Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Food and Family

It’s amazing how food brings family together. For as long as I can remember, cooking with my mom has been a tradition. Not only did I cook with my mom, but also my grandmother. It was something we loved to do together when my sister and I were young, and still love to do it to this day.

Now that I’ve got kids, I continue the tradition with them. I must admit, while I love to cook, my real passion lies in baking. Aaahhh, do I have a sweet tooth!  My kids’ favourite recipe has got to be chocolate chip cookies, but I really love trying new recipes in hopes of finding our next “family favourite”. This past year, I’ve tried to be a little more adventurous with meals, so that we don’t end up eating the same-old, same-old every week. In turn, I’m going to share a few of our new favourites. These are all from, which I happen to LOVE because of the rating/review system that helps me pick those recipes that seem to be loved by all. It truly takes the guesswork out of trying a new recipe!

With both the Canada Day and Independence Day long weekends coming up, I hope you will take some time to try something new – you’ll love it! (Especially if it’s a 5-star recipe!!)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Planning for Summer

June is a busy month! I hear all my friends with school-aged kids say that the summer is a nice break after the craziness of June.

With standardized testing happening in many school districts, school fundraisers, graduation (for some), summer birthdays, end-of-year events for cubs/scouts/brownies/guides… well, it’s a lot of work! Then, we get busy planning excursions, registering for camp & booking play dates in the hopes of ensuring our kids are sufficiently stimulated – mentally & physically – during the summer. It’s practically a full-time job!

It can be quite overwhelming and we, as parents, can tend to over-schedule our kids. It’s a very fine balance between planning too many activities and having bored kids. So, in an attempt to save your sanity (!), here are a few tips to help you plan your family’s summer.

Plan activities or outings with other families
If you’re a parent who works outside the home, this can be a great way to allow your kids to get out more often, by trading off child-minding duty with other parents. You may choose to lead an activity on the weekend, while your kids enjoy an outing with friends during the work week.

Let your kids plan one special outing per week
This could be a trip to the water park that your daughter has been talking about or a barbeque at the beach that your son is keen on… whatever it is, make it special by letting each child choose a special outing (alternate weeks between children).

Plan family movie nights and unstructured play days
Movie nights with popcorn and snuggles are the best – and they’re practically free, to boot!! And what's better than letting kids play in the yard or at a park, maybe bringing a picnic or snack, laying down a blanket and gazing up at a cloudy sky. ☺

Don’t underestimate the value of rest and free time
It’s okay to let your kids have some time to “veg” out… that’s what summer is for!

Whatever you choose to do with your family this summer, remember the number one rule – have fun!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sun Safety - what's in YOUR sunscreen?

Summer is in full swing and there’s no better time to take a good look at what we slather on our kids (and, hopefully, ourselves too!) every day – sunscreen.  With all the information out there about what types of sunscreen are best, how often you need to re-apply it and the myriad brands to choose from, are you ever dumbfounded?  I am! 

So, when I stumbled upon a website a few years ago that helped me wade through the sea of information on this topic - and much more - I jumped for joy! Finally, no more trying to decipher labels by spending hours on the internet researching each ingredient.

This amazing website is from the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization whose mission is to use the power of public information to protect public health and the environment. They specialize in providing useful resources like their Skin Deep database, which scientifically analyzes ingredients in many of the products we use every day and, in turn, attributes a safety ranking to each. And, the database keeps growing!

So the next time you want to know how “natural” that sunscreen really is, check out their sunscreen guide

Some of their other helpful resources are listed below.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Are You Ready For Father's Day? :)

It’s that time of year again, when we show our gratitude to Dads everywhere. They BBQ, read bedtime stories, give piggyback rides and let the kids stay up past their bedtimes (well, mine does anyway!).  Ah, Dads… what would we do without them?

Yes, Father’s Day is just around the corner – this Sunday, to be exact. So if you’re stuck for gift ideas for a special Dad in your life, whether he's a techie guy, bookworm, a kid at heart or coffee-lover, you're sure to find something fabulous! Father's Day Gift Guide 2011 

Friday, June 10, 2011

101 Things To Do With Your Toddler

My last post was all about engaging with my kids in a more meaningful way. Well, today I stumbled upon a great blog - Counting On Me - and one of their posts entitled “101 Things To Do With Your Toddler”. What a fabulous idea! It’s like a bucket list for your summer with the family…

I am going to have fun with this and see if I can check each activity off the list! How about you? ;)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Being Present – A Gift to Our Kids

If you’re like me, there’s never enough time in the day to get everything done.
With all of life’s responsibilities, it’s almost impossible to carve out a few minutes of “me” time (for sanity!) each day. Throw in a special occasion to plan or a family illness...well, let’s just say that something’s gotta give. It’s at times like these when I stop and re-evaluate my daily priorities.

I’ve heard it said that kids won’t remember a dirty house, but they will remember the time we spend with them.  And it’s true – there’s nothing my kids love more than for me to hang out with them - and nothing I love more, either! In a few years they may not want to spend so much time with their dear old mom, so starting this summer, it’s my goal to worry less about the little things and enjoy my family more... to try and really be present with my kids – turning off the computer and iPhone if only for a few hours – so I can engage in a way that lets them know there’s nowhere I’d rather be. I want to take advantage of the beautiful weather and opportunities for family fun this summer!

I know what you’re thinking... sometimes that’s easier said than done, especially when you’re out of ideas. Well, that’s where our Summer Guide comes in. We hope it will provide some much-needed inspiration when your creativity doesn’t quite match your enthusiasm!

If you have a great idea, we would love to share it! Send us your suggestions so we can add them to our guide.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Making Memories Stick!

“We do not remember days; we remember moments.” (Cesare Pavese)

If this saying by Cesare Pavese is correct, then we are well advised to capture and harness the power of those “moments” in our lives. As parents, we are always capturing these moments birth, first birthday, first day of school, first soccer goal, spring concert – the list goes on.

Now, with our Photo Labels, you can make these “moments” or memories stick -- for just $9.99!

“Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.” (The television show “The Wonder Years”)

Yours Warmly,
Deborah Miller, Customer Support Manager
and from all of us here at Oliver's Labels