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July 17, 2009

When Kids Almost Drown - Water Safety

This week we were invited to a friend's pool. They have a shallow end. Thing 1 didn't want to wear a life jacket (and following suite - neither did Thing 2) - however there were noodles to keep them afloat and they had taken a few swimming lessons in the past year. There were the only kids in the pool and I was right there. I was right there.

Towards the end of our swim...I sat on the edge of the pool to dry off and prepare their towels. For some reason - perhaps it was the sudden quiet - or the lack of splashing - or a mother's instinct, I looked at the children...

Both heads were underwater, no noodle in sight, Thing 1 had her mouth open and was screaming but only bubbles were coming out. I stood up and froze for just a second. I couldn't believe my eyes.

Our friend (who was in front of me) jumped in and pulled them up. Thing 2 had lost the noodle - had grabbed on to Thing 1 - Thing 1 couldn't hold up the weight of Thing 2 and was just far enough that she was on her tip toes in the shallow end (and a bit more than an arms's reach from the ledge).

It scared the crap out of me. It scared them too. It was a big lesson for all of us.

I know I won't freeze again. The reality that kids drown in seconds hit home (and that they don't make a sound when they do). Water wings will always come to the pool with us. Water is fun - but it is also dangerous. Thank goodness - the grown-ups were right there.

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July 15, 2009

Parent Club: Family Vacation Planning

Every family wants a family vacation (especially in the summer months). It is great to get away - but it shouldn't break the family bank. Family getaways should be - and can be - family budget friendly.

Whether you travel local, national or global -- a family trip takes planning, organization and cost savings (that hyperlink takes you to a site that we found informational on planning a family vacation budget).

We often travel internationally and we try to book our plane tickets just outside the peak travel times. France is just as nice in October as it is in August (and - hey - all the French are on vacation in August anyways so most things are closed). We also rent apartments by the week rather than stay in a hotel (which is a more reasonable option at times). With one visit to a local grocer we stock up on breakfast "at home", snacks and easy to carry fruits which means we go to restaurants less but still eat well on holiday (and I've said before the best fast food - is food you already have in your bag!). We also walk a lot (which saves on transportation). Little cost saving things but they are appreciated when the vacation bills come in.

Big picture: a family vacation should be a time to enjoy your family. Not something to create parental stress, budget concerns and shrinking balances. It's not about "go big or go home". It's not about "keeping up with the Jones'" vacation. It's about the right holiday decisions for your family. Does that mean - if your budget is limited - you can't go see the mouse in pants? No. It just means you need to make a budget plan before seeing that pant-wearing mouse.

A family vacation shouldn't put a family in debt. If this has happened to you - seek out help to get you back on track. If you are fortunate to keep you head above the vacation budget water then be sure to continue making informed decisions when planning your vacation and holiday budget.

For more on credit counseling surf over to this informative website (yes, click that).

Do you have a holiday budget tip to share with the club? Do so in the comment field below.

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July 14, 2009

Parent Club Review: President's Choice

This summer, Canadians can travel around the world without ever leaving the backyard. President’s Choice is celebrating Canada’s culinary cultural mosaic with 1000 Tastes of Canada. The Parent Club test panel was more than ready to get their teeth into this review opportunity.

Fennel Seed Sugar Coated

Most of the kids loved these, especially the 2 1/2 yr old. I personally didn't like them but then I don't like black licorice and that is what I found they tasted like. The kids loved the bright colours and I loved the fact that it was a snack that I didn't worry about the kids choking on.

Barbecue Ribs Baby Back Flavour Chips

The whole family enjoyed these, especially the adults! They had a lot of flavour without a lot of grease. The resealable bag is a great idea though it took us a minute to figure out how to use it. We had to wonder though if anyone actually would reseal the bag...there wasn't any left in our house to keep fresh.

Blood Orange Italian Soda

Even my very picky nephew enjoyed this refreshing drink. It was not as sickly sweet as typical orange pop and yet sweet enough. The name would have kept me from trying this item but now I'm glad I did. I plan on buying more soon to enjoy during the warm summer days.

Ginger Beer

I hoped to enjoy this one as I have often heard about it. Everyone tried it but most did not enjoy it. My husband thought it was OK but found it a tad bitter for the kids.

Fajita Cooking Sauce

I really enjoyed this sauce. It added a very pleasant taste to the chicken but it was not too overpowering. The older kids (9 & 7) liked it but it was not their favourite. I would buy this again for our next fajita night.

Indian Butter Chicken Cooking Sauce

This was our biggest surprise! We loved this sauce, even the kids! I had made a sample with it to try and the kids actually requested I make it for dinner. I had not introduced the kids to Indian, thinking the flavours may be too strong for them but this sauce was wonderful and easy to cook with.

The Decadent Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookie

A new favourite in our house! These are my two favourite flavours together in one cookie. I am a creature of habit and tend to buy the same items every week, even when it comes to cookies. From now on these will be on my list!

Tzatziki Yogurt Dressing

What a nice change. My 7 year old thought it was nice in the pasta salad I made and I enjoyed it on a regular salad as well. It is very much like a creamy cucumber dressing with that extra kick. I am looking forward to adding it to a potato salad soon.


Something I would have walked past in the store and have. The kids loved the light strawberry yogurt taste. It is a nice alternative to typical cookies. The plain packaging however didn't really give very much information as to what the item was so I imagine a lot of people would not even notice it.

Chili Powder

Something we could not convince the kids to try a spoonful of, lol. Chris added it to is homemade venison jerky and said it added a nice kick. I like to add a bit to spaghetti sauce.

NuPak Hot Pepper Sauce

[My husband] found this added a nice kick to his eggs and other food. It was not as strong of some sauces he has tried but it had a very pleasant flavour. Our 7 year old, who will try anything, tried it and said she liked it. She didn't want more however so I am guessing it may be an acquired taste.

(This Parent Club test family included parents + 5 children)

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July 13, 2009

Parent Club Giveaway: Always Infinity

The Always Infinity is made with a brand new absorbent material, Infinicel. Infinicel pulls fluid from the surface to the core and can hold 10 times it's weight while remaining light and dry throughout use.

WIN: a package of Always Infinity!

Send an e-mail to - use Always Infinity Giveaway in the subject line to be entered in the giveaway (Canadian residents only please). Winner will be announced Monday July 13th.