Thursday, July 23, 2015

Do you Wanna Play?

My children have an abundance of energy. Each beautiful summer day we spend hours in the pool, playing outside with friends and biking around the neighbourhood.  Some days are lazier than others, but for the most part we are very active.

Contemplating the first swim of the season! #wannaplay 

Swimming happens to be our "go to" activity. The ability to cool off during the hot summer days and splashing around with friends is consistently at the top of my three children's list. We share our time between swimming at our local pool, in our own pool and at the lake. Each location offers something the others do not.

It is never too cold! #WannaPlay 

At home, we have the ability to be a little sillier, at the local pool the kids can have fun with a larger group of kids and at the lake the kids share the water with fishy friends and turtles.

A leaping good time! #wannaplay 

Swimming not only keeps the children active it also has many health benefits, however my favourite it the fact that the exit the water clean & tired. However, some days it's all about just throwing a baseball around! 
Canadian Tire  launched a really fun contest to get all of us moving this summer. 

My summer loving kids! #wannaplay 

The 30 Day #WannaPlay Photo Challenge Contest will challenge us every day on Twitter until August 4th, 2015. To enter the contest, simply upload your playing/active themed photo or video to Twitter or Instagram and tag @CanadianTire and #WannaPlay.. You will have a chance to win $100 Canadian Tire gift card every day and you will be entered for the $1000 Canadian Tire gift card grand prize. You can enter every day! 

Swimmer #3 #WannaPlay 

Just think of all the fun stuff you can play with for $100 or $1000 from Canadian Tire. Personally, I would buy a Stand Up Paddle Board. We love kayaking at the cottage and I think a SUP would be a perfect new addition.  Do you need some ideas for play time? 

Here are my top 5 #WannaPlay tips:  

1. Walk away from the laptop and turn off your phone. I call my phone my electronic leash, leaving it in my purse on on the charger in the house lets my inner kid come come out to play. 

2. Knock on your neighbour's door. I know, it sounds scary but games are better with more kids. Playing tag with 7 little boys will burn more energy and elongate the fun. Start knocking! 

3. Just add water. Water balloon tag, water shooters and even just turning on the sprinkler can create a the perfect playtime for kids and adults. 

4. Role playing is fun! Pretend to be Gru or a Minion, run around the yard like you are chasing after bananas. You will be surprised how creative your kids can be. 

5. Pull out the hockey sticks. Hockey is just not for summer, road hockey in the driveway is an excellent, yet non competitive way, to play our national sport. This would be a great teachable opportunity to tell them about Paul Henderson and his game winning goal. 

Balls, Balls, Balls #WannaPlay 

So, do you #WannaPlay ? 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Note From Hiccup

This morning, the sky looked a little ominous as we ran a few errands. By the time we got home the skies had opened up and it was suddenly an indoor afternoon activity day. Just as the first coat of paint started to dry on our craft of the day, the doorbell rang. All three kids ran for the door and found our very friendly UPS guy standing there with a huge box.

To say Beckett was happy would be an understatement.

There was a note from Hiccup, talking about what life was like on the Island of Berk, his best friend toothless and their new upcoming adventures. Their new adventure from DreamWorks Animation is called Dragons: Race to the Edge launched exclusively on Netflix on June 26th, just in time for the summer. 

This summer, Hiccup and Toothless, from the critically acclaimed How to Train Your Dragon films are embarking on unparalleled adventures in the all-new Netflix original series Dragons: Race to the Edge -and inviting you along for the dragon ride.Soaring beyond their home on the island of Berk in search of new dragons, Dragons: Race to the Edge introduces some of the most exciting dragons yet, each with its own amazing abilities -- shock waves, cannon balls and fire blasts, just to name a few. With the magical Dragon Eye, an artifact Hiccup finds aboard an abandoned ship, Hiccup learns there is more outside the confines of Berk, and that a little curiosity and determination can make every day an exciting journey. In Hiccup’s own words, “this changes everything.”

Beckett and I decided to have an indoor adventure of our own. We started with the map of Berk and found our route to adventure. 

We made sure to pack some snacks for the humans and dragons,   

we brought along a few friends from Berk, 

and a few of our own. 

A photo posted by Sherrie Guthrie (@sherrieguthrie) on

Before the afternoon was over we snuggled up on the couch with our new Dragon blanket and watched Hiccup in action. Thank you to Netflix Canada & Hiccup for the wonderful surprises. Becket & I enjoyed our rainy day adventures. 

Free Apple Camps Across Canada!

Last year  KT and Andie attended a free, three day camp at the Apple Store located in Bayshore Mall. The learned how to make movies using the iMovies app and Music using the GarageBand app. 
There were approximately 12 children in each group and the girls were proud to show off their end products. 

This summer Apple Canada is offering Apple Camps to youth across Canada. We are unable to attend this year, however I hope some of my Good Karma Baby readers will be able to have an educational and fun experience this summer. 

A little bit about Apple Camp: 

Join us at Apple Camp for three-day workshops where kids ages 8 to 12 bring their imaginations to life. They'll learn to make movies or create interactive books complete with their own illustrations and sound effects. And each workshop ends with the Apple Camp Showcase so campers can share their finished projects.

There are two different camp themes to choose from this summer: Stories in Motion with iMovie and Interactive Storytelling with iBooks. The camps in Ottawa run from July 20th - August 7th, 2015. 

During Apple Camp I decided to take advantage of my the free Apple Workshops while Beckett played with the huge iMac's located in the store. 

Sign up ASAP, as space is limited! Each child is only able to participate in one camp each summer. 


A Shopkins Takeover!

"Mrs. Guthrie, Mrs. Guthrie look what I got this weekend at my birthday party!"

"Oh my, Bailey, what is that ....a roll of toilet paper?"

"Yes, Mrs. Guthrie! It is the cutest toilet paper ever!"

Cue student skipping down the hall in happiness.......

This was my first experience with Shopkins. Many students would gleefully tell me about their Shopkins adventures each morning during our walking meetings or just in passing in the hall. On the yard I would see expressive and creative play on the yard with the small grocery items held in individual shopping bags. They would often be carrying checklists to keep track of which Shopkins they had and compare with other students. 

Shopkins is a collectible line of characters inspired by items found in the grocery store. They spark
imaginations and are fun to collect with unique characters, such as Apple Blossom, Pa' Pizza
and the Limited Edition, Cupcake Queen. The line also offers themed playsets such as the Small Mart, Fruits & Vegetables and Bakery Stand.

I asked my own children what they thought about Shopkins.  My pre-teen daughter made a sound that only dolphins could hear when I mentioned Shopkins. We receive  several packages a week from brands and PR companies that the kids love to dive into, however most are focused on the under 10 set. This was the first time in a long time that there was something for my soon-to-be teenager to review.

Of course KT, who is an avid Youtube viewer, decided we needed to create unboxing videos to post similar to other Shopkins fans that are glued to the brand’s YouTube series of webisodes,
which have been viewed more than 13 million times and have spurred over 400 million views of
online fan videos. So we did!

A video posted by Sherrie Guthrie (@sherrieguthrie) on

A video posted by Sherrie Guthrie (@sherrieguthrie) on

A video posted by Sherrie Guthrie (@sherrieguthrie) on

A video posted by Sherrie Guthrie (@sherrieguthrie) on

This summer, as we embark on one of our #GuthrieFamilyAdventure we will be making a stop at Showcase. As the home for Shopkins in Canada, Showcase boasts more than 100 items with more arriving daily, including characters, playsets, books and board games — offering greater selection and stock than any other retailer in the country. And while other retailers only sell mystery packs, Showcase is the only retailer in the world to offer individual Shopkins characters at to help kids complete their collection.  

I love that Showcase is a Canadian success story, Showcase employs a unique combination of trend identification technology, an agile supply chain, and a fun and interactive retail shopping experience. The result is the hottest trends first, fast, and often exclusively, making Showcase the leading destination for trending products and gifts.

All three Guthrie's enjoyed reviewing the Shopkins mini figures. They have decided to work cooperatively to collect all the Shopkins. This past weekend all three mini-me's  pooled their allowances to  buy a Shopkins guide and are excited to start collecting Season 3! 

Happy Shopkins Shopping! 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Our Calypso Adventure!

Summer is finally here. The kids and I have started our summer routine of swimming lessons, swim team, day trips and weekends at the cottage. To kick off the summer of 2015,  we decided to head over to Calypso water park. Calypso is North America's biggest water park and has something for every age group. When you arrive at Calypso the parking fee is $8, are many turnstiles to pay the fee, I suggest bringing cash to make the transaction faster. 

We have arrived. 
We entered the park with high hopes of water adventure, speedy slides and a welcoming lazy river. Renting a VIP Cabana was first step in the right direction. The Cabana was our home base and meeting place. The Cabana's come with a fridge, free wifi and most importantly a quiet spot to rest and reconnect with all of our group members. On this trip we had two preteens, a nine year old and a 6 year old.

Checking out the slides. 

The park actually opens an hour before the slides open. This is a wonderful tidbit of information for families looking to claim a picnic table as a home base for the day. We arrived at 9:30 am and had the opportunity to look around the park area, change into our swimsuits, find the water fountains and look in the gift shops. 

Our team loaded up for a day of adventure. 

By the time the gates to the slides opened the kids were already running to be the first on the water slides. Check out the calendar on the Calypso site to plan your day of fun at the park.

Our VIP Cabana staff. 

I am trying to "let it go" a bit more as a parent, meaning I'm trying to be less of a helicopter parent. KT brought her BFF with her to Calypso. The two girls spend the day running from slide to slide independently. They would come back to the Cabana to check in periodically or when they were hungry. With close to 600 staff members, 120 lifeguards and 55 slide attendants I felt that KT and her friend would be safe and their well-being was a priority for the staff. Calypso also has a nurse on site at all times at the first aid station if medical attention was ever necessary. It was not easy to just let her go, but by showing KT I trust her and have confidence in her ability to take care of herself, I am helping shape the person she will become. 

I feel the need for speed! 
Beckett, AndiePandie and I spent most of our time in the  Jungle Run (lazy river) just outside our cabana and in the Pirate's AquaPlay area. There were many primary aged participants on the pirate ship during our visit with older siblings and parents trailing along. One of the best parts of the magnificent ship is the huge bucket that completely soaks the participants with hundreds of liters of water.  Zoo Lagoon is a preschoolers paradise. There are perfectly sized slides, water sprayers and splashy pools for the under 5 set. This area was filled with running toddlers and happy parents the day we visited. 

Just my speed, the Jungle Run. 

There are many options for lunches and snacks at Calypso, there is more than the regular park fare. We found the chicken Caesar salad to be the perfect side dish for the sandwiches and fruit tray we brought from home. You are able to bring in coolers of food and drinks to the park. However, there are no glass containers or alcohol allowed in the park for obvious safety reasons. Each bag and cooler is inspected upon entry so be ready to show what you have brought with you. 

Are we tall enough Mom? 
The five of us decided to complete the Jungle Challenge together. There are ropes of all sizes, abilities and strengths. We walked over alligators, logs, huge leaves and made our way across the obstacle course laughing at each. It was not an easy feat to cross the more challenging ropes course, I may need more time in the gym before I go again. 

Beckett relaxing with his Minions! 

Safety is the number one concern for the staff at Calypso. If you are interested in learning more about the rides and how to ride them safely, I strongly suggest watching the videos on the website before you go. One final money saving tip, when you enter the park and pick up your tickets for the day, you will be asked if you would like a $10 return ticket. The return ticket can be used up to 6 days after your first visit. 

Front office staff!

My family and I were compensated for our visit, however the opinions are our own. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Canada Day Food Frenzy!

Canada Day is a big deal in our house. We invite people into our home and celebrate the anniversary of our country's confederation. This year was a bit of an exception. The rain, thunder, wind and frequent downpours may have dampened the day and our party but not our spirit!

We started the day with matching tattoos and our favourite family activity, swimming. Our pool offered free public swimming, lifeguard games (think of reindeer games) and a family swim to end the afternoon. Despite the weather our community's recreation committee had free family friendly activities, games and crafts prepped for all the proud little Canadians in our town. 

Several times during our swim the thunder rumbled and we had to exit the pool for safety reasons. That was when the mini-me's began to hear their own tummies rumbling! AndiePandie wanted something with chocolate and bananas, white Beckett wanted puffy chicken. I like to let the kids be as creative as possible in the kitchen however, I have no idea what we needed to create puffy chicken. When are arrived home and were slightly hangry we quickly figured out what his favorite ingredients were and started creating some puffy chicken. 

Beckett's Puffy Chicken is a modified Chicken Empanada recipe. If I called this dish Chicken Empanada there is no way he would eat it. Beckett loves chicken, cheese and colourful peppers. Last month on a Beavers camping trip he discovered he also really enjoys pastry crust cooked over a campfire. There was no campfire today due to the rain, so we improvised. 

Beckett's Puffy Chicken 
2 cups cooked separated chicken
1 package herb & garlic cream cheese 
2 cups shredded marble cheese 
2 cups chopped red, orange & yellow peppers
2 large Tenderflake Pie shells (thawed) 
2 tsp garlic powder 
salt & pepper to taste 

We started by thawing our two Tenderflake pie shells and creating medium circles with a small glass container as a mold.

Tenderflake pie shell thawed and removed from the tin foil. 

With two pie shells I was able to make 10 circles for empanadas.

Glass container I used to create the circles for empanadas. 

Andie placed a heaping tablespoon of the chicken and cheese mixture, folded the circles into semi-circles and pinched the edges to close the them. 

Shredded cheese, cream cheese, cut chicken breast, colourful peppers, garlic powder for the filling. 

We baked the empanadas at 400 degrees for for 15 minutes, then turned them over and baked for another 10 minutes. The pastry was light and crispy while the filling was baked to cheesy chicken perfection.  

Perfect flaky pastry ! 

Since hearing about the new Minion movie, Andie Pandie has been a little obsessed with bananas. She is my little baker and wanted to create something with Tenderflake puff pastry.

We decided to be creative with what we could find in the house, Andie was happy as long as banana was the main ingredient. 

Chocolate Banana Minion Pastries 
1 square frozen puff pastry (unfolded) 
1/2 bag Ghirardelli chocolate chips
2 large bananas (sliced) 
Cinnamon Sugar 

We rolled out one of the thawed squares of puff pastry on our marble countertop. We pre-baked the puff pastry for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Andie spread out the chocolate chips and bananas evenly on the base of the pastry. She then sprinkled cinnamon sugar and nutmeg over the bananas and folded the pastry at the corners. 

This is the pastry before baking with the corners and ends slightly pinched. 
After picture! Lining the puff pastry with parchment paper was helpful when placing & removing the gooey goodness from the oven. 

We put the pastry back in the oven for 10 more minutes to melt the chocolate. The pastry edges turned golden brown and tasted like butter. 
Finished product! 

Andie felt it would be better with whip cream as a garnish, of course she was right. In order to help you have some fun in the kitchen with Tenderflake products,  I am giving away 5 product coupons to one of my readers. 

Please let me know in the comments below what you would create with Tenderflake. The winner will be emailed on Friday, July 10th 2015. You can enter everyday and for an extra entry follow me on Pinterest, then back and leave a comment with your Pinterest page so I can follow you back! 

Good Luck & Happy Canada Day! 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Family Travel with TreehouseGo

This summer my family and I, will be exploring most of Eastern Canada. During July, we will go on overnight and weekend trips in Ontario & Quebec. In August we will travel 2731 kilometers, to Newfoundland and visit my husband's childhood summer home. This will be our first, long-distance driving adventure we have taken as a family. (send coffee) 

Each child has a travelling tablet that suits their needs and size. They also each have their own selection of apps, that keeps them entertained and usually contains some educational content to keep me happy. 

Just in time for our summer family travel adventure Treehouse has launched its TreehouseGO app for mobile devices and tablets. The beauty of this app is that Beckett can watch Treehouse shows anytime & anywhere without an internet connection. TreehouseGO gives Beckett on-the-go access in a safe and educational environment that I trust. Our experience with TreehouseGO app has been nothing but positive. Beckett has found the app easy to navigate, he has been able to find all of his favourite shows including Dora and Friends, Little Charmers, Octonauts, Toopy & Binoo, Bubble Guppies and Mike the Knight. I also like that the app, free to Treehouse TV subscribers, will be continually updated with the most popular and current Treehouse series.  There will be little chance of me hearing, "Mommy, I am BORED" on our long drive with this app. 

The TreehouseGO app features full -length episodes on demand and you can watch the channel live as it airs by clicking on the Live TV icon. Our favourite option is the offline "My Backpack" download to go option. By filling Beckett's "Backpack" before we embark on our journey, I save an data & internet roaming charges. 

You can visit the the TreehouseGo site for more information. Upon downloading and opening the TreehouseGO app, users will be able to submit their email to receive special promotions such as a discount code for tickets to Treehouse Big Day Out, the two day family festival taking place in Toronto on Saturday, September 12 and Sunday, September 13.

One other small characteristics of the TreehouseGo app that we appreciate is the closed captioning option. As Beckett is still learning his blends and increasing his reading fluency we keep the closed captioning on. This gives Beckett the opportunity to read the words as he hears them which will contribute to his acquisition of basic literacy skills.

This is the first app is a suite of apps created by Corus. If this is any indication of the high  quality apps offered by Corus, we will be repeat customers!