Holidays, Life, Parenting, Reviews & Giveaways

Sparkling Vintage Jewelry!! My best giveaway ever – $250 to Bee’s Knees Gems (Open to Canadians)

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been a little obsessed with big sparkly gem jewelry this year.  I know they’re a big trend right now, and that might be why I’ve gone bling crazy, but you have to admit, they do look great.  I spent most of the winter season searching for a perfect necklace to wear for the various holidays parties, but all my searches resulted in me leaving stores empty-handed.  While I did spot some beautiful pieces they were too expensive, and everything that was more affordable just looked cheap.  I was left a little disappointed to say the least.

More recently, I was introduced to an amazing Canadian company that specializes in beautiful vintage Gem jewelry; Bee’s Knees GemsBeeskneeslogoI probably spent a good hour perusing the web-site.  Every piece was so pretty and special.  I had a hard time deciding whether I should pick the trendy emerald-green and rose gold ring, the teardrop sapphire pendant on a rose gold chain, or the black onyx ring.  After much deliberation and some consultation with my husband (yes, he even helped), I decided to get the cushion cut pendant necklace.  I’ve been searching for something similar to this for a while now.  I also wanted something that I could wear on a daily basis but easily use to go from day wear to evening wear.necklace

Continue reading “Sparkling Vintage Jewelry!! My best giveaway ever – $250 to Bee’s Knees Gems (Open to Canadians)”

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Family, Holidays, Parenting, Reviews & Giveaways

Holiday Entertaining Made Easy. Pickle Barrel Catering Review

If you’re anything like me, you love entertaining.  Ever since we bought our house almost seven years ago we’ve found many excuse to have people over.  House warming party, birthday parties, holidays, engagement parties, BBQs on warm summer days, mommy-group play dates, meet the baby, hosting guests from out-of-town, girls night in, clothes swap, super bowl parties and every other excuse I could find.  We’ve probably hosted 50 + events at our place and we’re not stopping anytime soon.

However, if you’re also like me, you’re not into cooking.  I know so many people who love to cook and bake as a way to relax.  But for me, I cook to stay alive and to feed my family something other than cereal, cream-cheese bagels, and Kraft-Dinner.  In fact, I only started cooking about four years ago.  So while I’ve hosted several parties, I did what any decent business would do, I outsourced the part that I wasn’t good – FOOD.DSC_0559

With the holiday season upon us, toddler in tow, my very pregnant self and lack of experience (or desire) for cooking large meals, I once again decided to outsource what I feel is the most important part of entertaining.  I got a chance to try out the amazing holiday feast offered by Pickle Barrel Catering while I had my family over for a pre-holiday, holiday dinner.  This simple, yet delicious and traditional meal is perfect for holiday entertaining. It comes with easy reheating instructions and there’s plenty to offer for  vegetarians.

Here’s what you can expect to receive (http://picklebarrelcatering.com/featured-menu/complete-turkey-holiday-dinner.html):

A whole turkey roasted, pre-carved and decorated or ready to be carved and enjoyed; accompanied by stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce. This ready made meal for your holiday celebration also includes butternut squash soup, mixed greens salad and your choice of herb roasted mini potatoes, maple mashed sweet potatoes, or garlic mashed potatoes, choice of green beans with caramelized onions and almonds or roasted root vegetables, and a crumble top apple pie and an assorted fresh fruit platter for dessert!DSC_0566

For $25.99 per person, this meal is definitely affordable, especially considering how much food you get.  If you were to eat out, you would never receive so much “bang for your buck”.  Even after feeding six people, we had enough left-overs for a week and if there’s one thing I love more than a turkey dinner its having left-overs the next day.

Rose Reisman, who helped create the menus for Pickle Barrel has some great tips for easy entertaining on her blog: http://www.artoflivingwell.ca/blog/easy-entertaining-tips/  I also had a chance to speak to her and here’s a few of my favourite tips:

  1. Inquire of potential allergies and have an option of chicken, fish and vegetarian dishes
  2. Ask for help from your guests or hire help if you think you’ll need it.
  3. Set the table ahead of your guests’ arrival
  4. To involve the kids with the meal, make something special for them (i.e. cheese pizza’s instead of pizza with various toppings) and let them play pretend that they’re servers or cooks.
  5. Hire a babysitter to keep the kids occupied (arts, reading, playing) in a separate room while you’re entertaining your friends
  6. Let the kids in on the fun.  They may stay up later than usual, but they’ll probably behave themselves knowing that they’re included in the celebration.

DSC_0567

The holiday feast is available to order now through December 31st.  The Pickle Barrel even delivers on Christmas Day!  You can place your order online here: http://picklebarrelcatering.com/holiday-entertaining-menus.html or by phone at 416.493.4333

So any of you moms or parents out there who want a traditional holiday meal but don’t have all day to prepare it, this is a GREAT alternative.

children, Family, Holidays, Parenting, Reviews & Giveaways

Imagine celebrating the holidays every month! Now you can, with the Baby Trunk {Review}

Opening Happiness Every Month is Baby Trunk’s tag line; and this perfectly describes their unique service.

Imagine receiving a package every month with 4 or 5 products from the best brands for your little one.  Each package is customized based on your child’s age (newborn to 3 years) and gender so they can be utilized immediately.  And who doesn’t love receiving packages in the mail.  I know I do, especially those that are surprises.  That’s how I felt when I received my first Baby Trunk package in late October.  I tore it open and found 5 items in the box that fell under the theme of “The Little Monster Box”.

The items include “Boo Bunny!” book, a race car (by Green Toys), a (organic) Giraffe Lovie Blanket, a Toy & Surface cleaner and packages of Organic Baby Food.  Total retail price of the five products is approximately $50.

Not only are these products organic and environmentally friendly, but they have all been selected and approved by mom’s, not endorsed by the companies that they are purchased from.  So you know you are receiving quality, useful products for your family.

With so many of our family and friends expecting their first (and some their second) baby, this makes for a unique and special gift idea.  I know I would love to receive it 😉 (hint, hint, wink, wink). I’ve already purchased one for a friend of mine.

Here’s how it works:

1. Go on Baby Trunk’s website (www.babytrunk.ca) and register

2. Choose a plan…. (added bonus, shipping is free!!!)

$35 / month

$105 / 3 months

$175 / 6 months (1 month is free)

$350 / 12 months (2 months are free)

3. Look forward to your Trunk delivery (or have a close family or friend anticipate the arrival of their amazing gift).

In order to receive the next Trunk in time for the holidays sign-up before December 12th, 2012.

Happy Holidays & Happy shopping 🙂

children, Family, Holidays, Parenting, Reviews & Giveaways

My favourite SPOT for personalized gifts; KidSpot. Review & Giveaway (open to all Canadians)

Growing-up, believe it or not, my name, MAYA, wasn’t very popular.  I always envied kids who were able to walk into any toy store and find their name all over various paraphernalia.  Whether it was a cup, lunch-bag, key-chains or pens, I wish I could get one with my name.

So when I had my son, KYLE, I was beyond excited to be able to purchase him various stuff with his name on it.  Perhaps I went over-board at times, but personalized gifts (to both give and receive) are some of my favourites.  Of course, I don’t buy it just for the sake of having my son’s name on everything ,but rather, I’m selective about what I buy.  Since selection, quality and customer service are important to me, I only purchase my personalized items from KidSpot – Unique Gifts For Babies & Kids (www.kids-spot.ca).  A local store in the GTA that also sells merchandise online (ships anywhere in Canada).  The best part is that the personalization is free with your purchase!  You can select the font and colour yourself; they even offer Hebrew letters.  Here’s some of my favourite items; some of which we received as gifts and some we purchased:

Last month we celebrated Kyle’s birthday.  Instead of the traditional dollar-store loot-bag items (which end up costing a fortune when all is said and done), I’ve opted for a more personalized loot-bag.  I purchased pencil-cases and had each one personalized with the kids’ names on it.  I filled each pencil-case with crayons, stickers and a few candy items and tied it to a colouring book.  To say the least, these loot bags were hits with both the parents and the children.  One of the parents told me that their son even slept with his pencil-case!!

Not only are these great and unique baby shower and birthday gifts, but they’re also great for the holidays.  And believe it or not, the holidays are just around the corner, and KidSpot has some great items for you entire family including personalized x-mas stockings.  They currently have an online promotion where you can receive 10% off your purchase (use code kidspot during checkout).  Also, one lucky reader will receive a $30 gift-card to use towards their purchase of any item offered at KidSpot.

To enter this contest, you need to do one of the followings.  The more you do, the more entries you will receive in the draw.  Kindly leave me a message at the end of this post to let me know which of the following activities you have completed.

1. Like KidSpot on Facebook

2. Like Mayahood on Facebook

3. Follow my blog on WordPress.  Click on the “follow” button and enter your e-mail address to receive my latest blog posts directly to your mailbox as soon as I publish them.

4. Share this giveaway on your Facebook page.  Copy and Paste the following sentences on your personal timeline: Great giveaway from KidSpot.  Enter here for your chance to win $30 towards a personalized gift: http://wp.me/p248bN-mw

5. Let me know (by leaving me a message at the bottom of this post) what you would want to buy from KidSpot (www.kids-spot.ca) if you won the $30.

Contest deadline is Friday, November 23rd.  Open to all residents in Canada.  Good-luck!

************ CONGRATULATIONS TO SHIRIT WHO WON THIS GIVEAWAY************

 

 

children, Family, Holidays, Life, Parenting

An ode to my Da-da for father’s day – by Kyle Fitzpatrick

The first and last person that Kyle sees every day is his dad (my husband), John.  It’s no wonder they have such a special and close bond.  For this year’s father’s day, Kyle wanted to do something special.  Here’s a poem he wrote to his Da-da.

Da-da,

Thank you for coming to get me out of my crib every morning when I wake up.  I’ve learned to call for you instead of Maya (aka mommy) because I think she’s too lazy.  She’s always asleep whenever we’re up in the morning and playing.  I mean, who sleeps-in after 6 am anyways?!? I digress…

I’m so glad that you taught me how to stick handle before I turned 2.  You know that goal (aka hockey) is my favourite sport, followed by home run (aka baseball).  I’m so happy that Maya bought us matching blue-jay hats.  I guess it’s cool that she has one too.  Thanks for taking me to the park almost every night to watch the kids play floor hockey.  It’s my favourite part of the day.  I know you say it’s good to let Maya relax, but I think you just want some alone time with me and I don’t mind.  I want some manly time with you too.

I’m glad that you’re over the whole “no junk food for the kids” rule.  I know that you try eating dessert after dinner each night, but I always catch you.  It would be nice if sometimes you let me eat the whole piece instead of just giving me a portion and you eating the rest.  But I’m just glad I get something, especially since Ice-cream is my favourite food-group.  I’m okay with the no sugary-cereal rule.  Plain Cheerios are my favourite anyways.

Thanks for trying to teach me how to dance, but I think I’ll take my cues from Maya.  I’m not saying she’s great, but she’s a whole lot better than you.  I do however love dressing just like you.  I’m glad that you like it too because I heard Maya say that you hate it when she tries to coordinate clothes with you.

I think it’s cool that sometimes you have to fly or take a taxi to work.  But my favourite part of every day is running to the door when you’re home.  I’m not sure about the whole lifting me into the lights part, but you seem to enjoy it, so it’s fine with me.

Mostly, I want to thank you for being the best da-da in the world.  I couldn’t have picked a better one myself.  All I want to say is “GA” (aka: I love you sooooo much, happy father’s day).

Your favourite son, Kyle

*This blog post has not been edited by John as I wanted it to be a surprise for him.  I apologize in advance that it’s not as funny as it could have been.

Events, Family, Holidays, Parenting

What I really want for mother’s day this year

Mother's Day card
Mother’s Day card (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As a blogger, I’m always checking out a lot of other blogging sites and local mommy sites. The trending topic these days is “what is your ultimate mother’s day gift?” Most people have answered with something along the following lines: Hugs, snuggles and kisses from my kids. Or, spending the entire day with the kids. And while I generally agree that hugs and kisses from my son are amazing and spending time with both my husband and my son are my favourite days, it’s not what I want for a mother’s day gift.

I mean, I receive the hugs and kisses daily. I’m a stay at home mom and I sneak them in (wanted or not) at least 100 times a day if not more. I also love my husband to death, and I’m very fortunate that we get lots of time together either at night after Kyle’s asleep and on weekends.

What I REALLY WANT for mother’s day this year is: ALONE TIME!* Continue reading “What I really want for mother’s day this year”

Holidays

T’is the season of Chrismukkah

My first introduction to the wonderful term "Chrismukkah"

It’s December, and that means that the holidays are upon us. I’m Jewish and I married a non-Jew. My husband, John, describes himself as half-Jewish and half-Oshawa, the city he grew up in.  This also happens to be partially the rational behind our son Kyle’s middle name – Joshua or Jew-Oshawa. Amazing – I know! As my husband doesn’t really have a religion, before we married we agreed to raise our kids Jewish with a little bit of Oshawa (those of you picturing a mullet flowing out the back of a Yamaka – you’ve missed the mark, those of you picturing a fair, blond-haired jew who might be half decent at sports – you’re likely closer, those of you wondering if Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez will stay together and whether they should have an indoor or outdoor wedding – ummmmm please return to my blog*). However, the biggest contention we had was with regards to the Christmas tree. He wanted one, I didn’t. It’s not that I’m against the tree or Christmas; in fact, I really like Christmas with all of the beautiful lights, big turkey dinner and the gifts (I LOVE buying gifts). Actually, it’s because of this reason that I didn’t want a tree in our home. I was worried that our kids would love Christmas more than Chanukkah. Also, my husband is lazy, so we would never put up a tree unless I did it. So the argument was settled and we were able to get married with all issues regarding religion settled (ya right!). Continue reading “T’is the season of Chrismukkah”