January 2011

Disney On Ice Comes to London – GIVEAWAY

disney

CONGRATULATIONS TO ROB COUSINS WHO IS THE WINNER OF THE DISNEY ON ICE FAMILY PACK OF TICKETS!  ENJOY THE SHOW AND THANK YOU TO ALL WHO ENTERED.

STAY TUNED FOR SOME MORE EXCITING GIVEAWAYS!

Join Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse as they travel to four magical destinations all in one fun-filled ice production! Disney On Ice presents Mickey & Minnie’s Magical Journey will take audiences on a sightseeing tour of the imagination. This ice spectacular visits London from February 3-6/11 for 8 performances at John Labatt Centre.

Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy have their bags all packed for a journey that will transport audiences straight from their seats into the magical worlds of best friends Lilo and Stitch as they hula in Hawaii; Simba and Nala as they explore the African Pride Lands; Ariel and Sebastian as they experience an aquatic adventure in their undersea kingdom; and Peter Pan and Tinker Bell as they soar through the starry skies.

Disney On Ice presents Mickey & Minnie’s Magical Journey features an international team of award-winning figure skaters, high-energy choreography and a colorful set that captures all four unique worlds. Audiences will be entranced as they experience this exciting excursion — one that will fill the arena with magic, music, and best of all, Mickey and Minnie!

Disney On Ice

TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets for Disney On Ice presents Mickey & Minnie’s Magical Journey are available at John Labatt Centre Box Office, Fanshawe College Bizbooth, The Book Store at Western, Guest Services at Masonville Place, or by calling 1-866-455-2849. Ticket Prices are $59 (Front Row), $49 (Rinkside), $39 (VIP), $29, $20, and $15.

WIN A FAMILY 4-PACK

Disney On Ice has generously provided a family pack of four tickets to one of the upcoming performances and you can enter to win today on City Mom.

Performance:  Sunday, February 6th – 4:00PM

HOW TO ENTER

  1.  Visit Disney On Ice on Facebook and ‘Like’ their page.  Come back to City Mom and leave a comment letting me know you did.

ADDITIONAL ENTRIES

 Leave a separate comment for each entry:

  1. ‘Like’ City Mom on Facebook and come back to let me know you did.
  2. Follow @_CityMom on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway: Win a Family Pack of Tickets to Disney On Ice at the JLC #ldnont on Feb. 6th via @_CityMom http://www.citymom.ca/?p=903
  3. Visit www.disneyonice.com and hit the Characters & Stars page.  Come back to City Mom and let me know your 3 favourite characters.

 Giveaway Rules

  1. Giveaway will be open from Monday January 31st to Thursday February 3rd at 6pm ET.
  2. Winner will be selected using random.org and will be notified through the email address used upon entry.  The winner will have until 12pm on Friday Feb. 4th to respond to the notification.  If there is no response a new winner will be selected at that time.
  3. Winner will receive a family pack of 4 tickets to the Sunday February 6th, 4:00 pm performance at the John Labatt Centre.  Tickets will be left at the Box Office under the name of the winner.

Good luck and enjoy the show!

City Mom

Fabulous Female Friday – Katrina

Fabulous Female Friday

Fabulous Female Friday

This is the second instalment of the bi-monthly FFF feature on City Mom.

This week I am featuring a fabulous female known as Kat. Kat is a rock star in my opinion. She is one of those women that seem to have time for everyone and everything. I don’t know how she does it but she continues to support Canadian women, fellow bloggers and her family alike.

Kat is the author of a fabulous blog called Kat’s Confessions and the creator of an online community for moms called Canadian Moms. As I said, I don’t know how she does it but she continues to amaze me each day. You can always count on her for advice, support and an ear for listening.  She is a bright, enthusiastic woman and I am proud to feature her today as City Mom’s FF!

Please join me in getting to know Kat better:

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a mom/step mom to four children, wife to an adorable man for 10 ½ mostly wonderful years, a retired nail tech (my wrists couldn’t take it any longer), an avid reader (when I have the time) and a proud Canadian. I love any music that I can sing along to (even though I am really bad!), dancing, and anything sparkly!

2. Describe your motivation behind Kat’s Confessions.

I didn’t even know what a blog was until I joined a site for moms not realizing it was for blogging moms. Once I figured it out, I began visiting their blogs and I was hooked. I used to enjoy writing so I thought I would give it a shot. I created Kat’s Confessions and have had a lot of fun with it since!

 3. How did Canadian Moms come about?

I have met a lot of excellent women as a member of various international “mom” communities. I truly enjoyed it but I found there were a lot of times that Canadians were left out of conversations and events. If Canadians posted anything that didn’t apply to other countries it could get a little ugly.

I decided I wanted a place where Canadians could connect, participate and not worry about the content not applying to them. I also felt that Canadians get a little lost on the Internet and I really wanted to showcase all of the amazing things Canadians are doing. I started a site and eventually asked Tanya from Little Village Naturals to join me. Together we created a couple of sites for Canadians as well as ran Canadian Moms until time zones and personal schedules made it difficult to continue together. Since then she has continued with the other projects while I continue with the Canadian Moms community.

4. What are your hopes and dreams for the future of Canadian Moms?

The community has become a very warm, friendly and supportive place to connect and network with moms, Mom Bloggers and Mompreneurs. I hope to continue building on that whether we stay at the 272 members or continue growing. I plan to bring in new events to bring the community closer as well as increase exposure for members that blog or own a business. My biggest dream right now is to one day have our own conference. It would be great to come together and get to meet each other offline. I love hearing what the women would like to see and hope the suggestions keep coming. Together, there is no limit to what we can accomplish!

5. What is your favourite thing about being a mom?

Playing! There is nothing better than going skating, swimming, pulling out the Wii/Xbox or just goofing around as a family. I love listening to their sweet giggles and seeing their happy faces. My kids help me remember life isn’t always so serious.

6. What do you find most challenging about being a mom?

Taking time for me; it’s easy to forget I am not only a mom but a woman with hopes, dreams and goals that don’t have anything to do with being a mom. I have to remind myself to balance my mom duties and taking a little “me” time.

 7. Who has been your biggest inspiration in life?

I don’t have one person that I can say has been the biggest inspiration in my life. I have been blessed enough to have a number of special people who have inspired me in different ways. I would never be able to put one above the other.

 8. What’s the last song you listened to on your iPod?

She Will Be Loved by Maroon 5

 9. What’s the last book you read?

he last book I read was Venom and Song by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper for a book review.

 10. What advice would you give to a new mommy blogger?

Write for you, write from the heart, and have fun with it! Don’t let worrying about stats take the joy out of blogging. It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers and that really sucks the fun out of it in a hurry.

 Thank you to Kat for agreeing to be this week’s FF!  And don’t forget moms…you don’t need to be a blogger to join Canadian Moms.  It’s a great place for support, friendship and giveaways!  All you need is to be a mom and Canadian!

City Mom

Midweek Meal: 2 Family Friendly Recipes

Dipped Fruit on a Stick

Here are two family friendly, easy-to-make recipes.  Whip them up tonight, or plan ahead for the weekend.  Leftovers will freeze well…if there are any!

Recipes are from Taste of Home – Fun Food (September 2009)

Taco Meat Loaves

Taco Meat Loaves

Yields 2 Loaves, 6 servings each

Note:  I have made some revisions to this recipe as displayed below.

INGREDIENTS

3 eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups taco sauce (divided)

1 can (16 oz) kidney beans, rinsed & drained

1 cup of frozen corn

1 medium onion, chopped

3/4  cup dry bread crumbs

1 envelope taco seasoning

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp chilli powder

2 lbs ground turkey

2 cups shredded cheese

DIRECTIONS

  • In a large bowl, combine the eggs, 1/2 cup taco sauce, beans, corn, onion, bread crumbs, taco seasoning, cumin and chilli powder.  Crumble turkey over mixture and mix well.
  • Pat into two ungreased 9-in x 5-in loaf pans.  Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 50 – 55 minutes or until no pink remains and a meat thermometer reads 160.
  • Spoon remaining taco sauce over each meat loaf; sprinkle with cheese.  Bake 10 – 15 minutes more or until cheese is melted.  Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.  Serve with additional taco sauce and/or sour cream.

Dipped Fruit on a Stick

Dipped Fruit on a Stick

I love this recipe for dessert.  Anytime you can make fruit into a treat is always a good time!

Yield 6 Servings

INGREDIENTS

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon shortening

3 medium firm ripe bananas

6 Popsicle sticks*

Flaked coconut

Chopped walnuts

DIRECTIONS

  • In a microwave, melt chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Peel bananas; cut in half width wise. Insert sticks into fruit; dip into chocolate, coating fruit completely. Let excess drip off. Roll in nuts or coconut.
  • Place on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Freeze for at least 20 minutes. Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving.

*I used kabob sticks instead (as shown in picture) and I do not suggest this.  The bananas kept sliding off.

Enjoy!

City Mom

10 Misconceptions About the Flu Shot

Flu Shot

Photographer: Ambro

It’s that time of year…flu time. Good-bye St. Nick, hello Influenza!   

With the pesky virus making its way across Canada, it’s a good time to look into the vaccination.   

I found a handy little pamphlet at the doctor’s office this week. It came armed with 10 rebuttals to 10 common misconceptions about the flu vaccine:   

“It’s just a little flu. No need to worry.”   

Fact: 4,000 to 8,000 people die from the flu or complications each year in Canada.   

“I don’t need the flu shot, I never get sick!”   

Fact: One in four Canadians is infected with the flu each year. You can be a carrier of the virus without experiencing symptoms. If you’re carrying it you can pass it on.   

“The flu vaccine doesn’t work.”   

Fact: 10 – 15 % of those vaccinated will not develop the immunity to the flu, but it will help to lessen the severity.   

“The flu shot can give you the flu.”   

Fact: The vaccine actually only contains a dead form of the virus and it cannot cause infection.   

“I got the flu shot last year. I don’t need it this year.”   

Fact: The flu virus changes from year to year so a new vaccine is created by researches.   

“The flu vaccine often causes serious side effects.”   

Fact: There are risks associated with the flu vaccine, just like there are risks with all medicines. The risk is actually very low and most only suffer from fever, fatigue and muscle aches; these usually only last 48 hours.   

The greater risk often talked about is an autoimmune disease called Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS).Your chance of developing GBS from the flu shot is one in a million and most patients suffering from this illness usually fully recover.   

“The flu vaccine is dangerous because it contains mercury!”   

Fact: The flu vaccine, like all other vaccines, goes through safety requirement testing. These requirements are strict and each lot is safety-tested by the manufacturer and by Health Canada.   

The vaccine does include a preservative called thimersol which has a small amount of mercury. It is said that the amount of mercury found in thimersol is so small that it does not build up in the body, and is a lot less toxic than other forms of mercury.Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization says that there is no reason to avoid the flu vaccine.   

“I’m just too busy to get the flu shot. It’s so inconvenient.”   

Fact: There are many flu shot clinics open across the country. You can also arrange to have a clinic come to your workplace, or make an appointment with your doctor.   

“It’s too late to get the flu shot now, the flu season is almost over.”   

Fact: The Canadian flu season runs from November to April. Even though the best time to get the vaccine is between October and December, receiving it at any point in the season can help protect you against the virus.   

“I did some research online, and I just don’t trust the flu shot.”   

Fact: We all know that we can’t always trust the information we find online. To identify a trustworthy site be sure that it contains:   

  • Author/company’s name
  • Author/organization’s perspective
  • Solid evidence is provided
  • Lots of detail and original content
  • Up-to-date information
  • Revision date clearly stated
  • Author’s interest in sharing content
  • No bias or conflict of interest
  • A balanced perspective
  • A clear statement that health information should not substitute visiting a health care professional

We have chosen to vaccinate little S again this year. Last year we fell victim to the media frenzy surrounding H1N1 and decided after much research to protect her. With a family history of Asthma and the number of ER visits we’ve already made in S’s short lifetime for respiratory problems, we can’t be too careful.   

Have you received the flu shot this season? Have you vaccinated your children? What are your thoughts on vaccines?   

*Note: this health information should not be taken as health advice or a substitute for visiting a health professional.  Information gathered from 10 Things “They” Say About the Flu Vaccine…and 10 Reasons Why They’re Wrong pamphlet.

City Mom

What I Learned From Playboy TV

Playboy TV
Playboy TV

Image from playboytv.com

To be a blogger is to be a marketer, an advertiser and a salesperson.  To make your name in the blogosphere you need to establish your brand and sell your ‘product’.  Not an easy task for even the most experienced.  One must identify a target market and appeal to its unique interests and keep them coming back week after week.  

When I heard the December 7th episode of Q on CBC Radio with New York Times journalist Brooks Barnes (who had recently published an article Courting Women, Playboy TV Puts Emphasis on Intimacy) my ears perked up  

The Rebranding of Playboy TV

A lot has changed since 1982 (the year Playboy TV began).  With the Internet and reality TV there are more people competing to make pornographic entertainment.  The question is how can Playboy compete with the never-ending stream of hardcore content that exists today?  

Hugh Hefner has strategically prevented Playboy from competing in the hardcore realm.  On one hand this can be seen as foolish.  How can soft-core adult content compete with its shocking contrast?  On the other hand, maintaining a more wholesome reputation has contributed to the success of Playboy’s clothing and accessory line.  

playboystore.com

What Women Want

Do you know who it is that decides what channels a household will subscribe to?  Well it’s you and me (assuming my target market identification has been successful and you are a woman, wife and/or mother).  

That’s right; the person in the home who controls the cable bill is the woman of the household.  So Playboy TV has made the strategic shift towards increasing female viewership. 

So when it comes to viewing sex onscreen, what is it women want? 

Barnes tells us that Playboy has done a number of focus groups to learn how women want sex to be portrayed on TV and here is what they found. 

Women don’t mind seeing sex onscreen as long as it meets a few conditions.  First the scene must flow organically from the story.  We are not interested in the façade of the pizza delivery man or the cable guy spontaneously initiating a sexual escapade with the nanny.  

Next, women want to see ‘real’ people with different body types and body shapes.  We don’t identify with the large breasted, bleach-blonde plastic women that Mr. Hefner has resolved is ‘sexy’. 

The Girls Next Door

eonline.com

Hook, Line & Sink Her

With the lack of new subscribers, particularly younger subscribers, Playboy TV could be in trouble.  Women haven’t deemed a subscription necessary in their household.  PBTV needs to become something that woman want, are curious about or at the very least, something they don’t object to their husbands watching.  

With shows like The Girls Next Door and Brooklyn Kinda Love which have almost entirely women viewers, they are starting to lure us in and are succeeding in identifying and captivating their new target market.  

Playboy TV

Image from playboytv.com

There is something we can learn from this strategy.  Whether you are a blogger, an ad-executive or Hugh Hefner himself, you must know your target market.  Ignoring this could cause even an empire like Playboy to crumble.  Learn about them, appeal to them and give them want they want, so they in turn will give you want you want. 

Who would have thought, Playboy TV educational? 

How do you feel about Playboy’s marketing strategy?  Are you in charge of decisions in your household such as the cable bill?   Do you ever consider how you are being marketed to? 

City Mom 

The Healthy Plate

Asparagus

Do you know the secret to creating a healthy plate?  Do you get confused when it comes to portion control? 

The concept of the healthy plate is really not that complicated and it’s really not a secret at all.  As my high-tech diagram shows, your plate should be made up of the following:

The Healthy Plate

  1. Half your plate should be filled with vegetables
  2. One quarter of your plate should be filled with a meat or alternative
  3. And the remaining quarter will be for your starch serving

By following this simple structure and including the other food group servings as suggested by the Canadian Food Guide, portion control and caloric intake become a little easier to understand. 

Creating Vegetable Side Dishes

There are a wide variety of vegetables to choose from and an even broader selection of styles to serve them.  So don’t worry about getting bored with your veggies. 

And to help, today I’ve included one of my favourite recipes for a vegetable side dish.  It’s quick and easy to make and has a very satisfying taste.

Baked Asparagus with Balsamic Butter Sauce

Asparagus

Ingredients (for one serving)

  • 1/4 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed
  • cooking spray
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon light margarine
  • 3/4 teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Arrange the asparagus on a baking sheet. Coat with cooking spray, and season with pepper.
  3. Bake asparagus 12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until tender.
  4. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat, and stir in soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. Pour over the baked asparagus to serve.

I found this recipe on allrecipes.com.  I have changed some of the ingredients to create a healthier version.  I like to use reduced calorie margarine in place of butter and reduced sodium soy sauce.  You can also season with salt and pepper, but I find using just the pepper is enough. 

Happy eating,

City Mom

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