Friday, November 23, 2012

Gingerbread Man Cookies

Every year during the holidays (which are fast approaching!), I put together a gingerbread house and make other gingerbread cookies as well. Gingerbread men or gingerbread people are a classic shape and so easy to decorate. I could have spent more time covering most of the cookie in icing to form a nice shirt, pants, tie and complete it all with shoes made of icing too, but it is much more reasonable to use a simple design.

I usually box or bag the cookies and end up making hundreds of them. With a simple design, I don't have to wait for layers of icing to dry and can also please the majority of people the cookies are given to since some do not like too much icing.

If you have a large batch of cookies to make, try icing them using a simple design to save time! :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Aviva Community Fund Charity Contest-Cast Your Vote!

This post brought to you by Aviva Community Fund. All opinions are 100% mine.

Aviva 2

Earlier this month, I posted about the Aviva Community Fund Charity Contest and how important it is to improve the communities in which we live. The Aviva Community fund does just that. The fund provides the opportunity for means for those who have submitted their ideas on how they can improve their community. It is personally important to me, because I know our own community has a food bank and homeless shelter that is always in need of food, clothing and more. 

The second Qualifying round of the competition has started and it is so simple to cast your vote!

Aviva 1

Anyone in Canada, registered on the Aviva Community Fund website can vote. Once you are registered and signed in, just click on the "Vote now" button on the idea you like most. You can even vote directly through their Facebook voting app, which can be found here


  • Voting takes place during each of the qualifying rounds and the Semi-Final phases of the competition. You can vote up to 15 times during each of the 3 initial rounds and 15 more times during the Semi-Finals. Each idea can only be voted for once per day, but you can vote for as mady ideas as you'd like. Keep in mind that you have only 15 votes and once a vote is used, it cannot be changed.

  • Go ahead and make a difference by voting for your favorite idea. Visit for full voting details. 

  • You can also show support by doing the following:
  • Like Aviva Community Fund or Follow @Aviva

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Safe Driving in School Zones

This post brought to you by Insurance Hunter. All opinions are 100% mine.

Being a parent of school aged children I am always worried about their safety, especially when they are on their way to and from school. A recent Ontario School Zone Safety Survey revealed that three quarters of Ontario parents surveyed witnessed drivers break the law within school zones. I myself have witnessed on several occasions, drivers speeding or not stopping when a school bus has the stop sign out. It doesn't come as a shock, but does scare me. Other parents get pretty angry and often comment by saying "did you see how fast they were driving?!". It's no wonder nearly one third of parents surveyed feared that their child would be involved in a vehicle accident during drop-off or pick-up at school.

According to the Insurance Hunter’s survey on driver safety in school zones many drivers put children at risk by speeding, talking or texting on a cell phone, not stopping at crosswalks or for crossing guards, as well as running red lights. The survey also disclosed that over one third of parents surveyed felt that safety procedures such as staying out of areas where parking was not permitted were not being followed. The reasons of those who admitted pulling into non-drop off/pick up area included being in a hurry, a full drop-off/pick-up zone and stopping only for a few minutes. I have seen how congested pick-up and drop-off zones can get, but stopping in non-designated areas slows things down even more. Fortunately, most of the schools in my area have designated drop-off/pick-up areas, but I'm sure there are some schools that don't have a pick-up/drop-off zone.

Both the Ontario Schools and parents need to work together to improve safety within school zones. For more details about the survey results or auto insurance visit



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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Aviva Community Fund Charity Contest-Make a Difference in Your Community!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Aviva Community Fund for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

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There are always many ideas to make positive changes to any community, but sometimes there just aren't enough funds to make them happen. This is why I love the idea of the Aviva Community Fund charity contest. Aviva Canada Inc. which one of Canada's leading providers of home, auto, leisure and business insurance has a contest called the Aviva Community Fund charity contest which provides the opportunity for these ideas to come to life. The first qualifying round runs from October 1st to the 15th, while the second round is from October 22nd to November 5th, 2012. I know our community can use more help when it comes to homeless shelters and youth programs amongst other charities.

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If you have an idea for positive community change, this is the perfect chance for an opportunity to make it happen. Visit and submit your idea! The best ideas will gain the opportunity to share in part of the $1,000,000 community fund. At least one Small Idea (up to $50K), one Medium Idea ($50K - $100K), and one Large Idea ($100K - $150K) will be funded. Ideas should be completed or well underway before Dec. 31, 2013. Only ideas which will be implemented within a Canadian community will be considered. Ideas must be submitted in either English or French.

From animal shelters to school playgrounds, there is so much that can be done simply by entering your brilliant idea.

As well, you can easily show your support for the program by doing the following:

Like Aviva Community Fund and/or Follow @Aviva

For a chance at this amazing opportunity, submit your idea at Aviva Community Fund.

For full details about eligibility and contest rules, visit

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Monday, October 1, 2012

Ghost Cookies

There are so many different Halloween cookies to make and I can never decide which ones to choose! I usually make pumpkins and ghost cookies since I find them to be easy to decorate.

These are sugar cookies that I made last Halloween in the ghost shape, decorated with royal icing.

As usual, I start with sugar cookies made from scratch using this recipe: Sugar Cookies
Then I decorated them with this royal icing recipe: Royal Icing

To decorate them, I first piped on white royal icing as the base and let it dry overnight. Then I piped on the hat, face and word "Boo" with purple, green and orange icing and let the icing dry overnight before packaging them up in clear treat bags, tied with co-ordinating ribbon.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Beach Fun

We had a lot of fun going to the beach this summer and now it's back to school for the kids! I didn't bake a lot during the summer months, but plan to make time for baking cookies now that the kids will be off to school.
I will be trying different experiments with trying to make somewhat nutritious cookies so that I can pack them in everyone's lunch. I always find it challenging to pack a really good lunch, since tree nuts are not allowed at school. This eliminates the peanut butter, almond butter and other nut butters that I usually like to put on their sandwiches.
Either way, I can't wait to try out some new recipes!

Monday, August 27, 2012

White Lady Peaches

White lady peaches!! I recently purchased a box of tree-ripened white lady peaches. I was really excited since I had purchased some last year, and they were so very sweet and fragrant. This year I am not disappointed because they are just as good! Last year I made peach cobbler, ate them just like that, and froze some.
There are just so many things that you can do with peaches if you have time, such as: pie filling, jams (pure peach, or add some brown sugar for butterscotch peach jam!), spreads, ice cream or sorbet, and you can jar them for later as well.
This year I have already made peach sorbet for my girls quickly and easily using my Vitamix. I shared some peaches with my sister and she is going to jar hers so that she can feed them to her baby in the Fall when he's ready for solids. I was surprised since most the time when fruits are jarred it is done with a sugary or honey syrup, which wouldn't be ideal for a baby. But I learned from her that you can pack them in just water. The only differences are that the fruits may not be as sweet and the colour won't quite be the same.

If I get the chance before they over ripen, I would love to dry or candy them to add to cookies.
I hope you are enjoying this season's harvest of fresh fruits and vegetables! 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Zucchini Cookies

I am always trying to sneak vegetables into cookies and other "treats" since I find it quite challenging to get my kids to eat vegetables. I figured if I made some chocolate zucchini cookies, they might actually eat them. I didn't have a zucchini cookie recipe so I used my usual oatmeal raisin cookie recipe and added chunks of zucchini in place of half the oats and chocolate instead of raisins. I also used 1 egg instead of 2.

There are a lot of zucchini recipes that I would still love to try such as zucchini muffins, zucchini bread and even zucchini cake. The key to getting my kids to actually eat them is to make the zucchini pieces as small as possible!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Insurance Hunter-Insurances Quotes Made Easy

Post brought to you by Insurance Hunter. All opinions are 100% mine.

Calling various insurance companies for car, home or travel insurance is a thing of the past. I remember having to speak to so many different people who were trying to sell me on extras I didn't need and wasting a lot of my time. Nowadays, the search for Auto Insurance is so much more simple. You can do the search online!

Insurance Hunter makes getting a quote so easy and the service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is no need to wait for someone to call you back or talk for hours with someone who is trying to sell you extra options that you don't need. I am always trying to find the best deal for Car Insurance and since an online brokerage called Insurance Hunter provides free access to home, auto and travel insurance quotes from the top insurance companies in Ontario, it is actually quite easy to get the best deal. The process is quite simple. Just answer a questionnaire and then immediately afterwards, the best quotes available for the specific coverage that have been chosen are listed. You can select the best coverage option suited to you and make a purchase right there!

Having such a busy lifestyle, I really like that the service is available at any time of day and any day of the week. If you love convenience, saving money and time, check it out! I'd also love to hear about your experiences on getting insurance quotes. Please feel free to comment!


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Friday, June 29, 2012

Frozen Dessert

This was a really pretty frozen dessert that was served at a party we went to. It was fruit sorbet shaped to look like a pear! So delicious and refreshing. Perfect for a party in the summer.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Purse Cookies

I made these fun purse cookies for my friend's birthday. She loves black and white so I thought I would bake up some sugar cookies and decorate them to look like purses! I added a bit of gold sanding sugar to fancy them up a bit. They were all decorated with different patterns so that everyone could pick out their favorite design. The guests had a lot of fun picking a purse and eating it too!

They would also be perfect bagged or boxed up as bachelorette party favors, birthday party favors and even wedding favors! Or just fun for a girls night in!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Chocolate Dipped Cookies

Chocolate cookies are usually very popular in our house, but for the few people who don't like to have too much chocolate, these chocolate dipped cookies are perfect.

Dipping cookies in chocolate is quite easy, especially if you have a fondue pot. Both, chocolate dipped shortbread or chocolate dipped sugar cookies look great on a cookie platter.

For chocolate dipped shortbread cookies, bake up a batch of shortbread cookies and pipe the batter out onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Once they are baked and cooled, I melt the chocolate in a fondue pot and dip the ends of the cookies. Then I place them onto a new sheet of parchment paper to dry.

If I'm making chocolate dipped sugar cookies, then I roll out the cookies and cut them into fun shapes before baking them. Once they are cool, I partially dip them in chocolate and place them onto parchment paper to dry.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Czech and Moravian Wines Making Their Way to the U.S

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of weinherr for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I have always enjoyed tasting different wines, but have never tried any from the Czech and Moravia regions. Fortunately, these award winning Boutique wines are slowly making their way into the United States. For the first time ever, Weinherr, an importer and distributor of fine wines will be introducing these unique wines to those in the United States. These are definitely something to look out for the next time you attend a wine and cheese or host a party!

The Czech and Moravian wines are of full taste with fruity tones and spiciness. If you are a fan of high quality, matured wines, these would be a lovely choice. The white wines of Moravia are well balanced and consist of spiciness and an array of scents. Each has its own characteristic taste distinct to a specific sub-region in Moravia. The red wines of Moravia play a significant role in the country’s diet. They have a combination of earthiness and fruity characteristics. 

For my friends who enjoy a nice glass of wine every day, one of these wines would for sure make the perfect gift. I know I am looking forward to trying some wines that are unique and different!

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day Cookies

I love making Valentine's Day cookies and of course sugar cookies are always a popular choice! I made this batch of heart shaped cookies for my daughter's preschool class and was sure to choose colors that did not include too much that the boys wouldn't have anything to complain about.

I figured the color grey would be a good choice to go with the traditional Valentine's Day colors and used it to replace pink for many of the cookies. Light blue was another option, but I decided to stick with grey.

To save time, I decorated the sugar cookies with royal icing using simple patterns and designs.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Save Money by Joining Walgreens Prescription Savings Club

This post brought to you by Walgreens. All opinions are 100% mine.

There are so many fun items and activities that I love to splurge on, so when it comes to items that are not so fun to purchase such as prescriptions, I try to save as much as possible.

There is a lot of money to be saved by joining Walgreens Prescription Savings Club, and better yet, right now you can save on the annual membership itself as well! For only $35 per year, a family membership covers everyone in your immediate family including a spouse, dependents 22 and younger, and pets too! For individuals, it is only $20 per year. The best part is, if you find that you do not save at least the amount of the membership by the end of the year, Walgreens will refund the difference!

Being a member of the Walgreens Prescription Savings Club allows you to save on more than 8000 brand name and all generic medications. You also receive discounts on flu shots, pet prescriptions, nebulizers and diabetic supplies. There are bonuses when you purchase Walgreens brand products and photofinishing services as well. How convenient is that?!

Stay up to date by liking Walgreens on Facebook and following Walgreens on Twitter.

Happy saving!

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Peanut Butter Cookies

These peanut butter cookies are storebought, but taste wonderful nonetheless. As a child, I really enjoyed homemade peanut butter cookies, because they are plain and simple. I  usually make cookies from scratch, but could not resist when I saw these at the grocery store. It has been a long time since I have had peanut butter cookies so I thought, why not! :)