February 2011

The Art of Getting Free Stuff

laptop

There is a world out there I never knew existed; a place where free products are given away by the minute.   I was unaware of this magical land until I became a blogger and a follower of other blogs myself.  Now that I know the secret, I had to share it with you.

The best part about these giveaways is that you don’t have to work very hard for them.  And the items that are given away are well worth the little effort you do put in.  Recently I have seen giveaways for jewellery, salon grade flat irons and children’s toys to name just a few. 

There are women that make careers out of contest entries.  And can you blame them?  We all know the best things in life are free!  Women are saving money left, right and centre.  From grocery vouchers to cleaning products, it’s all there for the taking and who doesn’t love free stuff?

Keep in mind; you don’t have to be a mom or a blogger to enter any of these contests.  Browse the list below and you’ll see what I mean.

HOW TO GET STARTED

First, the two basic things you’ll need to have are a Facebook account and a Twitter account.  Both are super easy to create and don’t take a lot of work to maintain. 

I suggest these two because most contests require you to ‘Like’ a page on Facebook and/or follow a vendor on Twitter.  Extra entries often include tweeting a phrase about the contest on your own profile.

Next I recommend creating a Google account. This will come in handy for a couple of reasons.

  1.  Extra entries often include following on Google Friend Connect which is as easy as a couple of clicks, and
  2. With iGoogle and Google Reader, you can easily keep track of the blogs that you choose to follow.

Now you’re ready to start following some blogs.  I have put together a quick list of some of the blogs I like for giveaways.  This is only a short list; like I said, there’s an entire world out there of sites like this.

GIVEAWAY BLOGS

Natural Mommie

Tales of a Ranting Ginger

Canadian Giveaways

bassgiraffe’s Thoughts

Blog Giveaways

Simply Stacie

Kidsumers

The Baby Bottom Line

Coolcanucks.ca

Canadian Moms Giveaways
(*Note:  this is an extensive list of current Canadian Giveaways.  You need to sign up for an account first and must be a) Canadian and b) a mom.)

Feisty, Frugal & Fabulous

Organic Girl

Canadian Mommy Giveaways

Giveaway Blogdom

The Frugal Free Gal

Canadian Natural Mama

Maple Leaf Mommy

Mom Vs. The Boys

I can’t stop myself.  There are so many great resources out there in the blogosphere, but I had to draw the line somewhere.

All of these blogs listed above are Canadian or Canadian friendly. 

Set aside some time to check these out and keep me updated on your winnings.

Good luck & Happy Entering!

City Mom

Image: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Calling All City Mom Fans

Ddrops

 

Ddrops
Image from Ddrops.ca

The competition is heating up!  It’s going to be an intense two weeks…but we can do it!

Today on City Mom I’m asking for your help.  A few weeks ago I posted an essay that acted as an entry for Ddrops  Bliss Contest and voting has begun.

Four winners will be selected (from 20 entries) to go to Blissdom Canada 2011. 

What is Blissdom you ask?  Well it’s the Oscars of the Mommy Blogger world.  Okay, I may be exaggerating a little.  It’s actually a conference held somewhere in Canada (location is TBD) where women who blog get to meet under one roof to celebrate, learn, network and meet up with friends made through the blogging world.

I REALLY want to go.  And you can help me get there.

All you have to do is visit think link.  Scroll to the bottom to Post a Comment. 

Enter your name and email address (emails are not shared) and leave a comment in the entry field stating you vote for City Mom and click Post Comment.  It should take you less than one minute and there’s no signing up or telling your life story in order to vote.

If you like City Mom and you like my article then please vote for City Mom!  I’ll be representing Canadian and London Moms alike!

Thank you!

City Mom

Fabulous Female Friday – Lindsay

Fabulous Female Friday

Fabulous Female Friday

February’s second FF is my sister Lindsay.  I didn’t choose her because she’s my sister.  I chose her because she truly is a fabulous female.  And I’m not biased…you’ll see for yourself.

Lindsay has done a lot at a young age.  I respect and admire her drive and dedication.  She’s an avid runner, real estate mogul and student. 

She manages to be all of these things and still has time to be a good sister.  She is one of my biggest supporters.  She literally would give you the shirt off her back…but not before she’d steal it from your closet. 

Wait, I digress.  We’re not kids anymore.

Please join me in getting to know Lindsay better.

Photo by Stacey Hanlon Photography

 

Tell us a little about yourself.

 I am 27 and am married to my amazing husband Kyle.  We have been married for 4 years and have dated since we were in high school! 

I work full-time at the London Court House as a Bilingual Judicial Assistant and I go to UWO on a part-time basis.  I am also an avid runner and have run five marathons so far, including the Boston Marathon.  In our spare time we like to renovate houses.  Kyle and I bought a 90-year-old house that we have been renovating for the past 4 years.  We also own a couple of income properties that we have fixed up and rented out as well!

Tell us about your current schooling.

I have been a part-time student for the past 6 years at the University of Western Ontario in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.  I am a French Major, with a Certificate in Business French.  I started when I was 21 just taking 1 credit per year.  Then when I completed those first couple successfully, I moved up to taking 2 credits per year, and 1 in the summer.  In order to save myself an extra year of classes at the end, I decided to take the maximum you can take as a part-time student, so I have been taking 3 credits per year and 1 in the summer for the last 2 years! 

How do you manage a full-time career and school?

While school does keep me busy, I still have a fairly normal life, working Monday to Friday, weekends off, etc.  I try to get a lot done on my lunch hours at work.  UWO offers so many online classes now that it makes it a lot easier to be a part-time student and work full-time. 

Having an employer that is supportive of your educational endeavours is extremely important.  They even paid for my French credits and allowed me 5 weeks paid to go to Québec and live with a family to be immersed in French while completing a full credit through UWO!

Photo by Stacey Hanlon Photography

What is your goal(s) after you graduate?

Well It wasn’t until I started taking French at UWO as a “mature student” that I realized how much I really do enjoy learning French as a subject and teaching it to others. 

 I am really passionate about French and I can’t wait to get out to help students learn it.  I know where I struggled throughout school, so hopefully I will be able to improve on that for my own students. 

 I have applied to 3 schools and I find out April 1st if/where I get in!  I am hoping for London’s Althouse College!

What was it like preparing for and running the Boston Marathon?

My dad has run many marathons in his life so when he offered to train me I took him up on it. 

Together, we ran my first marathon; the Toronto International.  The following year I ran it again and without realizing it, my time qualified me for the Boston Marathon! 

It was a bit of a different experience since it wasn’t a goal that I had purposely been working towards, but once I was there, it was such a cool experience.  Most people have worked so hard to get there and the dedication and determination they have is amazing. 

There was so much support everywhere.  Families had signs for their loved ones and people were out cheering.  It actually starts in a little town called Hopkinton and you run from there, into downtown Boston. Owners of all the little houses along the way were out on their lawns with hoses spraying runners (because it was a brutally hot day) and some would even give out orange slices and Popsicles! 

I always say that almost anyone can run a marathon.  If you have any desire, you really can do it; you just work your way up the way you’d train for anything. 

What advice would you give to other women who wanted to take on a large goal?

Anything is possible, as cliché as that sounds.  I don’t limit myself in my mind at all. If you want something enough, you’ll get it, so don’t be afraid to try new things and go after what it is that you want. Endurance is a key word to my life; not only in marathon running but in life in general. 

At 18 I had no idea what I wanted to do after high school and I didn’t want to waste money on an education that I wasn’t sure of.  So I took a different path and it allowed me to be able to go after the things I wanted most at the time.

I felt pressured to go to school right away because of all my friends taking that “normal” path, but I did what felt right for me and went with what my personal goals were.  If you maintain endurance, and stick to the path you need to be on to get you to your ultimate goal, you’ll get there eventually!

How do you think being an Auntie has prepared you for having your own children?

I love being an auntie so much!  I am the youngest in my family and I always wanted little kids younger than me to be around.  It has been so much fun getting to know my nephews and niece and their little personalities. 

Having my two older sisters has been great to show me what it will be like once we do have kids.  I can see how much love there is there and it is a great example of how amazing it will be to have children of our own.  Obviously there are challenging times in raising children as well, so I think I have seen the good and challenging times, which will prepare me for what we will inevitably experience as well!  

What are you looking forward to most about becoming a mom?

I can’t wait to be pregnant and experience what that feels like, and be in labour, as scary as that may be!  I look forward to seeing living proof of what my husband and I create together!  I can’t wait to have another best friend that will love me back as much as I love them!  I look forward to all the fun mommy things like trendy maternity clothes and mommy-and-baby yoga, lol, and while we’re at it, let’s get real here…I can’t wait for a year off of work while I’m on mat leave!

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

I just went for a run last night and listened to my iPod. I listened to the whole Kings of Leon album…its awesome!

What’s the last book you read?

Tori Spelling’s Uncharted TerriTORI (the last of 3 in the series). I highly recommend them…it gives a fun look at inside Hollywood and how she copes with being a Mommy in Hollywood. In fact, her second book is called Mommywood. If you think you don’t like her, you should read her books…you’ll like her after!

City Mom

Salt Therapy – Review & Giveaway

Flotation Therapy

Have you ever experienced complete weightlessness while your mind gave in to complete relaxation?

Flotation Therapy 

I hadn’t either until I visited Salt Therapy Health & Wellness Centre on Oxford Street in London. 

Flotation Therapy

To begin, you are welcomed into a warm and inviting private room in which you can control the lighting, music and temperature. There is a dressing area, a sink, towels, hairdryer and toiletries, a state of the art shower and of course the sensory deprivation floatation tank. 

Flotation Room
Flotation Tank

 

The tank is filled with 800 pounds of Epsom salts which allows you to find your ideal float position and experience a gravity-free feeling much like the Dead Sea. 

I was a little intimidated when I first peered into the tank. It appears small, but in actuality there is quite a lot of room. You can also choose to have spa-type music in the tank with the lights on or off. Within minutes I found myself so completely comfortable that I chose complete darkness. And I’m slightly claustrophobic so that is saying a lot! 

It took me a few minutes to let my mind go. It’s hard to achieve complete relaxation in today’s fast paced world. Once I did I let go I was in a Zen state and soon found the sensation of having no physical body. 

I could picture the wear and tear and stressors leaving my body as my joints relaxed. And with the absence of noise and distractions I was truly able to focus my mind on me. That is rare. 

After my floatation therapy I emerged from the tank with the feeling that I had just received the world’s greatest massage and a two-hour nap all in one. I was in a completely natural state of relaxation. I finished off with a soothing shower using the Dead Sea products provided. 

The benefits of floatation therapy:

• Physical and mental de-stressing
• Clinically proven as an effective approach to treating stress, anxiety and depression
• Deep muscular relaxation
• Rejuvenated energy levels
• Accelerated healing of injuries
• Deep relaxation, encouraging easier and deeper sleep
• Clinically proven to help people with Fibromyalgia, joint pain, and muscle tension relief
• Stimulated creativity
• Enhanced performance using visualization
• Relief from inflammation
• Unhealthy Skin, Acne, Eczema, Psoriasis
• Hydrate or firm the skin 

Salt Room Therapy

Salt Therapy is used to reduce symptoms from various respiratory conditions using a drug free and natural therapy called Speleotherapy. 

There are two Salt Therapy rooms; one for children and one for adults. I was able to try out the children’s room with little S as she often ends up in children’s emergency for respiratory infections. 

 

 

The salt rooms locally simulate the treatment caves found in a salt mine in the Ukraine. The rooms are constructed from solid salt blocks mined from over 300 meters deep in the ground caves, imported to Canada and carefully constructed into the walls that make up the rooms. 

Little S loves going to Salt Therapy to play with the toys in the room and she loves the sandbox feel of the salt on the floor. The room can be booked by multiple families so it can get a little tight but the kids don’t seem to mind. 

After the first and second session we noticed a change in little S. Her breathing became to sound clearer and we were able to stop using her inhaler for the current cold that she had. After the third session, as expected she went into regression mode. A consultation with Jenny from Salt Therapy explains it in far greater detail, but this is the normal process. 

Mucus that sits deep in the lungs, where modern medicine can’t reach is beginning to break up and remove its self. This is how we are able to tell that it’s working. 

Little S needs to complete 10 more sessions to finish the therapy but I am hopeful that we have found a drug free alternative to the steroids commonly prescribed to treat respiratory issues which can have some harsh side effects. 

Speleotherapy is used specifically to treat the symptoms caused by:

• Asthma
• Croup
• Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
• Bronchitis and chronic bronchitis
• Chronic cough
• Allergies
• Sinusitis and Rhinitis
• Ear infections
• Emphysema
• Snoring
• Lung disease
• Nasal polyps
• Enhance sports performance for athletes
• Cleansing of the lungs for ex-smokers 

Based on my experiences at Salt Therapy, my research and Jenny’s information, I highly recommend both of these unique and natural therapies. I hope you’ll pop in to see Jenny for a free consultation. 

THE GIVEAWAY

This has to be the most exciting giveaway done on City Mom to date! 

Today you can enter to win a complimentary float in the Epsom salt tank ($80 value) and an assortment of Dead Sea products

First Entry (must be done before Extra Entries) 

Visit Salt Therapy on Facebook and ‘Like’ their page. Enter a comment on City Mom letting me know you did so. 

Extra Entries 

1. Follow @_CityMom on Twitter and tweet this message: Enter to win a Free Salt Therapy Floatation Session at Salt Therapy in #ldnont http://www.citymom.ca/?p=1021. Can be tweeted once a day. Be sure to leave a separate comment for each tweet. 

2. Like City Mom on Facebook and leave a comment letting me know you did. If you already Like City Mom on FB you can leave a comment stating that. 

3. Visit the Salt Therapy site and leave a comment with one product you hope to win. 

4. Follow City Mom on Google Friend Connect, leave a comment letting me know you did. (Right side bar) 

5. Subscribe to City Mom for free and confirm your subscription. Leave a comment letting me know you have confirmed. If you are already a subscriber, leave a comment stating that. 

GIVEAWAY RULES 

1.  The contest is open to Canadian Residents only. 

2.  Contest will run from Feb. 24 – March 4, 2011 at 6pm ET. 

3.  A winner will be selected randomly from the comments entered using random.org 

4.  Winner will be contacted at the email address used upon entry.  The winner will have 48 hours to respond to the email. 

5.  The winner’s name will be provided to Salt Therapy and will be able to call in to book their appointment and pick up their gift pack of Dead Sea products. 

Good luck and enjoy learning more about Salt Therapy! 

City Mom

Family Day in London

Good morning London and happy Family Day weekend!

Spring is in the air, the snow has started to descend and we’ve got one extra day this weekend to spend with our loved ones.

I’m going to get right to it because I have a lot of information for you on what’s going on in London this weekend for Family Day.

Family Day is this Monday, February 21st.

Storybook Gardens

The skating trail is open from 10am to 5pm.

There will be Horse Drawn Wagon Rides, Winter Story Blanket (winter themed story and craft time), duck and seal feeding. Check here for the full list of times and descriptions.

WINTER ADMISSION

Adults/Seniors: $4.25
Children (2 – 17): $3.25
Family (2 adults, 2 kids): $13.00
Infants: Free

Children’s Museum

Celebrating Black History Month. Open from 10am – 5pm.

There will be hair braiding, tie-dye crafts, cultural food, music, dance and cultural displays.

ADMISSION

Ages 2+: $6 per person
12-23 months: $2 per person

Family Day Skates

Various arenas from 1 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. at the following locations:
Argyle Arena, Carling Arena, Lambeth Arena and Nichols Arena

ADMISSION

$3.25/person or $8/family

Victoria Park Skating

Free public skating from 10am – 10pm (closed from 5:30 – 6:30)

Family Day at the Raceway

Kids activities 3:00pm – 6:00pm
Face painting, magic shows featuring “Captain Corbin”, the magical pirate, crafts, games and giveaways.

Boler Mountain

Special Family Day Hours: 

Ski Lifts will be open 9am to 9pm

Tubing will be open 11am to 9pm

City Mom

Do-It-Yourself Headboard

Do-It-Yourself Headboard

For those of you that follow @_CityMom on Twitter, you may recall a few weeks ago that my husband and I took on a bedroom remodel.  I call it a remodel because we mostly just changed aesthetic items.

We didn’t change anything structurally, though I would have loved to get rid of the carpet and replace with hardwoods but that’s a project for another time and another pay check.

Currently we are sporting a bedroom set from Ikea.  We recently upgraded from a double bed (we used to like to snuggle at night) to a Queen Size bed (life after kids; sleep is more important!)  Because our plan is to upgrade our furniture set one day, we didn’t see the point in buying another bed frame.  Alas, we were left with a metal frame and a mattress.

Enter the Do-It-Yourself Headboard. This is an easy and inexpensive way to jazz up your boudoir.

Follow along with the steps below to create one yourself:

TOOLS & MATERIALS

  • Foam or batting
  • Wood
  • Staple gun & staples
  • Fabric of your choice
  • Screwdriver
  • Mounting brackets

1. Measure for the size you want your headboard and have your wood cut to these dimensions.  Select your foam or batting, measure and cut accordingly.  Lay out your batting on a flat surface and centre the wood piece on top.

Do-It-Yourself Headboard

2.  Using a staple gun, create anchor points along the wood, folding the batting around the edges.  Once the anchors are in place, staple the remaining gaps leaving the corners open.

Do-It-Yourself Headboard

3.  With a utility knife, cut the excess padding around the corners to create a flat edge.  Staple the open pieces just as you did around the perimeter.

Do-It-Yourself Headboard

4. Now with the padding firmly in place, lay your headboard fabric on a flat surface and centre the padded headboard on top.  Staple the fabric in place as you did in the above steps.  Take extra care on the corners to ensure you have a taught, even fold.  Before stapling, lift the wood off the surface to get a good look at the type of corner you have created.

Do-It-Yourself Headboard

Do-It-Yourself Headboard

5.  Now for the tricky part.  Remember the rule:  measure twice, cut once.  Select the location on the wall where you want the headboard to hang.  Measure the width and find the centre point.   Depending on the hanging mechanism you’re using you will need to measure the distance in which you will affix the brackets to the headboard. Attach the brackets to the wood.

Do-It-Yourself Headboard

6. Be sure that the brackets you have selected are able to hold the weight of the headboard.  Measure and mark with pencil the location that the brackets will be attached.  It’s a good idea to hold the headboard up to the pencil marks to confirm the location.  Attach the brackets and hang the headboard.

Do-It-Yourself Headboard

That is the final step in the Do-It-Yourself Headboard project.  Sit back and enjoy your hard work!

Do-It-Yourself Headboard

Stay tuned for an upcoming post where I will reveal the completed design!

City Mom

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