Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Ready to Treat Yourself?

Treat Yourself Twitter Party #TLife

@SherrieMae23 @ClassCollect @TeachersLifeCAN

Thursday, February 12, 2015 from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM (EST)

It’s that time of year when report cards are finalized and it sort of feels like winter will never end. Being a teacher and an educator means that your focus is often on the ones you teach, which is such a joy! That said, it’s quite common at this time of the year in any profession to feel the need to take a step back and reflect, as well as enjoy some downtime and regroup with some great peers.
This is why we’ve decided to throw a party, one you can attend from the comfort of your own home! On Thursday, February 12th, we will be working with two social media savvy educators, Sherrie Mae (@SherrieMae23) who is a Vice Principal  and a blogger, and Amy (@ClassCollect), who is a teacher and also blogs.
Are you new to the Twitter Chat concept? It’s easy! Simply follow us on Twitter at @TeachersLifeCAN, and follow our hosts as well. They will be asking a series of fun questions on their Twitter feeds with the hashtag #TLife. All you have to do is answer the questions on your own Twitter feed using the #TLife hashtag. All participants will be entered to win a grand prize pack consisting of the following items:
– A KOBO Mini
– $50 Gift Certificate to Starbucks
– $50 Gift Certificate to Staples
– $50 Pizza Party for Your Class
We look forward to Twitter chatting with you!
Everyone is welcome to participate by only Canadian's are elibigle to win. In order to win you must RSVP here, follow @SherrieMae23 @ClassCollect and @TeachersLifeCAN and use the #TLife hashtag. Each answer is an entry into the draw to win. The winner will be selected and notified via direct message and then announced using the #TLife hashtag. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Feeling the Love with Italpasta!

Valentines’s Day is a very special celebration in our home. Each year my DH and I do something small but special for each other. Last year we spent the night at the Chateau Laurier skated on the canal under a moon lit sky. It was very romantic. This year it was my turn to come up with something special, yet economical, to mark the day. We rarely eat out, as you can imagine with a family of five it can be very costly. My DH actually prefers to eat at home, so the answer was simple. I needed to create a unique dish filled with love.

I floating around Pinterest and came found some delectable Italpasta recipes , these two dishes caught my eye. 

My daughters love to be in kitchen with me so this was real family effort. We decided to create the Spaghettini with Roasted Beets and Poppy Seeds recipe from Italpasta. This past fall we discovered how much we enjoyed roasted beets and we had never used poppy seed while cooking, only baking.

Our first step was to roast the beets. I washed, peeled and sliced the beets in to thin slices, KT was in charge of adding the extra-virgin olive oil, garlic power and sea salt. The beets toasted for 25 minutes and we turned them once. 

While the beets were roasting we sauteed small shallots, green onions and coriander with unsalted butter over a medium heat. KT added the poppy seeds for toasting while I crumbled the soft ripened goats cheese. 

We cooked about 500 grams of  Italpasta spaghettini, half for our love filled dish and the other half for the kids much loved butter noodles. 

The pasta was the perfect consistency for our taste in only six minutes. We divided the pasta and started to assemble the dish. 

The dish turned out perfectly! The flavours of the roasted beets, goats cheese, poppy seeds and Italpasta married beautifully together. Each bite was savoured! 

If you are looking for the rich red colours the recipe mentions you will need to save 1/2 a cup of pasta water. We, completely missed that part of the recipe but nonetheless, loved this creation.  In total, working together, it took 30 minutes to create our dish. KT and I laughed at how white our pasta turned out, but learned how important it is to read the entire recipe! 

Would you like to win a Italpasta prize pack? Click over to my friend Sandy at Milk and Eggs  and enter to win! 

You can also follow Italpasta on Twitter @ForPastaLovers and find more tasty recipes on their Facebook page Italpasta Limited . I also appreciated the informational YouTube videos which gave me a tutorial on cooking gluten free pasta.  

Below is the original recipe, KT and created out dish from. Happy Cooking! 

Italpasta’s Spaghettini with Roasted Beet and Poppy Seed

Serves 2

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes


½ pound      Italpasta Total Pasta Spaghettini         (225 g) 

2                  small roasted red beets, peeled and cut into wedges 

2 tbsps         unsalted butter       (30mL)

1 tbsp           Italpasta Extra Virgin Olive Oil      (15mL)

1                   small shallot, minced  

1 tbsp           poppy seeds   (15mL)

2                   sprigs fresh thyme, leaves finely chopped 

                     salt and pepper

¼ cup           crumbled soft ripened goats cheese, for serving      (60mL)

Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente or to your taste. Drain and reserve ½ cup pasta water.

In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, brown the butter. Reduce the heat slightly, add extra-virgin olive oil, and stir to combine. Add minced shallot, and cook for 2 minutes, until softened, stir in poppy seeds. Toast the seeds for 1-2 minutes.

To the shallots and poppy seeds, add the chopped beets and thyme, stir for 1-2 minutes. Add ½ cup of pasta water to the skillet. Simmer the sauce over medium heat for 2 minutes. 

Transfer pasta to the skillet and cook for 1 minute until combined, stirring constantly. Taste and adjust salt and pepper seasoning. Serve in warm pasta bowls and top with crumbled goat’s 

I was given a gift card to purchase the items needed to create my recipe. The thoughts, experiences and opinions are my own. 

My Aching Heart - For Dog Lovers Only

I really don't know what to say. This video fills my heart with happiness and sadness at the same time. There are angels on this earth and this women is one of them:

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Five Paws Up!

The three-mini me’s love and I adventure. There is rarely a weekend where we are not going on some kind of #GuthrieFamilyAdventure. This year my family and I are part of the #StreamTeam with Netflix Canada. We find out about new shows, share craft & unique food ideas and recommend our “must see TV” to our followers and friends. With Netflix we are finding our fill of adventure especially when the frightfully cold weather keeps us inside. 

This month the New Adventures of Puss in Boots hits the screen. You many remember Puss from his previous adventures with Shriek, Donkey and Fiona. Now, Puss is on his own and swashbuckling his way in out homes and hearts. Over the Christmas holidays, I read the a new version of the much loved fairy tale called “ Puss in Boots: The Adventures of the Most Enterprising Feline” by Phillip Pullman. It was interesting to see how my three made text to self and text to media connections while watching the movie. 

Edgar, dreaming of adventure. 

As a family, we decided we had more room in our hearts and adopted two new kittens that were in search of their forever families. Tigger and Edgar are an adventure all of their own. The amount of spontaneous laughter that these two felines have brought in to our home is unbelievable. Beckett has decided that when we sleep the kitten have adventures without us and that is why they sleep all day. 

Tigger is ready for adventure!

We loved the New Adventures of Puss in Boots and we cannot wait for the next new adventure. We give The New Adventure of Puss in Boots 5 paws up! 

Friday, January 23, 2015

One in Six

Each school day, for the last 15 years, I have gone to work knowing that my three children’s bellies are full. I have set them up for success by ensuring that they have had a healthy breakfast. They are more attentive, active and not clock watching until the nutrition bell rings.

As a Vice Principal, I am very happy to facilitate the same opportunity for my students with the support of the United Way and the Breakfast Programs of Canada.  Each morning, I am able to offer students from kindergarten to grade eight , fresh fruit, grains and dairy options to ensure optimum success in our learning environment. Our Breakfast Program success is truly a team effort. Leaders from our grade eight class help with the food preparation and daily tallies, the office assistant ensures that we have enough food bought and I am able to survey my students each morning and as they start their day off on a positive note. I decided the best place for our Breakfast Program was the large front foyer of our school. It is an open airy space that allows our participants to sit at tables and interact with staff, other students and school community members. Our numbers fluctuate daily but on average each morning we serve 10 to 20 students.

My first question, when issues arise on the yard, in the classroom or hallways of our school is consistently, “Did you have breakfast this morning?”. Finding out the reason or antecedent of the issue helps make the resolution a much quicker process. Besides our well stocked breakfast program, we also ensure that students who are hungry during nutrition breaks can find a healthy snack in the office. Again, fresh fruit, dairy and grains are made available to all students with a smile and no questions asked. This is the first year of a 100% volunteer driven Breakfast Program it is facilitated my by students, staff and I. As we have only been running our Breakfast Program for three  months, I cannot give specific statistics how our program has decreased the issues in our school, but we are tracking and I am looking forward to observing a downward trend over the upcoming months.

Elimination of hunger in my students has not solved every issue in my school, but it has ensured that all my students can start their day as my own children do, with a full stomach and the ability to focus on learning rather than on their empty stomachs.

You can follow along with the conversation by visiting the Grocery Foundation  site and following them on Facebook and Twitter

There is also #Toonies4Tummies Twitter party on January 27th, 2015 with the fabulous HartGalla & ShashersLife as moderators along with the fine folks from the Grocery Foundation . Join in the party and you learn how to track your toonie donation. 

Then on February 5th, the very successful #TooniesforTummies campaign kicks off in Ontario and Atlantic Canada. 

As a parent, educator and community coach, I am very proud to be part of the #TooniesforTunnies campaign. 

I am supporting this campaign via SPLASH Media engagement on behalf of the Grocery Foundation. My story & experiences are my own.

15 Days and Counting

 This year my resolution was simply to take better care of myself. I decided to give myself several smaller goals including making myself more fiscally responsible, taking better care of my health and making our mornings less stressful for the family. For ten years I have been making the commute into Ottawa. I like to drive so it has never been an issue of not wanting to drive. However, I became habitual in my driving habits, including stopping for coffee every weekday morning. 

If it was just coffee, the $2.00 per day would add up to $10.00 per week, $40.00 per month equaling $480.00 each year and that would not have been difficult to come to terms with. In my case, however it wasn’t just coffee I was buying. Most days I would have a latte with an extra espresso shot (or two), some type breakfast sandwich and muffin for a mid morning snack. I was spending between $8 to $10 a day. At $8.00 per day, $40.00 per week, $160 per month and close to $1900 per year the latte affect had finally become a reality in my life. (*insert jaw drop here*) 

I couldn’t live like this anymore. The money is one aspect that stung, how could I be that wasteful with my money? There was another side effect of my habitual behaviour, the loss of my waist line & energy. I don’t even want to begin to “guesstimate” how many grams of saturated fat, sugar, salt and basically the colossal amount of “food like” products I ingested over the past 10 years. I had come to a point where something had to give, as my all my clothes began not to fit and my muffin top turned into a baker’s dozen top. 

Mornings, can be completely bat poop crazy in our home, I know we are not alone and many families struggle to get out of the house on time. I had to be super organized, wake up at 4:30 am and pray there would be no hiccups each morning. Even when the dogs, kittens and kids were off to a positive start to the morning, there was still the unknown variable of the drive-thru. Stopping for coffee could be a two minute stop or 15 minutes depending on the number of other commuters in line that morning. 

Fifteen school days ago, things began to change, I just stopped stopping for coffee. In total I have saved approximately $120.00, I have lost 4 pounds and my mornings have become a little less stressful. No, its not perfect each morning. There are still sock issues, hair brushes to be found and lunch selection arguments to get over but things are getting better in my home as I have found more time. 

I feel this process has been successful and I have not given into the pull of the drive-thru because I see positive changes in every aspect of my smaller goals, within my larger resolution.  Is everything perfect? No, I have a very long way to go on all three smaller goals for the remaining 49 weeks of 2015, but after three weeks I am seeing change and that motivates me to keep going. 

Do you have any suggestion to help keep me motivated? Are you keeping up with your goals for 2015 and what is keeping you motivated? 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Experience a World of Fantasy with Disney on Ice!

Mickey Mouse is coming back to the Ottawa! Ottawa will be hosting that fabulous mouse and his friends at the Canadian Tire Centre showcasing the Worlds of Fantasy shows running from February 25th until March 1st. We are Disney fans, we love the magic of the show and being entertained by these lovable Disney characters.

This year Mickey and Minnie take off on "Worlds of Fantasy" adventure, experiencing four different worlds in one show. The audience will be delighted seeing the characters from Cars, The Little Mermaid, Tinker Bell and Toy Story 3 come to life.

My son, Beckett is a huge Cars fan and cannot wait to see Lightening McQueen take centre ice. AndiePandie & my sister are fans of Tinker Bell and her spunky little attitude, while Katie & I are most looking forward to seeing Woody, Jessie & BullsEye during the Toy Story 3 adventure segment.

The shows all take place at the Canadian Tire Centre located in Kanata. My family and I  have attended many different events at the CTC. The parking attendants, concession staff, ushers and ticket associates have been very patient & helpful with my family and I each time we have attended an event. The staff reflects pride in their jobs and obviously enjoy working there.

I have a family four pack of tickets to give away for Opening Night - Wednesday, February 25th, 2015 at 7:00 pm. To win just tell me which Disney character you are most excited to see in the comments. I will email the winner on Monday, February 9th, 2015. Enter Daily! 

The Ottawa Disney on Ice Worlds of Fantasy Ottawa Schedule is as follows: 

Wednesday, Feb. 25 – 7 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 26 – 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 27 – 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 28 – 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and a 7 p.m. French performance
Sunday, March 1 – 11 a.m. and a 3 p.m. French performance

Ticket Information:

Tickets for Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Fantasy can be purchased by visiting, by phone at 613-599-FANS (3267) or 1-877-788-FANS (3267); in person at each of the 10 participating Canadian Tire stores in Ottawa as well as the store in Perth, The Sens Store at Carlingwood Mall and Place d'Orléans, any Ottawa Sports Experts location, Les Galeries de Hull, Ottawa Festivals and at the Canadian Tire Centre box office. Tickets are $72 (rinkside seats), $52, $32, $23 and $15 for all shows.

All tickets for opening night (excluding rinkside and VIP seats) are only $15. Prices include all taxes but exclude CRF and convenience charges. All persons two  years of age and older must have a ticket to enter the venue.

I received something of value from Feld Entertainment as part of their Insider Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.