Barbie Wish Card templates.  Submissions will be sent to the user’s Barbie My Dreams registered email address, and the wish will then be forwarded to its intended recipient for them to share.

Barbie™ will release a special compilation video of children describing their holiday wishes during the first week of December; and Barbie™ will make a donation of $1 to Make-A-Wish® each time it is shared from the Barbie YouTube page. Spread the joy using the #BarbieWishes hashtag, and all donations will go to help bring hope, strength and joy to children with life-threatening medical conditions. 
My children and I will be submitting a video and using the hash tag #BarbieWishes during the Christmas holiday. I am looking forward to watching all of my readers inspirational videos. Thank you in advance from the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Canada! 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bringing the Magic of Disney to Ottawa.

Last year at this time my family and I were prepping for our once in a life time Christmas  vacation to Florida. One of the highlights of our trip was staying at the Grand Floridian & experiencing Christmas at Disney. 

This year we will be keeping Christmas local, but we will still enjoy our Disney side with Disney Live! Mickey's Music Festival. 

This year, Mickey Mouse and friends rock the world with the stars from The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story in their new touring Disney Live! Mickey’s Music Festival. Disney hits are remixed to the hottest sounds of today featuring hip hop, pop, swing, reggae, rock, country and much more! The irresistible lineup of performers, including Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy; Ariel, Sebastian and Ursula; Jasmine, Aladdin and Genie; and Woody, Buzz, and Jessie; are among the more than 25 Disney stars featured in this jam session fit for the entire family! You can’t resist dancing singing, playing your air-guitar and laughing with this band of characters! Come join them at Disney Live! Mickey’s Music Festival for a lively concert experience guaranteed to deliver enough rockin’ memories to last a lifetime.

There are only three shows in Ottawa this December. All three shows will be taking place on Sunday, December 15th at Noon, 3 pm, and 6 pm. While you are at the show you can follow along with all fun on Facebook, Twitter and by using the #MickeysMusicFestival and #DisneyLive hashtags. 

You can purchase tickets here

I will be giving away a family 4 pack of tickets to the Sunday, December 15th Show at noon. 

The contest will run from Thursday, November 20th to Thursday, December 4th. The winner will be notified via email. To enter answer this skill testing question: 

Who is your favourite Disney Character ? 

You can enter daily! 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Game On with the Guthrie Family

Being spontaneous is not one of my strong points. As a family we have very busy school, work, athletic and social schedules, therefore there is rarely a night we do not have something planned. A few weeks ago when the Game On box arrived at my door, I worried when I could be spontaneous enough to play all four games, including: Big Picture Apples to Apples; Uno; Mad Gab and Bounce Off. 

The first spontaneous moment we had was last Sunday evening when AndiePandie had a friend over to complete a math home work assignment. 


They were the first ones to open the box and they loved the Anytime is Game time button & loved having their homework interrupted.  

Their game of choice was Big Picture Apples to Apples, needless to say there were many funny moments during our first spontaneous fun shake up!

 Next the Game On: Anytime is Game Time box made the commute into my school. It was report card time and a stress reliever was something my staff & I could use. 

First we decided to test the Anytime is Game Time button to signal when the games would begin in my office. 

After school several staff members, from various positions around the school made their way to my office and Mad Gab was on the menu for our first spontaneous #GameTimeCAN episode. Our Custodian, Principal and an Early Childhood Educator made the first game a hilarious event! 

Who knew that my Principal would be a Mad Gab ninja and my Custodian a card shark?

Mattel Game On! is giving away prizes each week on their Facebook Page to celebrate their new mantra - Anytime Is #GameTimeCAN! All you have to do is answer the weekly game challenge on their Facebook for your change to win! Click here for more details on the contest. Good luck to all my readers!

I have one more video to share, this one truly made me very proud to be part of the Mattel - Anytime is Game Time team. Follow along on with the hashtag #GameTimeCAN on all of my social media channels. You never know when I will show up and shout UNO!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Giving Back with TOMS

Where will you be on Sunday, November 16th? 

I, along with many other fashionistas, will be lined up outside of Target stores in Canada & the United States waiting to pick up several items from the limited edition TOMs for Target collection for this holiday season. 

Retail therapy is good for you, but TOMs makes your purchase better for the rest of the Canada as well. From November 16th, 2014 to December to March 12, 2015 every purchase you make from the #TOMsforTarget collection translates into food, blankets and shoes for people in need. Working collaboratively with the Canadian Red Cross and Food Banks Canada TOMs plans on making the holiday season and beyond bring for Canadians. This program is something I can put my name on and call it part of a new family tradition of giving. 

I was posting on Facebook about how impressed I am with the philanthropic philosophy that TOMs has created & how excited I was to be part of the #TOMsForTarget team. I never expected this to happen: 

I was amazed, not only to hear about the lifelong journey one of my childhood friends has embarked upon, but also the fact that he is living proof of the work that TOMs have accomplished around the world for others in need. That my friends was a serendipitous moment for me.  There is something for everyone in this collection. 

This blanket will be the perfect hostess gift to give this holiday season. 
My son will be fully decked out on Christmas morning in his TOMs gear, like this hoodie and T-shirt. 

Currently, some of my friends are in L.A for the launch of TOMs +Target. You can follow along with +Wendy S ,  +Christine McN and my friends +ShesConnected Social Network for Women by using the #TOMsForTarget hashtag on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook. 

One lucky Canadian participant is going to win a $150 gift card to Target Canada. You can enter below!  ‪#‎TOMSforTarget‬ Holiday Collection