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November 12, 2010

Extreme Delivery: please stop

This week I've heard too many delivery stories...and...I...just...can't...anymore.

Like the one who gave birth to a +10 lb healthy baby. (Advice: never tell a 8 1/2 month pregnant woman a story about a +10 lb baby. It makes us sore).

And the one about the woman who went in to be induced only to find out the baby's heart wasn't beating. And she still had to deliver. And then plan a funeral. (Advice: never tell a 8 1/2 month pregnant woman a story about delivering a dead infant. It breaks our heart)

And I get that you might not have known/read me when I was Mourning A Baby. And that seeing my great belly may bring about bouts of verbal diarrhea. But people please take read that link and then take some verbal imodium because I don't want to hear extreme delivery stories. Anymore.

Even though I'm not a first time mother...I'm still friggin' nervous. I wonder about health and genetics and development And your stories do not help. At. All.

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Parent Club Giveaway: Crayola

THE WHAT: Thinking birthday present or holiday shopping? Think Crayola!

[Aside: Dear readers, you know I heart Crayola (I've written about them here and here. Even before I was on the Crayola Mom Advisory Panel). I honestly believe Crayola is the perfect kid gift because the products are good quality, creative, gender-less and provide tons of fun.]

THE GIVEAWAY: Color Explosion Glow Dome: Draw on a dome that glows in the dark and spins! Create the illusion of animation with flashing lights. Built-in motor rotates the dome at different speeds. Includes 6 Color Explosion Markers and 2 Tracing guides (6+, $32.99).

Model Magic Presto Dots To The Max: Make fun creations with bumpy, 3D textures. Presto Dots to the Max is a deluxe collection with more bases, forms, Model Magic colors, tools and more fun-tastic ways to create! (5+, $19,99).

TO ENTER: Visit (a great site for kid activity ideas) and then comment below on what products or activities would be perfect for your kids.

THE RULES (because life has rules):
  • Open to Canadian residents
  • One entry per day
  • Tweet the giveaway = an extra entry (comment separately that you did so). [include: @Crayola and @ParentClub in your tweet]

    Winner will be randomly chosen


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  • Parent Club Giveaway:


    THE HOW: New JOHNSON’S ®NATURAL™ products are a great choice for parents who are looking to naturally and gently care for baby’s skin and hair. The products, including baby wash, shampoo and lotion, are formulated with a unique combination of at least 98 per cent natural ingredients, the NO MORE TEARS® Formula and proprietary ALLERFREE™, an allergen-free fragrance.

    THE TIP: A clinical study was developed and resulted in a proven routine that helps babies fall asleep easier and improve sleep patterns throughout the night. Sleep experts recommend a 3-step nightly routine consisting of a warm bath, followed by a gentle massage and then a quiet activity of the parent’s choice such as reading, cuddling or listening to soft music.

    THE GIVEAWAY: To help make time in the tub even more enjoyable we are giving away a bath time basket full of the essentials including: bath time accessories and a selection of Johnson's Baby bath time products, including the new Johnson's Natural line.

    TO ENTER: Surf over to Johnson's Baby website and comment below which product or tip could be incorporated into your baby's bath routine.

    THE RULES (because life has rules):
  • Open to Canadian residents
  • One entry per day
  • Tweet the giveaway = an extra entry (comment separately that you did so)

    winner will be randomly drawn


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  • November 10, 2010

    Results: Parent Club Great Canadian Blogger Survey

    Here are the results to the Parent Club Great Canadian Blogger Survey - inspired by discussions at #BlissdomCanada - regarding Canadian bloggers and compensation.

    Does your blog run giveaways?
    YES 76.2% NO 9.5% No, but I'd like to 14.3%

    Do you think Canadian bloggers should be compensated for giveaways?

    YES 50.0% NO 5.0% Undecided 45.0%

    What is your admin. fee for co-ordinating a giveaway on your site?

    $25 (63.6%) $50 (18.2%) $75 (9.1%) $100 or more (18.2%)

    Do you (and would you) charge for ads on your blog?
    YES 71.4% NO 14.3% Hadn't thought about it 14.3%

    Sponsored posts? Love them or hate them - discuss...
    • I like them if people are up front about what they are and who they're for. So long as they're honest about it. I hate it when they try to pull the wool over the eyes of the reader or don't mention it.
    • i think they are ok as long as they make sense to your blog and are 100% in your own words
    • I think they can be a good way to earn compensation but too many on a blog are a turn off for sure
    • Hate them! low pay and very bad on your ranking
    • Sponsored posts work if it is something the reviewer would have reviewed anyway, and also if they are unbiased.
    • I do like them. I clearly state they are sponsored and it gives me a chance to make some money
    • Hate them -- they are just clutter, spewing the brand's catch phrases. If I wanted the brand's side of things I'd visit the brand site -- if I'm reading your site, i want your unvarnished opinion.
    • If the sponsored post remains honest and impartial, then they're fine. If they're all rainbows and sunshine, then they're advertising, not blogs.
    • HATE them. Very misleading to the reader, as the blogger generally obscures the "sponsorship blurb", particularly when tweeting/promoting the post, in order to drive as MANY eyeballs as possible on the ad. (Because that's what sponsored posts are -- ads.)
      Bloggers, look in your hearts and decide whether sponsored posts -- advertorials -- are really in the best interest of the community you've built up, your readership. 10
    • So long as they are clearly labelled as such, I have no issue with Sponsored Posts.
    • As long as it's totally CLEAR it's sponsored
    • Love them. Gives me a chance to talk about stuff I probably would anyhow but get money doing it.
    • do not read them
    • If they are up front about it, I'm OK. I hate to find out that a post was sponsored in the last line of the post.
    • Don't love them, and I think i'd find it annoying to read sponsored posts on a blog
    • tacky
    • They're OK

    How do you note on your post that product or compensation was received for a review?
    • i have a disclaimer at the end of the post
    • i have a disclaimer at the end of the post
    • A disclosure statement at the end of a post
    • disclosure on main page, and if different than the norm, posted that post
    • I state it right up front.
    • I always include a disclaimer.
      A side note, I think Canadians have a more difficult time finding sponsors and charging will just make it harder. I do think charging is rightful, but, I think at this point it would just make it really hard for Canadians to compete with American bloggers (when there are so many American bloggers out there willing to do reviews/giveaways without compensation.)
    • I asterix the post title and add a note at the bottom of the post that I was compensated w/ product and, if applicable, note the specifics.
    • I would note at the top and within the text that the company provided the item for review, as well as that there was sponsorsip involved.
    • I usually work it into the body of the text. Occasionally, for a US client, I will make a note at the bottom of the post.
    • Very clearly at the bottom. Or in the body.
    • I add a discalimer with ** to the end of those posts.
    • We write this blog was sponsored by "clients name"
    • N/A at this time.
    • I mention it right within the text of the post and try to be as clear as possible
    • at the bottom of the post it is written in italics that this post was my own opinion even though I received either product or financial compensation for it.

    Thank you to all who participated in this survey. Should you chose to share the survey with others kindly attribute it accordingly to Parent Club.

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    November 09, 2010

    Holiday shopping without kids or cashiers

    You will notice the Parent Club Giveaway-pa-looza (look over there on the right sidebar - oodles of giveaways a'happening). We have had a tsunami of pitches which are timely as holiday shopping is upon us.

    And I'm not just blowing smoke here my friends. I AM HEAVY INTO HOLIDAY SHOPPING. Whyfor? Because my due date is in December and Christmas needs to be done & hidden.

    (Of course: Baby's room: not finished. Baby's name: undecided. Baby clothes: not yet located. We get cool points for not being keeners right?! right?)

    Priorities people. Holiday shopping. Then baby.

    Over at my Yummy Mummy Club column I wrote a post about Holiday Shopping Without Kids (read if you like).

    CONFESSION: I am seriously doing most (read: pretty much all) of my gift buying on-line this year because:
    1. I am far too pregnant to walk malls, haul bags and stand in line-ups
    2. No one ever lets a pregnant woman go first
    3. I don't really love shopping anyway
    4. On-line shopping means I don't have to take kids (and they bug me in malls)
    5. My prezzies are delivered directly to my door
    6. I can shop in my pjs

    And thus - dear readers (the ten of you) - I am attempting to put out good karma by hosting the Giveaway-pa-looza to help with YOUR holiday shopping. (and hopefully that good karma will come back to me: small head, narrow shoulders please!)

    Now enter already!

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    Parent Club Giveaway: Dorset Cereals

    THE WHAT: Breakfast in a hamper from Dorset Cereals

    THE WHAT EXACTLY: An attractive wicker hamper that includes everything you need to brighten your breakfast: Four packages of delicious Dorset Cereal each bursting with the tastiest fruit, nuts and seeds available (Simply Fruit and Seeds Muesli, Super Cranberry, Cherry and Almond Muesli, Fruit, Nuts and Seeds Muesli and Simply Delicious Muesli); an attractive ceramic bowl; spoon; and placemat. Estimated retail value: $100

    THE HOW: These cereals are packed with more fruit, nuts and taste than traditional muesli plus have less fat and fewer calories than granola. They’re available in six delicious recipes, each bursting with the tastiest fruit, nuts and seeds available. They’re a good source of fiber and contain no added preservatives. Available at Loblaws, Fortinos, Sobey’s West, Sobey’s Atlantic, Price Chopper, Metro, Metro Quebec, Longo’s and London Drugs across Canada.

    Visit the Dorset Cereals website to learn more and then share your favourite cereal by posting a comment below.

    THE RULES (because life has rules):
  • one entry per day
  • open to Canadian residents
    Winner will be randomly drawn


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  • Parent Club Giveaway: Mastermind Toys

    THE WHAT: Chuggington Wooden Railway Over and Under set available at MasterMind Toys (approx. value $59.95)

    THE HOW: This 25-piece set features a 2-in-1 Clock Tower where you can stack the pieces to create a two-level tower, or separate them to create two stand-alone tunnels. With Chuggington, there are so many ways to play! It also includes two wooden engines (Wilson and Koko), a Vee figure, and a figure-8 track layout.

    MASTERMIND TOYS: New website features include video integration (so you can see the toys in action), live chat (Parent Club has used - great service!), helpful Twitter @MastermindToys.

    TO ENTER: Surf over to Mastermind Toys and share what you like best. Is it a toy? A website feature? The free wrapping?

    THE RULES (because life has rules):
    • one entry per day
    • tweet for an extra entry (comment separately that you did so)
    • open to residents of Canada

    winner will be randomly drawn


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    Parent Club Giveaway: Family Pass to Funday Sunday

    THE WHAT: Family Pass to Funday Sunday (value $39 each and good for two parents and four kiddies).

    THE WHEN: Sunday, November 28, 2010. 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    THE WHAT - part deux: There's something for everyone at Funday Sunday. The event features: A Children's Village with games, face painting and performances by Doo Doo the Clown, Sonshine and Brocolli and Kayla; a teenage Fun Zone with arcade games and a skateboard challenge; Ask An Expert sponsored by Sunnybrook and a shopping experience like no other in the Marketplace, an adaptation of the former Hadassah Bazaar. Items sold in the Marketplace are new, highly discounted and feature leather coats, clothing and household items. (funds raised will support the new, state-of-the-art Women & Babies Program facility at Sunnybrook and Canadian Hadassah WIZO)

    THE WHERE: Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building

    Tickets can be purchased online at

    TO ENTER: Funday Sunday is about shopping and kid entertainment - in the comments section - share you your multitask holiday shopping with kids.

    THE RULES (because life has rules):
    • one entry per day
    • open to residents of Toronto area (or those who can get to the Metro Convention Centre

    winner will be randomly drawn


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    Parent Club Review: Ramona and Beezus Plus GIVEAWAY

    THE WHAT: RAMONA AND BEEZUS (available on store shelves from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment on November 9).

    THE HOW: You'll remember the book series by Beverly Cleary (you know you do!). This movie stars Selena Gomez ("Hannah Montana," "Wizards of Waverly Place"), Joey King (and really should have a warning for scenes containing Josh Duhamel - Wowza!)

    THE REVIEW: Reviewed by two Parent Club Test Panelists (jr. panel) "It was funny." "Ramona has a big imagination." "it's a family movie." 4/5 stars!

    THE GIVEAWAY: Your own DVD copy of Ramona & Beezus! (#HolidayGift!)

    TO ENTER: In comments share - In Ramona & Beezus, Ramona has a big imagination - what does your child do with their imaginations?...

    THE RULES (because life has rules)

  • One entry per day
  • Canadian entries only

    *winner will be randomly chosen


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  • November 08, 2010

    2nd Breakfast and Tim Hortons: health and hobbits

    This past weekend at Thing 2's indoor soccer there was a tsunami of 7 year olds and a sea of parents with Tim Horton's cups. Not kidding! Everywhere you looked (including in my own little hand) there were Timmies cups.

    Some of those soccer parents may have gone to Tims because of its location (conveniently across for the sportsplex). Some might have gone because they like the coffee. My reasons for patronizing Timmies was shared in my May 2010 "An Open Letter to Tim Hortons".

    Maybe Tim's read that post because they approached Parent Club to spread the word about their new offerings of hot oatmeal and breakfast wraps providing a healthier choice for busy parents. (Dear Tim Hortons: Whether you read the post or not...thank you for the new choices).

    Because, in my family, on Sundays we have breakfast at home, go to Karate, go home, switch sport bags, feel the need for a 2nd breakfast and then soccer, grocery shopping and moving on with life in general. That 2nd breakfast (yes, like Hobbits - we eat 2nd breakfast on Sundays) has to be something on-the-go. It's usually been a Tim Horton's hot chocolate and toasted bagel for the kids. However, oatmeal happens to be one of our favourite things to eat (and let me share - a hot breakfast - before going into that chilly sportsplex is a good thing!).

    As you know, I am a buy-Canadian-gal, as such - can I remind you that Tim Horton's is no longer owned by Wendy's...Timmies head office is located in Oakville, ON. As if you needed another reason to go through the Timmies drive-thru.

    I stand behind my Open Letter To Tim Horton's . I truly heart you. Because you make busy family life easier...with fast food...that isn't fast junk food.

    This post sponsored by our friends at Tim Horton's

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