Williams Fresh Café Giveaway

Holiday shopping can be exhausting and we all know this.  Yet we go out year after year and repeat the same behaviour:

  • We circle the parking lot at the mall, looking for a spot.  Forget looking for a spot upfront, we always expect to be miles from the front entrance
  • We spend hours trying to decide what to buy our co-worker , whose name we drew in the Secret Santa at work and whom you know nothing about
  • We walk around the mall, stand in lines for hours and then scour the parking lot to find our car in that spot you finally found over three hours ago

TAKE A BREAK THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

These all seem to be holiday necessities, but there is a silver lining around this cloud.  This light comes in the form of Williams Fresh Café and their fresh take on fast food. 

My husband and I stopped in at the Richmond Street location (in London) the other day for a quick-lunch break.   I ordered the Chicken Pot Pie and I must say, I highly recommend this menu item.  A light, flaky puff pastry sits upon a creamy chicken stew.  The two go together fabulously and leave you feeling warm inside; perfect for the winter weather.

I also chose the Strawberry Fields with Feta salad as my side item.  I love strawberries in salad so I knew I couldn’t go wrong.  And it didn’t disappoint.  The creamy poppy-seed dressing was the perfect complement to this fresh tasting mixture.

My husband went with a classic item and chose the Belgian Waffle with Maple Syrup.  He thought it was mouth-watering delicious.  You can’t go wrong with a tried and true Canadian favourite.

FREE WI-FI

Williams also has free Wi-Fi at all its locations.  I took my laptop with me and was able to get a little work done.  I actually began writing  this post there.

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION

To celebrate all that’s fresh this winter, City Mom and Williams Fresh Café, would like to offer you a chance to enjoy the unique Williams experience.  Enter to win a $50 gift card that can be used at any Williams location in South Western Ontario. 

Enter up to three times:

First Entry (must complete this before extra entries):   Visit www.williamsfreshcafe.com and view their menu.  Select your favourite item, come back to City Mom and leave a comment listing the item you choose.

You can then choose to head over to the Williams Fresh Cafe Facebook page, ‘Like’ the page, then come back to City Mom and let me know that you did so by leaving another comment.

 Finally, you can visit the City Mom Facebook page, ‘Like’ that page, come back to City Mom and leave another comment letting me know you did that too.

Contest Rules

  1.  Entries are limited to Canadian residents
  2. Additional entries will be removed if requirements are found not to be met
  3. One winner will be selected at random using random.org
  4. The winner will be notified at the email address used upon entry
  5. The contest will run from December 8, 2010 to December 14, 2010
  6. The contest will close at 6:00pm on December 14th, at which time a winner will be selected and notified

Good luck!

Faking Your Holiday Baking

Christmas shopping, gift wrapping and tree decorating; these are all a must for the holiday season, but what about Christmas baking?  Who has the time on top of all this to make dozens of happy-looking gingerbread men and jolly old shortbread snowmen? 

Personally, as much as I love to bake, it moves to the bottom of my list during the holidays.  So today I am sharing my cheat notes with you because I assume you’re in the same boat. If you’re like me, you put a small amount of pressure on yourself to produce something that can be classified as Christmas baking.

Photo from presidentschoice.ca

Enter President’s Choice Shortbread Cookie Mix.  I picked up a box at my local grocery store and whipped up a batch of cookies in no time.  All you need to have on hand is a cup and a quarter of unsalted butter.  Mix the two together and voila…a batch of shortbread cookies.

I made mine following the package directions but you could easily roll out the dough and cut with Christmas-shaped cookies cutters.  Either way, the result is a light, flaky shortbread cookie.  They aren’t the most buttery tasting but definitely on the nice, light side.

I picked up a box on sale for $3 but they usually retail for $3.99.  Also look for the Gingerbread Cookie Mix.

All Aboard!

Choo-choo…chugga-chugga-chugga…choo-choo!

What’s that you ask? Well that is the sound of the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train and it’s coming to London!

The Holiday Train will be making its London stop at the Richmond St. railway crossing between Oxford St. and Central Ave at 8:30 p.m. tonight – December 1st.

This is the 12th year that the Holiday Train will be making its trek across Canada and the United States, all in the name of fighting hunger.

Since 1999, the train has traveled 85,764 miles, has raised 4.8 million dollars and generated almost 2.3 million pounds of food donations for local food shelves. If you do attend, be sure to bring along some non-perishable food items and/or a cash donation to contribute to this worthy cause . Every dollar donated gives Food Banks 4 dollars in purchasing power.

Look for this year’s train to arrive with 14 decorated rail cars and a modified box car that has been turned into a traveling stage for performers like Juno-award winner Melanie Doane.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to get into the holiday spirit and to contribute to a good cause. And if you’re not from London be sure to check out the Holiday Train schedule to find out if it will be making a stop in your city!

Happy Holidays! 🙂

Are Those Real?

Have you ever found yourself in one of those uncomfortable situations where you were presented with a perfectly shaped, full-bodied but natural-looking display of beauty and you wanted to ask if what you were seeing was real or fake?

Get your mind out of the gutter…I’m talking about Christmas trees!

Now that we live in our downtown condo, we are no longer able to have a real Christmas tree. It’s too bad because we are huge fans of the real deal. But a fire code is a fire code and I will be the first to admit that those darn needles are so frustrating to clean up. So to comply with the rules my husband and I headed to Canadian Tire in search of the perfect artificial tree.

Oh Christmas Tree

Are you aware that there’s no such thing as a simple fake Christmas tree? We sure weren’t. We spent a good hour searching through the different varieties of trees that exist. There are self-shaping trees, pre-lit trees, fibre optic trees and don’t even get me started on tip count. There are trees with imitation snow, colour-changing lights and even some with remote controls. How can one take a decision like this lightly?

Overwhelmed yet? We sure were. We were completely unprepared. We should have studied before a purchase like this and had a clear plan in place before entering the store.

And the Winner Is

So finally, after comparing all of the possible options we made our decision. We then changed our minds and chose a different tree, then we went back to our original decision. In the end, we chose a 6.5’, Pre-Lit, Self Shaping Pine tree. And oh how beautiful it is…

 How about you…do you have fake or real?

Girls Night In

Have you ever thought about the amount of money you spend on an average Saturday night out?  If you factor in the new outfit, pre-drinks, beverages at the bar, cover, taxis to and from and of course the after-bar-grub, you’re easily looking at over one hundred dollars. Now multiply that by all your best girlfriends and see what you’ve got.

Have you ever thought about what else you could do with that money?

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Why not host a Girls Night In to support the Canadian Cancer Society. The idea is that you invite all your favourite women to spend a Saturday night in. The details of the evening can be customized to suit you and your friends but the whole idea is to donate the money you would have spent on a night out.  Your donation will help to fund women’s Cancers* research. You can find more information here or you can attend the Girls Night In free open house at Posh Pedicure Lounge.

Girls Night In Open House

Enjoy an evening with the girls while learning how to host your very own Girls Night In event. Highlights of the evening include $10 hand massages, $15 mini-manicures, giveaways like belly dancing and Booty Camp classes and of course the company of other fantastic women.

Event Details

Date: Thursday, November 25, 2010
Time: 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Location: Posh Pedicure Lounge 57 York Street, London, Ontario

To learn more or to donate visit Girls Night In Open House.

Hope to see you there!

*breast, cervical, ovarian and uterine cancers.

Being a Champion for Your Child

Photo from nbc.com

Have you ever done something completely out of your comfort zone; something so unlike your usual behaviour, without a second thought or hesitation, all in the name of your child?

If you can answer yes to this question then you’re like me, thousands of other parents and the character Kristina from the hit TV show Parenthood.

I’ve been a fan of this show since it first aired. I quickly became caught up in the lives of the characters as they made their way through child rearing, relationships and career challenges. When Kristina spoke the line “…haven’t you ever wanted to be a champion for your kid?”, I began writing.

Kristina was advocating for her son Max who has Asperger’s Syndrome. A large part of the show focuses on Kristina’s family and their challenges. One doesn’t need to have a child with autism to identify with them. Aspects of their story are easily relatable and you’re able to put yourself in their position. You will find yourself cheering them on and asking the question ‘what would I have done?’

Kristina’s words struck a chord with me because the other day I did something that surprised me a little. I picked up little S from school and began a quick chat with one of her teachers to get an update on her day. S has been going through a ’testing’ phase both at school and at home so we’re used to getting some not-so-great feedback at the end of the day. It’s usually no big deal. My husband and I will chat about it at home and decide on our action plan if any. On this day, though, the feedback was delivered in a way that seemed unprofessional and unfair to little S. This caused me to feel that on this particular day, from this particular teacher, S wasn’t getting the best treatment possible.

This made me mad furious! I know things can’t be perfect at any school or daycare and my child is not perfect either, but I still expect the best care possible for my little girl. For that reason I let her have it voiced my concern. I wasn’t rude or unprofessional. I just expressed how I felt. This is something that I find difficult. I hate conflict and will often try to avoid it.

I started with a comparison of S’s current teacher with her teacher from last year who “was so great at dealing with S.” I then went on to state that it was rather obvious that she (her current teacher) was getting frustrated with little S and that she was the professional who should know what to do. I also made some reference to government regulations (based on a statement the teacher had made about being alone).

When I got home, I reflected on the event and wondered from where the courage came and from where the words had emerged. Now I know. I was being a champion for my child, and when you’re playing the role of champion, not much can stop you.

I’d love to fill you on the rest of this story, but the end has not yet happened. My husband and I will have a meeting with her teachers later this week where we will discuss the issues that upset us. At this point it seems that her teacher was getting frustrated at being a teacher, which while understandable; the fact remains that neither student nor parent should ever pick up on that.

There are some battles we will have to let our children fight for themselves and there are some where we, as parents, will have to gear up, armour and all and be the champions.