Easiest After School Snack. Ever | #WhatsCooking

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Easiest After School Snack. Ever | #WhatsCooking
I'm so thankful to be a part of Kraft Canada What's Cooking Ambassadorship. I love the new recipes I get to try and share with you and not just for the compensation I receive.  All of my family participates when it's #whatscooking time! :)

It's 4:08pm.

All four kids have made their way through the front door and one by one they enter the kitchen. Each takes a turn staring at the contents inside the refrigerator. 

"I'm hungry" is quickly followed by, "There's nothing to eat!"

By the way... the fridge is full.

It's kinda like when I open up my closet (each Sunday morning) and say, "I have nothing to wear!"

Time to teach the kids how to make a super easy after school snack.

Peanut Butter Snack Bites with Sprinkles

What you'll need:

1/2 cup CRUNCHY Peanut Butter
1/4 cup honey
1 cup large flake rolled oats
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 Tbsp. coloured sprinkles

What you'll do:

Mix peanut butter and honey in a bowl until blended. Stir in remaining ingredients.
Refrigerate 30 minutes.
Hand roll into 1-inch balls. 

These super easy, no-bake, Peanut Butter Snack Bites can be refrigerated up to 1 week before serving.

I challenge you to have some fun and take a #Housie

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I challenge you to have some fun and take a #Housie

What do you get when you take a Selfie in your House?

A #Housie! :)

We bought our first home in 1996, five months after we were married. Instead of spending a whack of cash (or credit) on a massive blow-out wedding, we invested in our life.

I was only 24 years old when I signed my first title deed. My parents were a big influence in our financial investment decisions but I'd also spent six years leading up to this point working in financial institutions.

Our first Christmas as a married couple was spent in a sparsely furnished living room of our very own place. Two of our 4 children were born there. I very much enjoyed our six years in that near century home but in 2002 we felt it was time to find something a little bigger, we had baby #3 on the way.

By the time baby #4 was in the oven, Dave's parents were in their later years and needed to be cared for, so we sold and moved again and this time they came with us. We were now a family of 8.

It's hard to believe it's been almost TEN years since we built the house we're currently in. Dave's parents have gone on to glory, I have two kids in high school, one in junior high and the baby is in grade 4.

Our houses have varied in style and size, our first had boatloads of character, it sat on a 1/4 acre in a little village 7 kilometers outside of the city. Our 2nd home was a cookie-cutter bungalow placed in the perfect neighbourhood in the city. The one we're in now backs on to a beautiful green-space and everyone has their own room. But more important than the particular postal code or the size of the baseboards, if we had carpet or hardwood, for me, a house is special because of the people who fill it.

I challenge you to take a 360 short video of your favourite part of your home, just like I did below.

Here are 5 easy steps to participate:
  1. grab your phone, 
  2. turn on the camera towards yourself, 
  3. spin around 360 degrees, 
  4. tag with #housie, 
  5. share on Instagram or Twitter.

Share your #Housie video with us during our #Housie Twitter Chat on April 14, @ 1pm ET and you could win ONE of FIVE TEN :) $50 gift cards. 

Read the full Rules and Regs here.

It's from the words others speak over us that we begin to believe we are average. #ChooseBeautiful

It's from the words others speak over us that we begin to believe we are average. #ChooseBeautiful
Have you noticed that children are born with a natural confidence? They don't care what their hair looks like, if their outfit matches, or if their belly hangs over their pants.

Then slowly over time it changes. Not by the child's doing, but by the people around them. Most of the time it's ever so innocent, ever so slight. A comment meant as a joke, a comparison between siblings, or whispers from friends just out of arm's reach.  Even a sincere grandmother's comment about the second helping of mashed potatoes you just took...

Words are like darts.

I was around eight when I realized I had "monkey ears."

My older sister was double my age, her boyfriend at the time thought it was funny, "LOOK AT HER EARS!!" It was easy to make fun of a little girl who was born with ears that protruded from her head.

What would happen if you put Shannon's head out of a moving vehicle? was a joke I often heard him tell.

Do you want to hear the punchline?

Her ears would beat her to death! and the laughter roared.

I grew more and more self-conscious.

Do they flap? Like Dumbo's!

I started to hide behind my hair. It was never up and it was never wet, in public.

Swimming lessons were torturous. Giggles from those along the wall.

My parents didn't know how much damage had been done until I was 13. They wanted me to get baptized (submersion style) at our church but I refused. For no other reason than I didn't want anyone to see my ears.

I later underwent plastic surgery to have them reconstructed.

Looking back at the photos, they really didn't look that big! Not as big as others teased me for.

It's from the words others speak over us that we begin to believe we are average.

At some point we have to take responsibility for the words we choose to use. As a society, we have to realize that our words hold power. The old saying goes, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me" but it is a painful lie.

I prefer the proverb, which says,
"Words kill, words give life;
they're either poison or fruit - you choose."

At some point we have to realize that those words spoken over us, albeit they sting, they don't reflect who we really are. As much as I believe words are powerful, I also believe we have to choose to not let them hold us captive.

Dove is doing another amazing, tear-jerking, heart-wrenching, make-you-think, campaign. It's called #ChooseBeautiful" and I'm proud to be a part of it.

If two doors stood before you, one said "Beautiful" and the other "Average, which door would you choose?


Dec 2013 (she bends down to hug me)
This post is dedicated to my niece. 

The reason I am so passionate about this campaign and about changing how we talk to one another, is partial because of the pain I experienced as a child but more recently --- and it always hurts more when someone else you love goes through it --- last week my 14 year old niece, who is 6 feet tall and doesn't look anything close to her age, was at a concert with her older sister and their friends when she started having an anxiety attack. She went to the back of the Colosseum to get away from the crowds and to stand by the security guards where she'd feel safe. She was taken to the first-aid room, the lady in charge (who thought my niece had done something wrong) made a comment which could have life-long lasting consequences. She said, "Thank you for the proof that you don't have to be old to have cellulite."  

And we wonder why our teens and then our women have low self esteem!

My darling niece, you are one of the MOST beautiful people I know. Don't let people put words into your head. You ARE beautiful. Now it's up to you to #ChooseBeautiful.

One last Blast of Winter means Stew is on the Stove | #WhatsCooking

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One last Blast of Winter means Stew is on the Stove | #WhatsCooking
I've been living in Southwestern Ontario for almost 19 years, you'd think by now I would be used to winter not wanting to end. The last two years, we've had extremely long and brutally cold winter months, so when the calendar said it was spring.... I would actually like to experience it.

It doesn't help that my entire family in British Columbia are lovingly posting pictures of cherry blossoms, green grass and daffodils. :)

So while my family and friends are posting pictures like this...

Photo Credit: Lindsay from Becoming a Bolder Being

I'm posting pictures like this....

Photo Credit: Canadian Teenology contributors

Yes, it's my daughter and her friends. They decided to do a photo shoot during "Spring" break. :)

To keep me warm this March, I spent Spring Break making delicious winter foods, like Beef Stew! Whether it's prepared on the stove or in a crock-pot, the feeling of comfort you get from a hot bowl of hearty goodness on a cold, snow day, is still the same.

Do you have a family recipe that you make or do you like to vary your recipe from time to time?

My beef stew always has the must-have's of stewing beef, carrots and potatoes but the rest seems to come about based on what is in my kitchen at the moment.

For those of us who are still experiencing a chilly winter day... this recipe is for you! ENJOY!!

 Slow Cooker Classic Beef Stew

What you'll need:

7 slices bacon, but into 1-inch pieces
1 boneless bottom blade pot roast (2 lb/900 g), but into 2-inch pces.
2 Tbsp. flour
1 cup dry red wine
1 lb. (450 g) each baby carrots and quartered fresh mushrooms (I cut up large carrots and my kids don't like mushrooms, so I left those out)
1 pkg. (284 g) pearl onions, peeled (I had a small white onion on hand)
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minched
1 cup 25%-less-sodium beef broth
1/4 cup Bull's-Eye Guinness Draught Beer Blend BBQ Sauce
1/4 cup Kraft Calorie-Wise sun-dried tomato & oregano dressing
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
My Spring Break Beef Stew

What you'll do:

Cook and stir bacon in large skillet on medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from skillet with slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Discard all but 2 Tbsp. drippings from skillet.

Todd meat with flour, Add to drippings in skillet; cook 6 min. or until evenly browned, stiring occassionally. Spoon into slow cooker.

Add wine to skillet; bring to boil, stirring constantly to scrape browned bits from bottom of skillt/ Cook and stir 2 min.; pour over meat. Add carrots, mushrooms, onions, celery and garlic.

Whisk broth, BBQ sauce and dressing until blended; pour over vegetables. Cover with lid; cook on LOW 8-9 hours (or on HIGH 4 to 5 hours).

Stir in Parsley.

Variation: Omit wine, increase beef broth to 2 cups, using 1 cup to deglaze the skillet, and remaining to mix with the barbecue sauce and dressing as directed.

I am part of Kraft Canada What's Cooking Ambassadorship. I receive compensation in return for bringing you some delicious recipes. Ones I make often in my home for my family.

Sexiest Coffee Mugs Ever! (US Giveaway) #LBandMe

Sexiest Coffee Mugs Ever! (US Giveaway) #LBandMe
There is nothing more important to me than my first cup of coffee in the morning. It's a running joke that you don't talk to me until the mug is empty. My friends tag me weekly in photos on Facebook about coffee. It's not a secret that I love my cup of Joe.

This pretty much sums it up...

I was first introduced to Luigi Bormioli, the World's leading Glassware Maker, last year by a friend of mine. My china cabinet is now bursting at the seams with Italian glass. Every time I go shopping, I stop by the glassware section to see if I can find any more to add to my collection. So far, I have purchased for myself, a set of Magnifico large bowl for red wine (for guests, I'm allergic to red), a set of Romantica Wine for white, a set of Romantica flutes for champagne, a set of Canalleto DOF barware for when I'm in the mood for Pumpkin Spiced Whiskey and Coke (thanks Mom for introducing me to that odd combination!). They truly have a #GlassforEveryOccasion.

My friends are beginning to ask me why so many different glasses, what's the big deal?! There is a reason you need to choose the right glass. In particular, it makes your wine taste better!!

But back to my love for coffee.... 

Last week, Luigi sent me a couple sets from their Thermic Collection to add to my ever-growing personal collection. When I posted this picture on my Facebook wall, the response was crazy. One phrase that kept coming up... "sexiest mug ever!"

My coffee never looked so good. It is such a beautiful mug. It is handmade, super light-weight, and dishwasher safe to boot!!


So I asked the company if I could give away a set of Thermic Cafe mugs and they said YES. :)

Our Thermic collection is handmade of double wall borosilicate glass. Due to the borosilicate material, our finely constructed glasses are both microwave and dishwasher safe.  Glasses from our Thermic collection will maintain the hot or cold temperature of drinks while the double wall design prevents condensation to the outer surface.  At first glance, this beautiful collection seems extremely delicate but its lightweight construction has superior strength and durability. - Luigi Bormioli, website.

How would you like to win a set?!

A set contains 2 mugs. Enter here (open to the Continental United States only, no P.O. Boxes please, contest ends April 14, 2015 @ 12AM EST):

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Disclaimer: I was provided product for my own personal use, because I liked it so much, I asked if I could offer my readers a chance to win the product. Opinions are my own.

Are you ready for whatever life brings? Join #ManulifeReady on Twitter March 24 @ 9pm ET to WIN BIG cash prizes!

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Join us on Twitter Tuesday March 24th @ 9pm EST for a Twitter Party of HUGE proportions!! We'll be giving away over $3,000 in cash prizes.

We want to make sure you don't miss this night online. Here are the details you will need to know.

Hashtag: #ManulifeReady
Twitter Handles to Follow: @Manulife @ShashersLife and @HartGalla
Date: Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Time: 9:00pm EST
Mandatory RSVP
Be sure you read all the Rules & Regulations first.

In the meantime, you can get involved in ANOTHER contest from Manulife, "What's Your Door?"

We are having a great time on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, sharing photos of the various doors in our lives. Whether it's the door to your first home, the door from the hospital where your child was born, the door to your first car, a door to your dream vacation, your office door, or your bedroom door... We want to hear what impact that door has had on your life!

If you join the conversation, you could WIN $2,500!!!! 

  • Post a photo on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram of a physical door in your past, present and/or future and tell us why it’s important for you. 
  • Use the hashtag #ManulifeReady 
  • Have fun and post as many photos as you want! 
  • Be sure to read the Rules and Regulations first. (Hint: Open to Canada, excluding QC)

Good luck to you all, I can't wait to see whose door wins!

Are You Ready for whatever life brings?!

Pssst! Before you go, don't forget to RSVP for the Twitter Party on Tuesday, March 24th.

Disclaimer: This campaign is brought to you by Manulife, my paid client, under Splash Media Engagement. Opinions are my own.

Cool Mom of 4, Married to the Preacher Man, but at times I'm a little more Sass than Saint! [Shannon Mischuk] (