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June 04, 2009

Parent Club Review: True North Salmon

I must confess, this writer, does not eat fish or when Parent Club was approached to review True North Salmon a group of salmon aficionados was put together for the review.

The What: The True North Salmon Company is a family-owned, Canadian company based in New Brunswick. Since the beginning in 1985, True North has remained dedicated to fostering environmental stewardship and committed to sustainable farming practices.

Recently, True North received the Seafood Trust Eco-Label Certification which identifies True North as a premium environmentally-managed company which demonstrates commitment to sustainable development, low-impact farming and conservation when producing and processing Seafood.

For our review; True North supplyied their Seafood Trust Certified Genuine Atlantic Salmon which is available via their Heritage Salmon brand ( ) at Loblaws, Longos, Sobeys and Metro stores across Canada.

The Review: Three generous salmon portions were delivered along with all the fixin's for Maple Bar B Q Salmon (yes, click that for the recipe) as well as cedar planks for cedar plank salmon. Though the maple salmon was enjoyed the clear winner was the cedar salmon - natural and healthy.

The general consensus was that the salmon was really, REALLY, good. I believe someone even said EXCELLENT. The reviewers noted the fish was moist, fresh and great tasting.

Everyone agreed that they would buy this fish and some asked where they could find it in stores (see above for locations).

As a consumer, I would certainly buy this Canadian-produced, sustainably farmed salmon. I throw my support behind farming practices which are ethical, sustainable and respectful to the environment.

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June 03, 2009

Getting Kids to Talk

The minute my kids started activities without me (pre-school, Karate, kindergarten) they became reluctant talkers at the dinner table.

Me: What did you do today?"
Them: "nothing"

Hello?! We aren't even CLOSE to the teen years yet and we're getting "nothing" in terms of disclosure.

So I've come up with some talking flash points which gets the dinner table conservation popping.

Who got hurt today? -- this usually creates an outpouring of tattle-tales; who did the hurting, who got hurt, how much blood was involved.

Did anyone have anything crazy to eat today? -- this gets the low-down on who, in the class, had chocolate pudding for snack 1 (hello? snack 1 is supposed to be a fruit - chocolate pudding?!), who had cold pizza for lunch, who spilt their soup. [NOTE: this is also a good way to get new snack ideas...ok - perhaps not cold pizza - but this is how I found out Thing 2 wanted to try squiggles]

What did the teacher wear? -- though this isn't an interesting subject (well, unless you are a fashionista - which I'm not) it is a starting point. Kids remember everything and can tell you "blue jeans, red t-shirt, yellow whistle".

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June 02, 2009

Parent Club Interview: Best Tools for Schools

The What: Best Tools for Schools - a "Made in Canada" business created by two mompreneurs: Laurie & Candace.

The Concept: Order school supplies on-line. Fundraising component for schools. Making life easier for parents.

The Interview: (between Caroline - Parent Club and Candace - Best Tools for Schools):

Parent Club (PC): How does Best Tools for Schools work?

Best Tools for Schools (BTFS):Best Tools for Schools puts together customized school supply kits based on each schools supply lists. We assemble the kits and deliver them to the school the week before classes start. $4 from the sale of each kit goes to the school to help with their fundraising efforts.

Our program is so easy that we only need one contact at the school to help co-ordinate the lists on our websites. We are web based, which means no forms to go home or cheques to collect. Everyone wins. Parents are relieved of the hassle of shopping out the lists, teachers lists are put together according to their specifications and schools receive money towards their fundraising efforts.

We also have a Donate A Kit option. Upon checkout parents are asked if they would like to donate a kit to a child in need at their school. They can choose between a junior kit or a senior kit. These are kits we put together using the same brand name products we use for all our other kits. Principals will be able to discreetly identify which children need these items at their school.

(PC): What is the timeline?

(BTFS): Once a school has decided to run our program, we can get their lists on our website within 48 hours. Letters to parents and lists can be printed off of our website to be sent home to parents. The success of our program in a school is greatly enhanced if the school promotes it through their school newsletter, flyers home and on their school website.

(PC): What is the responsibility of the teacher/parent/student?

(BTFS): Once the Principal has approved our program for their school, we need only one contact person to help us get their lists on our website and to take delivery of the kits the week before school starts. Our goal is to make the process as simple for possible for the schools to run.

(PC): How does fundraising work?

(BTFS): $ 4 from the sale of each kit goes to the school as a fundraiser. In addition to raising funds for the school, Best Tools for Schools offers a valuable time-saving service to parents.

(PC): Can parents order Best Tools for Schools, independently, on-line or does it have to be a whole school order?

(BTFS): To ensure that our lists are accurate we require the principals approval to run the program for the whole school. Parents can then go on and order their individual kits.

(PC): Mom-made-business is a great thing to support. What made you become a momprenuer?
(BTFS): Laurie and I are both actively involved in fundraising efforts for our children's school. We know first hand the obstacles schools face because of budget shortfalls. We also are very familiar with the school supply lists that come home each year, a dreaded task for many. Finally, we were both actively looking for a business opportunity. Best Tools for Schools is the answer to these three things. We've received nothing but positive feedback since we began.

(PC): Where can we read you?

(BTFS): Laurie and I take turns blogging at This is where we let you know about schools we've signed on, events we'll be at and offer what we hope is useful information. Candace also blogs for - See Mummy Juggle.

Their "green pledge" is a testament to their commitment as parents and as business owners to environmentally responsible acts. As it notes on their website;"Wherever possible, Best Tools for Schools buys in bulk and asks our suppliers to eliminate unnecessary packaging.

Every bit of cardboard is recycled. Our kits are made from unbleached cardboard, which is a 100% recycled, non-toxic, environmentally friendly product.

We have created a paperless process, eliminating paper-based forms by establishing an online order system. Invoices are sent to your mailbox and it is up to you if you wish to print it for your files or file it away on your computer."

The Post-Mortem: I "met" Laurie and Candace on twitter a few months ago and then "met" them (in person) in May. From tweeting to actual face-to-face conversation; I find Laurie and Candace to be lovely, honest, helpful ladies who really know their stuff.

The concept of making life easier for parents - more organized for schools - all the while - minimizing the impact to the planet -- is simply smart. Best Tools for Schools is the complete turnkey solution.

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June 01, 2009

Parent Club Review: PC Free From

With it being bar b q season and all - we were pleased to review the PRESIDENT’S CHOICE® FRESH MEAT - PC Free From™ products lines.

What they say: "PC Free From products are specially selected, trimmed to perfection and raised without the use of antibiotics. PC Free From beef is also raised without the use of hormones.

Loblaw has also increased the amount of meat it is sourcing from Canadian producers and always aims to source as much product as possible domestically. All PC Free From chicken is grown in Canada, while a significant portion of PC Certified Angus Beef™ - which is cut from Canada AAA - beef is also sourced in Canada. In addition, almost all PC veal offerings and select PC Free From pork is sourced domestically as well."

Parent Club review:

We had the opportunity to try the PC free from chicken, steak and ribs. The signage in the meat department was clear on where to find the PC free from products. Personally, I very much support buying Canadian produced and antibiotic free/hormone free foods.

The chicken was lean yet moist. The steak was thick and juicy. The ribs - YUM. Everyone agreed - the taste was great.

Priced a little higher than "regular" meats - I would still choose the PC Free From meats again and again as an investment in my family's health and supporting Canadian food producers. Plus, it tastes great too!

[President’s Choice products are available at Loblaws, Loblaw Great Food, Zehrs, Zehrs Great Food, Fortinos, Real Canadian Superstore, Loblaw Superstore, Valumart, Your Independent Grocer, Atlantic Superstore, Maxi, Maxi & Cie, No Frills, Provigo, Extra Foods and more.]

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