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Monday, October 21, 2013

Ultimate Gift Guide Giveaway US only Ends November 20th

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Welcome to the Ultimate Holiday Giveaway!!  I have to thank each and every wonderful sponsor who helped truly make this the Ultimate Giveaway!  No matter who your looking to buy for there is bound to be something for them on this list!  You might even find a package with a few things to reward yourself with!

Please be patient with our bloggers websites and load times since this is such a large event.  The forms may take a little extra time AND it may seem like this one has a little extra work to enter.  Even though each of the packages have their own giveaway form, you will find that most of the entries are identical.  This way if you like/follow a page in one you will already have it done for the next!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

Summer has flown by. Kids are back to school, the weather is getting cooler and Halloween is right around the corner. That means it time. Time to reflect on where your journey has taken you this past year, time to concentrate on everything you are thankful for.  I have many. Although this past year(s) has introduced every major life event. We made it. The Huie's are still here and we are thankful. So very thankful for being here for another year. We are thankful for all of our friends, family and health. We are thankful to have a place to call home at the end of the day. We are thankful for having such awesome children and the means to take care of them, no matter how creative and frugally that may be. We are here, and we are here together with love and hope.

Thanksgiving to us, is a time to step back and take a moment to be thankful for the big things, the little things and of the hope for tomorrow.  Thanksgiving allows us some time together as a family to re-connect and enjoy a moment of togetherness because, life passes by so quickly, as you get older these moments become so much more precious. For this I'm thankful.

Okay, now that the reflection is out of the way, lets get to the best part of the Thanksgiving celebration. The FOOD!

Anyone who knows me, knows I love to cook!  I'm still traditional when it comes to holiday fare and this is what I have planned for this year..

Turkey. I love Turkey! I happen to make an unforgettable birdie. My heat of choice? The BBQ! 
Don't let that scare you, I know what your thinking.. "But it will be dry!" 
No it won't trust me because here is my secret to a deliciously juicy bird:

Things you'll need: 
• A Turkey! (I usually go for a large bird so we have left overs)
• A large cooler or brining bag
• Brine Mix 
• An aluminum roasting pan 
• Tin foil
• Applewood chips
• Bacon

To brine a turkey you'll need to have a large tub, cooler or brining bag that you can fully submerge your bird in.

I like the brining bags sold by epicure (food safe) but an old cooler will do the trick as well.

You'll want to start the brining process about 24 hours before you want to cook the turkey. This allows the brining procedure penetrate the Turkey and plump it up! 

I like to warm the water and stir in the brining solution so it dissolves easily.

Let the solution cool to room temperature and transfer into your cooler or brining bag. Gently lower the Turkey into the solution. If its cold enough where you live you can leave it in the garage or outdoors. If the temperatures aren't that cool where you are, that's ok. Put a few bags of ice in and keep it closed!

I can usually fit it in our fridge. Hey, it's a worthy sacrifice for 24 hours! 
Try to time it so that your turkey (in the brine solution) is allowed to come to room temperature before you are ready to cook it.

Have your pan ready, and slowly lift the turkey out and place it in he pan.
Pat dry with some paper towels.

Now is a good time to make your smoke pack.  Soak your applewood chips in warm water for about an hour, drain and wrap in a foil pack. Poke the pack on the top with a fork

Massage your Turkey with 2 tbsp of butter. Real butter.... All over.. Massage it with love! Then add a dry seasoning mix. You can buy a pre-made rub or make one of your own.

I like to make my own with sage, rosemary, cumin and fennel.

If you like to stuff your bird, now is the time to do it.
Personally, I don't. I prefer to do my stuffing separately, but I do cut in 1/2 an onion, orange and an apple and place them inside the cavity. 

Now you are ready to put the turkey on the BBQ.

Just kidding! Don't forget the most important part! Covering the turkey in.. You guessed it! Bacon! 
Place strips of bacon over the wings, thighs and breast, it not only adds a layer of protection, but also slowly bastes the turkey with bacon grease and keeps it nice and moist.

Pre-heat your grill and turn off the centre burners. Put the pan with the turkey in the centre (indirect method) place the smoke packs on either side and leave on medium heat

Let it smoke like this for about 1.5 hours.  Baste with the juices at the bottom of the pan. Check the temperature.. Cover and roast another 1.5 hours. 
Check the temperature adjust cooking as necessary. Leaving uncovered.

Turkey Farmers of Canada recommends cooking a whole turkey to an internal temperature of 170°F (77°C) in the breast and 180°F (82°C) in the thigh.

Once the internal temperature has been reached, remove, turn off the Bbq and tent the turkey. Let it settle for about 20-30 minutes.

Don't forget to use that yummy, buttery turkey juice to make gravy!

Carve and enjoy! 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Jaxs' 2013 Holiday wish list

With Halloween almost here, the stores are already setting up their Christmas displays. (Some have been since back to school in August!) Disgusting right!?

Now I have to admit, I LOVE the Holidays! I love It more now with the Toddler! The elder children lost that excitement long ago, it's nice to have fresh, new spirit in the house!

The Holidays with the Huie's dulled when the elders hit pre-teens. No one wanted presents anymore.. (Unless it was something BIG!) Like 6 years ago when they all pleaded together that the only thing they wanted for Christmas was a dog... poor Ziggy.. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't turn down a flat screen TV or the latest gaming system, but we just don't have it like that. Especially with three teens! Don't even bother buying clothes for teens anymore because unless they've pulled you right into the store and you noted the exact description, colour and size, what ever you get they'll somehow not like it. I broke and learned to save myself the headache (and heart ache) by getting the ever so impersonal gift cards or the one guaranteed to bring a grin, hug AND kiss is good ol' hard cash.  They still get the token under shirts, undies and sox. Body wash, razor, tooth brush, chocolates (and our traditional tangerines) in their stocking. What ever cash or gift cards they amass, they put towards what ever it is they have their eye on and have been pretty good at snagging some great clothes during Boxing Day sales. 

I miss when they were little and the excitement and wonder the holidays brought.  Spending time together playing games, watching a movie. Things that at some point, stop happening when you have adult children.
Now that the Toddler is communicating and can have somewhat interesting conversations, everything is getting much more exciting! That even means ME! 

For fun the other day, I asked the adult children what they would want for Christmas the responses were:

Eldest #1: A giant sly smile in a serious tone..
 "A 50' flat screen for my room."
- better get saving buddy.

Eldest #2: With a Cheshire Cat like grin..
"An Alienware 17 laptop"
- Ha ha ha I never laughed so hard! (After I got over the fact that a laptop could even cost so much and not be encrusted in jewels)

Eldest #3: looking up at the ceiling a million things running through her head..
"Um... Money?"
Me: "No hunny, besides Money..."
"Ahh.. A gift card for the mall?"
Me: "No like, an item"
"What else is there?"
- Oookay, we will keep it at that.

Toddler: (Not really remembering what Christmas is)
Me: "Yes, Christmas, what do you want Santa to bring you"
"Sa-tah?.. Sa-tah pessents me?"
Me: yes, yes, what present do you want, what does Jax like?"
"Meh-mo" (Elmo)
Me: you like Elmo?
"Meh-mo yes! Pi-ates too an Mouse house"
Me: you like Pirates too? Jake and the Never Land pirates? And Micky Mouse club house?
"Yep, yep I uh-ove (Love) das ones"
- I love you!

I have to admit, I am gushing with excitement for holiday season 2013 in the Huie house.

Jax Christmas list so far:
- Big Hugs Elmo (sure to sell out fast to make sure you get one early!)
- Innotab 3 with wifi (Since the Toddler confiscated my iPad) this is my only glimmer of hope to get it back.
- Jake and the Never Land Pirates play ship 

I plan on a few surprises this year and shaking things up a bit.. I am going to get the festive spirit back in this house if its the last thing I do!

(P.s. Santa, mommy wants a Microsoft Surface for blogging)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Toddler Rash

Kids are always coming up with rashes, it's part of being a kid.  As babies, heat rash and diaper rash are common place..something thankfully we didn't have a problem with Jax.  As we start to introduce different products, you get to find out what works with your child and what doesn't. As a baby, We couldn't use any John*** products on Jax.. Except for the cocoa/shea butter products.  He'd break out in a rash. However, Aveeno baby eczema cream (he never had eczema) was (and still is) the only lotion we could put on his face with no reaction. Aveeno is a J&J product.. Go figure!

With Jax turning 2 this summer we had the pleasure of discovering sunscreens.

Last summer we used green beaver and he didn't have any reaction from that.  Although expensive, it worked well and he had no reaction.

This summer we started out with Nurtigena wet kids.  Jax broke out with small pimples everywhere it was applied! I didn't think to take a picture of that rash, needless to say, 2 $15 cans went into the product graveyard.. And ultimately found a home with a friend of mine who swears by it.

I was lucky enough to get to test out the new Banana Boat Natural reflections sunscreen. (See review here) I was so happy it works fantastically on Jax but where I live it's hard to find.

This past weekend we did an unplanned trip to the beach, I was in charge of filling the cooler for our picnic and hubby was in charge of gathering the rest of the beach necessities. One thing we ended up forgetting was Jax's sunscreen!!

We stopped by a rural grocery store to grab some.  While they didn't have Banaba Boat Natural Reflections, they did have regular banana boat kids. ($15 later 240ml) I scanned the ingredients looking for any peanut/oil ingredients, there were none. Expiry date was 02/2016 so no worries there! (Jax has a peanut allergy)

Before we continued on our drive to the beach, I applied the sunscreen, as you are supposed to apply at least 30 minutes before you go out into the sun. About 10 minutes later, as I was taking photos of the kids laughing in the back of the van, (that's our Jax on the left and his cousin on the right)

I noticed Jax's face was red! Hoping it was just because his face is sensitive, I thought I'd keep an eye on it.

Imagine my horror when upon being settled in at the beach, I change Jax into his swim gear and discover this:

This "rash" was everywhere! On his face, arms and back! Not on his legs, as I didn't apply any there.  This is why I know the sunscreen is to blame :(

It didn't seem to bother him much, he was his usual playful self.  Although I ALWAYS have his epi pen just in case, he didn't have any problems breathing so no need to resort to that! But I was kicking myself for not bringing the Benadryl!!  I got a towel wet and tried to gently wipe off the Sunscreen, not sure that it worked well being water proof, so we put his UV shirt and hat on and let him play. 

As soon as we got home, we gave Jax some Benadryl and a bath and it seemed to lessen the rash a little bit, not completely but enough to give ME some relief!

Today, the colour of the bumps is gone but the raised patches still abound.  This afternoon, I notice its extended down to his groin and starting to creep down his legs :( looks like another trip to the doctor  is in order!! 

I called the 1-800-SUN-TIPS # on the banana boat kids sunscreen and spoke to customer care, they're sending me a postage paid box to return the sunscreen for testing along with some coupons to replace the product (which Ill be using to stock up on the Natural Reflect) 
They asked I forward the photo of the rash and call them back after we'd been to see the doctor.  I really appreciated their concern. She also offered to reimburse any out of pocket expenses for fees, medication we may incur from the incident.  

Outstanding customer service!

Ill post an update after we see the doctor tomorrow morning


Stay Tuned & Stay Lovely

~ ProductJunki

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Woolzies Dryer Ball Review & Giveaway!

Sweet surprise in the mail the other day! These balls are amazing!! 

Being the skeptic that I am, I just had to put these to the test! I mean, how can some wool balls replace both my fabric softener AND dryer sheets? Right!?

Wrong. Oh so wrong!

First load:
Used my regular detergent and liquid fabric softener.. Dried using only woolzies.
Wow. Not only did they cut my drying time by about 15 minutes, my clothes were not clinging for life to one another! Must be because I still used fabric softener right?

Wrong again.

Second load:
Used my regular detergent only. No fabric softener, No dryer sheets
Result: soft, static free clothes!

Third load:
Same as second.. I just couldn't get enough!

Woolzies are 100% eco friendly and hypoallergenic.  They're made from 100% New Zeland wool and last for over 1,000 uses! 

I love that they are non-toxic, all natural and they help you save energy by cutting down drying time by 25%!!

These are a new staple in my house. Although I will still use my fabric softener, as I love the smell but certainly these will replace my additional dryer sheets!

If you aren't a scent addict like me, have allergies or are really environmentally conscious then Woolzies are for you! 


~Stay Tuned & Stay Lovely

So happy to announce the Woolzies is sponsoring a giveaway for Product Junkie Followers!
Open to Canadians only :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Where have you been all my life Zevia!!??

On my quest to get healthy and eat real food I cut out a lot of products that I used to consume that led me to be on this quest to get healthy mainly carbs. If you don't know sugar is basically a carbohydrate, and what your body doesn't use for energy it stores as fat. Trust me I know, I have a lot of it ;)

One of my weaknesses is my sweet tooth.. Chocolate, cake, sweets, pastry and pop.  Pop, Cola, Soda or what ever you call that sugary, fizzy drink has just as much carbs as it does sugar.. Coming in at, at least 47g.  Just so you have an idea of how much that is... 

My daily allowance for carbs is 20-25g so  that one can of soda is two days worth of carbs and I wonder why Ive packed on the pounds and can't lose weight!

I officially cut the sugary beverage from my life.  It was hard. Especially with everyone drinking and demanding it in my house! After the initial sugar detox and awareness on how not necessary it is, I've gotten out of the habit. Not to say I never drink it, I do, there's just something refreshing about those fizzy bubbles sometimes. I have a pop about once a month now. I have a slight reaction every time I have my first gulp, sort of a hiccup/burp reflux, silly I know but it happens every time!

Going out for drinks is also a bummer when you are cutting sugar and carbs. While liquor has little carbs, anything you mix with it to make it palatable is full of them! I'm not much of a beer person, but we can see that one night out could sabotage the best of diet-tensions. Not to mention the obligatory sloppy poutine at 3am diet done. Set back for months! 

Having displaced my self from that scene in effort to get control of my weight again, it became easier to forget about Pop. Now I had heard of this product called Zevia but not knowing anything about it never thought to find out, thinking it must be a diet product chock full of things worst than sugar and carbohydrates. Things like aspartame. The toxic gmos and substances Splenda the stuff diet sodas and gum is made with. 
No thank you!

Apparently I was wrong. 
The people at Zevia reached out to me and I think I've found heaven! 
Zevia is an all natural Organic 0 calorie sugar free smart fizzy beverage with only 4g of carbs!! 

Crazy right!? 

It comes in 15 different flavours all the ones you are use to like cola, lime, black cherry, orange, cream soda, grape root beer and ginger! No! I'm not even kidding!! 

Diabetics and dieters delight! 

Now Zevia isn't new. It hasn't just come out. They've been around since 2007 but are just recently starting to make a come back and grow in the Canadian market and I think they've picked the perfect time. Zevia is about to become a front runner in the beverage industry. 

I'm ecstatic Zevia reached out to me, it's as though they felt the struggle we have with soda in this house. Like they know it's the natural pop me and my family have been craving! Like they know Im trying to go GMO free and that Im a product junki... oh wait thats on my twitter :) I am so excited that they're sending me a case! 

Zevia is sweetened naturally from the stevia plant and with 4g of carbs per can, I may be able to enjoy some fizz more frequently without the guilt!

I am eagerly waiting to see what flavours will be sent! And to crack open a cold one on a hot day, hear those fizzy little bubbles frolicking in the tin can and gulp it down, after my initial hicburp that is!


Delicious and satisfying! You have to drink this for the first time with the understanding that it is NOT commercial Pop. It's not syrupy sweet. Fantastic fizz! Depending on the flavour you'd never know it wasn't bad for you! 

I was sent a mixed 6 pack:
Lemon Lime Twist
Ginger ale

My favorite was the lemon lime twist. 
The kids didn't notice a difference, even asked if there was anymore!

I love the fact that there is no sugar or artificial ingredients. I love even more that there isn't any Carbs! With 4g of carbs per can, it's great to indulge guilt free in a fizzy drink every now and then!

Now I don't advocate drinking a case a day, excess of anything is never a good thing. 

I do advocate detoxing yourself from sugary sodas. Its a hard thing to do, trust me, I know.  

Stay Tuned and Stay Lovely
~ Product Junkie


Saturday, June 29, 2013

First time travelling with a Toddler

It's almost time.... Not sure if that's a good or bad thing.. 
We will be travelling with our toddler on July 10th, which just so happens to be his 2nd birthday. If you have ever been a parent of a toddler, or have ever had contact with these little primates you know when they reach 2, they go wild.  So wild infact it's termed the "Terrible Twos" 

In my case it's been going on much longer... Much much longer.. You see we were blessed with a very strong willed advanced primate, don't be fooled by all the cuteness up above there.. No, no, no that would be your first mistake!.. He crawled early and walked by 9 months...he has a special knack of picking things up quickly.. It's no surprise then that the terrible 2's hit around 18 months..and have showed no signs of leaving.... Ever so it seems.  He took control of my iPad not long after and who am I kidding, he runs this house okay!!  We are also smack dab in the middle of potty training.. Any experienced mom knows that once you start, you have to go with it. To stop or stray from the program can cause major set backs. Jax has been doing wonderfully well, but he is only 23 months and does have accidents sometimes which is another reason why I'm not sure how this holiday will go.

We are going to the Iberostar Ensenachos in Cayo Santa Maria Cuba. My husband is the best man in our friends wedding and we will be travelling with our terrible two, potty training, strong willed child... Not sure if that's a good or bad thing but we are about to find out.

I think I will be forced to spend a lot of time on this ship... I may end up walking the plank! 

T- 12 Days until Dday Bday... Some cute clothes I ordered from TCP have arrived and I was finally able to get the stroller I wanted and it's being driven down as they aren't sold in Canada... But more about that later... This weekend it's Canada day long weekend and I'm hoping to get things together and start organizing as I absolutely hate doing things at the last minute!

I bought a few snacks for Jax to take along.  Tomorrow I'll pull the suit cases out and check them over to make sure they're travel worthy as they've seen their fair share of voyage and have been tossed around a centrifuge quite a few times.

T-11 Days: 
Primate has awoken in a bad mood today he had an accident overnight first one in over a week. He seems much better now after feeding on eggs, Maple leaf bacon, oranges and raspberries!

I pulled the cases and hubbies is worst for wear, It may make it one way but certainly not a return flight. 

I emailed the resort our names and passport numbers for advanced check in as we will be arriving at the resort after 10pm, and I certainly will not feel like standing in line to register, that could take a few hours!!  Knowing this I will have to ensure we have some food for our primate as he is not very friendly when he is tired and hungry. 

Having travelled to Cuba quite a few times, 8 to be exact, I know that they lack some of the more modern conveniences we tend to take for granted . I will have to account for this when packing for our primate!

As I start making my what to bring list, knowing its a huge resort we will definitely need to have a good lightweight stroller with a shoulder carry strap to traverse the uneven terrain in towns as well as stairs and obsticals at the resort. The resorts in Cuba are not accessible. 

Jax is also basically potty trained at this point. He wears underwear all day and a pull up at night.  Now we tote along his potty/urinal everywhere we go, we even have one that stays in the van for when we are out. 
Considering we have to travel over 2 hours to get to the airport, another 3-4 hours at the airport, 3 hours of flight, another 2 hours to the resort I'm not sure how this is all going to work! Do I revert and put him in diapers? As his favorite potty training book states "I don't want to!" 
I'm not going to. No, I can't! The thought of having him reverse his potty use and stay in diapers until he's 3 is a nightmare!
I will have to make sure he has enough changes in clothes, a few pull ups just in case and I will bring his potty as a carry on item in a plastic bag. 

His potty is very light molded plastic made by safety 1st. Such a great invention as not only is it a floor potty but you can hang it up on the wall and it turns into a little urinal. Genius! 

T- 7days:
Had a few days of exhaustion, got some shopping done but that's about it!
We decided to have a party for Jax on Saturday (T- 5 days) How can you not throw a little party for your baby boy!  Lol his is sure to contribute turning the next few days before departure into shear chaos! 
The stroller arrived, have not had a chance to look at it yet, starting to feel a slight twinge of panic lol
I got Jax a Spider-Man carry on so he can pack some snacks and activities to keep him busy for over 12 hours of travel!
Hubby and I decided its in our best interest to invest in a little portable DVD player so our little primate can watch his shows or better yet, his favourite move The Lion King :)

The cloth training pants and swimsuits I ordered still have not arrived I'll be sad if they don't make it in time for this holiday 

Necessities for travelling:

1. A good lightweight stroller.

We have a Britax BReady and it's been a great stroller so comfortable for Jax on long hikes on the trails but not designed for travel! It's big, bulky and heavy! 

Jax also has a Mamas and Papas Urbo stroller that I won from OSM.  Jax loves this shiny stroller and it's lighter than the Britax and wonderful for urban strolls and at the mall but still not convenient for air travel as it needs to be taken apart to collapse into 2 pieces and although lightweight does not fold down enough to be gate checked.

I had been researching light umbrella strollers and there were a few that would have been great to have like the higher end Britax bnimble, Mamas and Papas tour, a Maclaren (obviously). 

Since we ended up having to pay for a seat for Jax because the day we leave (His Birthday) he turns 2.. We couldn't afford to go all out in a 3rd stroller just for travelling.  I came across one from Summer infant called the 3D lite and it looked perfect! At $79.99 usd it has all the features if the more expensive models.. A large basket, 4 position recline, cup holder, 11 lbs and most importantly a shoulder carry strap.  I was so disappointed to find out its not available on the Canadian market yet! So sad as it seemed like the perfect travel stroller that won't break the bank!

Went back to looking and came across the Baby cargo 200 review by whispering 
Coming in at 149.99 it was a bit more then I wanted to spend, also had the option of the 100 model at $119.99 for the extra $20 the 200 model is much more luxurious! After test driving it out at Toys r us, I was convinced to spend the little extra and get the 200 model.... That was until my wonderful sister in law announced she was driving down for a visit with a special surprise.. She had ordered the 3D lite!!! 

2. Familiar snacks, food and drinks

When travelling to a foreign country with a toddler its smart to bring along some familiar foods. Knowing Cuba is not how would you say.. A culinary capital of the Caribbean, this is one area that I will not compromise on! 

3. Toys, books and activities