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Outsmart the Grocery Monster | Theresa Albert

August 29, 2011
Back to school means back to the grocery store where the time and money you spend are being manipulated on both subtle and blatant levels.  Once you know the magician’s tricks, you will find that you have only the items you want in your cart and a little more money in your pocket. Know that everything that happens from the moment you walk in the door is designed for your comfort (aka, to make you feel happy so you slow down and buy more).

Behind the curtain:
·         Know what things cost! A sale isn’t always a sale if you don’t know how much your favourite eggs cost next door.  Use online flyers or spend a few minutes with the ones delivered to your door.  Is $4.99 per pound a good price for eye of the round or is this sale tag enticing you to believe so?  You need a point of reference before you even enter.

·         Read coupons carefully!  Here’s the scenario:  you picked up the 16 ounce can of tomatoes you thought the coupon was promoting only to find that it was the 28 ounce can? You find out your error at the register and what do you do? Buy the wrong one anyway that cost more than the brand you usually buy.

·         Choose your store wisely! Store marketers regularly monitor your habits and behaviours in while in the store.  They lay out the store to maximize time spent and items purchase (and renovate “to serve you better” when they spot a dead zone that doesn’t get much action).  Frequenting one store will mean that you can put your fingers on exactly what you need and be able to compare from week to week how your grocery bill is adding up. 

·         Take a list! Some online flyers have wonderful email-able lists that can be built and sent to your own mobile (or someone else’s!) It helps to have a list that includes all of your items sorted by store aisle.  Nothing slows you down more than having to criss cross the store in search of one forgotten tin. 

·         Don’t smell the baked goods! You know that isn’t just a mistake, right? The smell from the in store bakery is purposely pumped back in to tickle all of your sense.  Ok, so you can’t stop smelling but you can prevent it from enticing you by eating before you go.  Or pick up a package of chopped fresh veggies and munch on them while you stroll.  You didn’t get enough veggies today anyway, you may as well make it work for you.

·         Don’t listen! The music is carefully chosen to suit the likely person in the store at a given time. Folksy romance tunes in major chords? Must be Friday night when the young couples or singles are shopping. This helps them feel all mushy and needy so that they seek comfort in the form of food.  Do yourself a favour, plug in your headset and listen to something angry to pick up the pace and knock out that sentimental drivel.

·         Look up and down, not just straight ahead. The priciest items are set at eye level and the ones enticing the kids are down around your knees. Do look for in store signs that signal a price reduction (and go back to step 1) or house brands that may cost less and be the same darned thing that is in the name brand anyway.

·         Halloween is 2 months away! You will see all the displays for this candy-fest now and you may think “hmm, if I buy them now, I won’t need to go searching later”. It’s a trick. You will (or some other little gremlin will) eat them now and still need to find them later. 

Theresa Albert takes on the challenge of demystifying myths surrounding food and health. Millions learned just how smart and funny she is through her Food Network Canada Show called Just One Bite! She has authored two books published in both Canada and in the US: Cook Once a Week, Eat Well Every Day and Ace Your Health, 52 Ways to Stack Your Deck.

For more tips and tricks on how to eat well sign up for Theresa’s newsletter at

Norton 360 All-In-One Security Giveaway

August 28, 2011
Back to School!

THE WHAT: Norton 360 All-In-One Security (Version 5.0)

THE WHY:  Because computer virus’ happen

THE HOW: Kids can download, click or open attachments which contain nasty things like viruses, spyware, Trojan horses, worms, bots, and rootkits – nasty! And let’s be honest people, parents can let those same nasties into the computer…one bad click is all you need.

THE GIVEAWAY:  Enter to win your own copy of Norton 360 All-In-One Security (Version 5.0).

Share in a COMMENT below your opinion about kids and internet security.  (hint: visit the Norton site for product comparison about what features protect your computer and your kids)

one entry per day

LIKE Parent Club on Facebook = an extra entry*

TWEET this giveaway mentioning: @ParentClub = an extra entry*
FOLLOW Parent Club on google friend connect (GFC) = an extra entry* {at bottom of main page}

BLOG about this giveaway with a link back to to this post = an extra entry*

*Comment separately that you did so

THE RULES (because life has rules)

Open to Canadian residents only (sorry rest of the world!)
Winner will be randomly chosen using a random generator
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize or a new winner will be drawn

Disclaimer: Parent Club recieved a copy of Norton 360 (review to come). No financial compensation nor baked goods were received.

KRE-O Giveaway

August 25, 2011
THE WHAT:  HASBRO’s new line of construction toys – KRE-O TRANSFORMERS
THE HOW:  It’s the new cool of construction toys.
THE BONUS: Plan a visit to Fan Expo happening on August 25th – 28th (Metro Toronto Convention Centre) and visit the KRE-O booth! Families will have the chance to get their picture taken with Bumblebee, guess how many KRE-O bricks it takes to build the 8 foot Optimus Prime and put their construction skills to the test.
THE GIVEAWAY: 2 KRE-O Prize packs up for grabs!  Approx total value = $105.00 each
·         PRIZE PACK #1
o   Optimus Prime with Twin Cycles
o   Megatron
·         PRIZE PACK #2
o   Sentinel Prime
o   Bumblebee
o   Prowl


  • Visit and browse the construction sets (there are 12!), game, kreons and videos and COMMENT below which KRE-O product appeals to your child.
  • one entry per day
  • LIKE Parent Club on Facebook = an extra entry*
  • Tweet this giveaway mentioning: @HasbroCanada @ParentClub = an extra entry*
  • Follow Parent Club on google friend connect (GFC) = an extra entry* {at bottom of main page}
  • Blog about this giveaway with a link back to to this post = an extra entry*

    *Comment separately that you did so

    THE RULES (because life has rules)

  • open to Canadian residents only (sorry rest of the world!)
  • No double winners.  1 winner = 1 prize
  • Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize or a new winner will be drawn

    Disclaimer: Parent Club will receive a KRE-O construction set to review (post to come).  No financial compensation or baked goods were received.
  • What makes a good toy? | #playpanel

    August 25, 2011
    When I think about the “good toys” in our house – they aren’t the ones in the toy box.  The “good toys” are the ones out on the floor – played with everyday.  From what I see from the attraction of my 7 month old…a “good toy” is musical, brightly coloured and durable (read — he likes to bam bam bam his toys).

    I had the chance to ask Dr. Kathleen Alfano, Director for the Fisher-Price Child Research Department (cool job points to her) her thoughts on “good toys” specifically…

    Is it wrong to offer higher aged toys for infants/kids – hoping they will be more challenged (and learn more sooner?). Or should parents stick to age-specific toys? – Caroline

    -If a toy is challenging and it brings the child back to it again and again then it is a good toy.

    – If a toy proves to be too challenging, it is up to the parent to be the child’s cheerleader to encourage them to try again. – Dr. Kathleen Alfano

    Well, I happen to be a fantastic cheerleader…I was all “yay!” when he touched… 

    Go Baby Go!™ Poppity-Pop™ Musical Dino
    Topzy Tumblers™ Twirlin’ Tumblin’ Fun Park™
    Lil’ Zoomers™ Spinnin’ Sounds Speedway™

    And touched…

    Laugh & Learn™ Learning Workbench  (yes, I keep it in packaging – baby likes to hang off it) 
    Go Baby Go!™ Bat & Wobble Penguin

    And touched some more…

    Circa 2000 Fisher-Price Little People Farm, Fisher-Price Zoo, Fisher-Price tri-lingual toy, Fisher-Price musical stacker

    Do you see a recurring theme in our “good toys”?!  In our house, for more than 10 years, “good toys” have been open-play toys.  Toys that attract them to touch (ok – hit in my son’s case), discover, manipulate, sort, stack, hide, find, watch, play, laugh and enjoy. 

    I think it’s interesting to share that Dr. Alfano notes the areas “good toys” should hit include:

    4 Areas of Development

    Physical (first year and a half – two years)

    Cognitive (ABC’s, understanding directions (sit/eat/bed)

    Communicative (softer- Parents are key in this area)

    Social/Emotional (softer- Parents are key in this area)

    *When Fisher-Price develops toys, they try to incorporate all 4 of these stages.

    We are offering an assortment of physical, cognitive, communicative toys (not so much social at this point).  We are finding as the days go on…baby boy is learning how to play which is helping him grow. 

    And he is most attracted to the musical toys…those are his “good toys”…and they are all over the living room floor. 

    Where they belong 😉

    Disclosure: I’m part of the Fisher-Price Play Panel and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own

    Keeping the kids busy | #LMDConnector

    August 24, 2011
    Crafts: Kids=busy. You=happy

    In the final stretch of summer vacation and some parents may be tapped out of kid activity ideas (me included some days!). 

    Over HERE they have some easy activities and easy recipes for kids – like that fruit loop liquorish string necklace pictured over there.

    I also like the idea of cereal art.  Have the kids gloop and loop white glue on a piece of coloured construction paper and then stick Cheerios on the glue for a 3D piece of artwork.

    And I happen to know there are some cereal coupons (yes, click that)…around the web that should help keep kid activity costs down.

    And as an aside: now that Thing 3 is able to munch Cheerios (5 teeth = 7 months) our new restaurant activity is allowing the kids to give him one Cheerio at a time at the table.  Keeps kids busy and baby busy too!  Win – Win.

    Disclosure: I am part of the Life Made Delicious Blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

    Parent Club Profiles | Julie Cole

    August 22, 2011

    Name please.

    Julie Cole

    Your Website?

    What’s your specialty? (work-wise – you’re probably pretty special at a lot of things)
    I have three business partners and we are each responsible for different departments within our portfolios. I focus on Sales and I am also the Company Spokesperson.

    What’s your shameless plug? (books, blogs, bling, etc.)

    Mabel’s Labels is the leading provider of labels in North America. We have won many awards, including the coveted Momentum Award, RBC Women Entrepreneur of Canada Awards 2009. We have been featured on The View, Live with Regis and Kelly, The Racheal Ray Show, Breakfast Television, The Marilyn Denis Show, and many others.

    Best thing about your work:
    Being in a position to engage with our community of customers and Mabel fans. That interaction is what makes this fun!

    Parent or not a parent?
    Parent x6

    Share a typical Tuesday (really we want to hear how you “do it all”)

    Are you ready to be exhausted?

    During the school year:

    7:00am – kids get up, 3 biggies off to school bus at 7:45am

    I feed three little ones, quick email check and tweet.

    8:30am – nanny Hazel appears and takes over, I head into office for a Manager’s meeting. If that’s my only meeting for the day, I head home afterwards

    12:00noon – I drive the kids in JK and SK to school for the afternoon. Baby sleeps, I work on my laptop.

    3:10pm – 5 kids come bursting through the door. We go through agendas, homework items, get people fed and changed for the evening activities which include dancing, Scouts, violin, hockey and any number of other things they are into. I also pack up school lunches for the next day immediately after they return home from school.

    8:00pm – throw 6 tired kids into bed, and hop back on the laptop. I usually go to bed around midnight.

    Do you blog?
    But of course!

    I blog at Mabel’s Labels at
    I blog at the Yummy Mummy Club at

    Do you tweet? Who doesn’t?

    Mabel’s Labels can be followed @mabelhood

    Link to a post/portfolio/recipe piece you think shows your most supreme skills:
    This is a tough one! I recently wrote a post that many parents could relate to:

    Wallflower or social butterfly?
    I’m a pretty social gal!

    Name 3 people you would like to meet-in-person from Twitter (add why so we can follow them too)…
    This is tough! I think I’ve met most of the twitter folks I love! I’ll give you a couple of friends who are definitely worth a follow because they are interesting and engaging:


    The Trouble With Change

    August 21, 2011

    Can I tell you a secret?  Shhh…just between us…Parent Club is being re-designed right now as we speak….and it scares the bejesus out of me.

    Never one who wholly embraces change (let’s face it…I run away from change…Olympic style running) this is a big deal in my little world. 

    On the one hand, I realize that everything – even Parent Club – must change and grow (there is a French saying “if you don’t change – you die” morbid but true I suppose).

    Change is scary.  The day I put my then 3 year old on a school bus for her 1st week at Maternelle (kindergarten in the French school system)…well I cried…and lost sleep…and feared the change. 

    The day I went into give birth to Thing #3 I was worried about the change in our family in jumping from 2 kids to 3 (10 years apart!). 

    And with both examples above – the change was beyond fantastic.  And I’m (pretty) sure that changing Parent Club to a bigger platform will be fantastic too.

    But still the bejesus in me is shaken…some things never change. 😉