{Giveaway} Healthy and Easy-to-Make School Lunches (No, Really)


If you've spent anytime hanging out with me here, you already know my not-so-secret secret. 

I like making school lunches, and I use bentos. 

Hold on, hold on. Before you start accusing me of making dinosaur sandwiches and Minecraft creepers out of cheese, I'm more of a practical make it healthy and bite-sized and they will eat it kind of parent. 

And it has been a journey for me. I went through a phase of resentment and loathing, too. 

Nothing got me hotter around the collar than seeing those lunch boxes come home filled with food. And they did, over and over again. It wasn't until I volunteered in my son's classroom that I realized he was spending a lot of time fiddling with lids and getting overwhelmed by what to eat first. Lunch breaks are actually quite short for kids who need to fit in some socializing, too. 

I knew I had to make some big changes, because I was standing at the start of a long road of lunch box filling and had to find a way to make it easier. Since switching to the bento style lunch system, the impact has been a positive one for all of us.

My post last year for Today's Parent, Bento box lunch ideas your kids will love, was a big success because it helped show other parents there isn't a lot of extra elbow grease that goes into the way I pack my kids' lunches. It was more of a mind shift about what I put into them and how the food is organized and presented for maximum appeal. 

My kids no longer struggle with individual lids and deciding what to eat and when to eat it. They pop the top of their Bentology container and everything is there for them to see. They can easily access their food without any worry about spilling or mixing. I started my three oldest kids with this lunch box system as soon as they were in full day school, and I'll be breaking in a new box for my youngest this year (wah!). 

I follow an easy: protein/veggie/fruit/wild card pattern when I fill my boxes, but there are also a lot of great resources to be found online. The first step for me was to begin imagining their desk at school being no different than the table in our kitchen. Once I stopped thinking of school lunches as being something more difficult than any other time I feed my kids, the rest came easily.

To get you started and inspired for the upcoming school year, I've partnered with my all-time favourite Canadian lunch box retailer FENIGO.COM to bring you a fantastic giveaway.


One lucky Canadian reader will receive:

  • 1 insulated Bentology bag (of your choice and there are SO many cute bags!)
  • 1 Bentology lunch box system
  • 1 ice pack

Go ahead and explore the site and enter below. I'm happy to answer any questions you have, too. 

Fenigo can also be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Good luck!




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{Giveaway}: Summer Isn't Over Yet, You Guys!

I see what you're doing with your status updates and snowsuit displays.

There are only "x" number of days until summer is over.

Well, I can't heeeeeeeeearrrrrrrrrr you.

I'm over here counting the days of summer like they're here to stay.

Because you're right. Changing leaves and school lunches will be here before we've had a chance to use up all our sunscreen, and I want my kids to soak up every ray of sunlight that we can.

We're going to squeeze in a trip to Canada's Wonderland with friends before the end of the month, and PayPal Canada wants you to come with me.

I remember when my oldest cousin got his driver's license and my other cousins, sister and I would pile into his car and head to the park so we could be there from open to close. It became an annual family tradition that we've continued with our own kids. The smell of funnel cakes and the sounds of screaming roller coaster riders still makes me giddy. I can remember the feeling of my legs hanging from the swings as we swooped over top of the park like we could fly. And I cherish the collection of key chain photos and the taped recordings of our heartfelt Boyz II Men karaoke sessions. There are so many wonderful memories from the time I've spent there. 


{It's funny how much scarier roller coasters are when you bring your kids on them}

On August 27th, PayPal Canada is hosting a #WonderfulCanHappen event by offering a free screening of Jurassic World at the International Showplace Theatre. PayPal users can purchase seasons tickets, daily entrance tickets or Fast Lane passes to the park and then find the PayPal headquarters inside the park to obtain VIP wristbands for early admission, priority seating and other goodies at the Jurassic World screening (doors to the theatre open at 6:45 for PayPal users).

I'm giving away VIP packages to two lucky (Ontario residents only) readers. 

  • two park entrance tickets
  • two Fast Lane passes
  • one parking pass
  • two $5.00 food vouchers

Go ahead and enter below to win. 

I'll meet you at the Ghoster Coaster. 



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{Giveaway}: Little Shutterbugs


Summer break is around the corner.

Can you feel it sneaking up on you like I do? 

Are you clicking on 1,000,000,000 ideas to keep your kids busy posts on Pinterest?

Yeah, me too.

The biggest challenge we face every year is entertaining differing interests and ages. 

So while we are great about planning family-friendly outings and camping trips to fill up the summer months, it's harder to find day-to-day activities we can all enjoy.

Luckily, there is one trait all four of my kids share, and it's creativity. Our dining room table turns into a summer art studio, and we seek out classes and options in our community that allow them to express themselves artistically.

They are already signed up for some great cartooning and art camps and this summer we're going to try something new with my older kids.

Canadian photo printing company, Posterjack, is on the hunt for a new Summer Kidtographer. They are looking for junior shutterbugs between the ages of eight and 12 to show off their summer experience through the lens of a camera. 

Four kids will be chosen from entries and provided with their own Canon PowerShot SX520 HS, along with a memory card to save all their photos. Three lucky shutterbugs are chosen by the team at Posterjack and one is chosen by fans on Facebook based on the photo entries.

From July 1 - August 24th, the Kidtographers will be snapping daily photos to be featured on the Posterjack blog and other social media channels. On September 1st, each Kidtograhper will be awarded a $150.00 Posterjack gift certificate to turn their favourite photos into lasting art. 

This weekend, have your kids grab their iPads or smartphones or lend them your fancy camera and tell them to start snapping. Applications will be accepted until midnight on Sunday, June 14th (that's an entire weekend to capture their best photo).

Your tiny photog can submit that photo along with this information to kidtographer@posterjack.ca:

  • name
  • proof of age
  • city
  • a recent photo taken by the child
  • a brief explanation (250 words or less) on why they should be Posterjack's next Summer Kidtographer (parents/guardians can help write it) 

Good luck and have fun!

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And just for reading along, Posterjack is giving one of my lucky readers a $50.00 gift certificate (with free shipping anywhere in Canada) to be used for any product on their site (digital photos can be turned into vibrant artwork on canvas, peel & sticks, metal and acrylic prints).

Just enter below: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Oh, Canada


{Photo credit: True North Trappings}

I'm married to a boy scout.

And I don't mean that in a what a swell guy kind of way (though he certainly is), but in a literal way. 

He is fourth generation Canadian on his mom's side, and he grew up in small town Ontario. 

He loves this country and wants to see every corner of it. 

He likes to be outside and wants our children to be outside.

Riding bikes and skipping rope in our suburban driveway, yes.

But also sleeping bags under the stars and tipsy canoes on the lake. 

So we've made it a priority to be a family that camps, and while we haven't moved beyond the campfires and beaches kind of camping (I'm working through a fear of wildlife), we treasure the time we've spent exploring Ontario's provincial and national parks every summer.

When a dear friend of mine recently launched her line of rustic Canadiana pieces at True North Trappings on Etsy, I knew I had to have one of her pieces for our home.

Our finished piece arrived this weekend, and it's going to be the perfect fit for a new space we're working on. The wood is a beautiful walnut colour and the silhouette of the Great Lakes is perfection. This rugged piece has the qualities we are drawn to when we choose art for our home: unique and simple. It tells a story about who we are as a family, and I know it's a piece we will be asked about time and again. 

To show her thanks for sharing her beautiful work, my friend is offering my blog readers a custom discount code for a 30 percent savings on any of the pieces in her shop. You can contact Janet to choose your stain and design, too. 


{Photo credit: True North Trappings}

I hope our kids will look back on the time we've spent running along the shores of the Great Lakes with nostalgia. We've been camping since our first daughter was a year old, and we've never missed a summer. This year we'll be headed to Pinery and Silent Lake provincial parks, and we have some plans to travel through rural Quebec. 

From now until April 13th, you can use the code: LNP30 to save 30% on your custom piece. You can also find True North Trappings on Facebook and Instagram, if you'd like to follow along as the collection and creativity continue to grow.

Congratulations, Janet, on your wonderful shop,

and thank you for sharing your beautiful work with my readers. 




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