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Friday, July 31, 2015

Summer Essentials Giveaway from Church & Dwight

I love summer! Warm sand, hot sun, fresh air, water, flowers, birds, and just generally being more active and happier to be outdoors. I like to be warm. And you know there are certain important hygiene routines that tend to get ignored over the winter, but become important once again as pants become shorts, sleeves disappear, and swimsuits hit the beach. You know what I'm talking about.

I've done shaving, waxing, creams, but not sugaring yet. I've had threading for my eyebrows, but can't imagine how much that would hurt and how long it would take on my legs. Anyhoo - generally in the summer I depend on Nair to keep my legs, bikini area, and underarms prepped for public appearances. I love the long-lasting effect of waxing, but also use Nair depilatory creams when I'm in a rush. I consider Nair products are critical part of my summer beauty arsenal.

Church & Dwight have a few summer beauty essentials they'd like to offer up to one of my readers, including Nair Cire Divine Moroccan Argan Oil Legs & Body. There's also Batiste™ Dry Shampoo to keep you looking good during those busy summer days when you don't have time to do your hair, and a manual Spinbrush Truly Radiant Toothbrush for weekend getaways or longer trips when you don't want to worry about re-charging. The manual brush is also great to keep in your desk drawer for a quick freshen-up before an impromptu after work patio party.

And there's another item in the prize pack - Arm & Hammer Baking Soda. How is that a summer essential, you might ask? Well, I know for me I find it excellent for keeping summer footwear and feet smelling fresh. And it's a great way to relieve the itch of insect bites or allergic rashes you pick up during your fun in the great outdoors - just add some to a warm bath and soak the itch and irritation away. Baking soda has so many uses! What are some of your favourites?

A Giveaway

One lucky Raising My Boys reader will receive a package valued at approximately $50 and including the following:

Entries are via the widget below and will be accepted until 11:59pm EDT, August 16. Giveaway is open to Canadian residents only. Best of luck!

Disclosure: I am a member of the Church & Dwight Ambassador Program, and as such receive special perks, products, and other compensation for my participation. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Scarborough Ribfest Comes to Thomson Memorial Park, July 31-August 3

Nothing says summer quite like Ribfest. Sitting in a park, covered in sticky BBQ goodness, enjoying music and sunshine and so very much great food. Ribfests are great opportunities to try out new flavours and munch down on some of the best BBQ you'll ever taste. This weekend it's Scarborough's turn to host ribbers from across Canada and the US, and you can check them out in Thomson Memorial Park, from 11am-11pm Friday through Sunday, and from 11am-8pm on holiday Monday.

The ribbers will be competing in various categories for the best ribs, pulled pork and chicken honours. Judges will be taste testing throughout the weekend, with the big winners announced on Monday. Each of the ribbers will be proudly displaying their titles earned at past events, and it's cool to see the decked-out stalls. But in truth all will have won awards, and all will be excellent - try a bunch and decide your favourite for yourself! For me? I like to go with a group of friends and everyone buys a rack from a different ribber. Then everyone gets to share and try out the different recipes. Over the years I've found I really like Bad Wolf. And Gator BBQ is great too.
Scarborough Ribfest 2010
In addition to an abundance of food, Scarborough Ribfest will have midway games and rides, merchandise vendors, and tons of musical entertainment. Of course there's also a beer tent so you can wash down your sweet or spicy ribs with a cold brew.

There are adult and kid karaoke competitions each day, a hypnosis show on Sunday, and many live musical acts, including a CCR tribute band Saturday night and Rolling Stones tribute band Sunday night. You can check out the entertainment schedule at:

We haven't attended this one in a couple of years, as it has conflicted with our Newfoundland vacation time, but this year we are leaving a little later in August, so we're stoked to get our ribs on this Saturday. Well, Boo is stoked to check out the midway. His dad and I are looking forward to the food.
Oh so long ago! Scarborough Ribfest 2010
Scarborough Ribfest 2015 runs from Friday, July 31, through Monday, August 3, at Thomson Memorial Park. The park is located at the corner of Lawrence Ave. East and Brimley Rd. Visit for all the details.

First Time at Sleepaway Camp - Tips for Mom

As milestones go, this is a pretty big one, in terms of the change and stress it brings. A sleepover night with the grandparents, or even a close friend, is one thing, but sending your child away to sleep in a cabin with strangers for an entire week? That's a whole different ball game, and when you put it in those words you almost have to ask yourself, "What the heck was I thinking?!"

But those strangers are trained, professional counselors with criminal records checks and a love of sharing the camping experience with your kid. And those cabins are also filled with other kids the same age, many of whom are also away from home for the first time, and some of whom may become your kid's lifelong friends. Camp is an amazing experience that provides for so many kinds of personal growth and skills development. Making new friends, conflict management, independence, communication skills, teamwork - your child will thrive in these areas while also having an amazing amount of fun and new adventures.
Boo it really looking forward to learning archery
But aside from reminding yourself of all that, and trying to focus on how much fun you had when you went to camp, what other steps can you take as a parent to prepare yourself? Aside from stockpiling wine?

Darned if I know. I'm a nervous wreck. Boo is heading to his first ever sleepaway camp this weekend and all I see in front of me is a week filled with weird silence and a lot of checking on his empty room, wishing I could see his sweet little head on his pillow.

How am I supposed to sleep when he might be getting eaten by a bear??!

Those are some really white teeth.
Ok, that's a bit extreme. I don't actually think there's any chance of him becoming some wild animal's dinner. I do have anxiety any time he is around water though, probably because of my own near-drowning experience, so knowing he'll be around water without my watchful eye is scary. Of course, the folks supervising will have actual lifeguard credentials, whereas I doubt I could ever save him unless he was somewhere I could still touch bottom. So there's that.

I do worry about him not eating. Because, well, he doesn't eat. And he's extremely picky, with a limited range of foods he considers edible. But then I remember that he always ate at daycare. So maybe a little positive peer pressure in the dining hall will help. Our older son swears the counselors will force him to eat, but really, has he met his brother? Even if Boo only eats bread and butter at meals for the week, I just hate the thought of him feeling hungry. So I'm packing a few healthy and not-so-healthy snack options for a late-night nibble if he needs.

And I worry about him feeling lonely and missing us. Which really wouldn't be the end of the world, I know. But what if it is? What if he's completely despondent and crying for his Mama and no one can help him calm down? Right? Breaks my heart to think about it. So I shouldn't. My friend's son (same age) just came back from his first camp experience. He reports that he cried for the first three nights, but then it was ok. He missed his parents, but wasn't devastated. Next year he wants to go to camp for 2 weeks, so there you go.

Our camp allows us to send him emails and pictures, which they will deliver daily. I've already registered and purchased a package of credits so we can send him a little hello, a picture of his hamster, a silly joke to share with his new friends. He can't contact us, but he'll know we're still here and thinking about him. I think that will help.

Part of that service also allows us to check out camp photos that are uploaded daily. You had better believe I will be logging in regularly to look for the photographic evidence that my child is still alive and not crying in a corner somewhere.

So maybe I do have some ideas on how to prepare myself after all.  And here's another - if your camp has an open house day, be sure to attend if you at all can. Or, opt to drive your child to camp yourself rather than sending him on the bus. I know those ideas aren't necessarily going to work for everyone, but seeing in person where he would be spending his week helped me immeasurably. We went to the open house and I was able to see how shallow the swimming area is and how well marked out the different sections are for different skill levels. I saw the cabins and the dining hall, and the vast array of life jackets. And I met a few counselors who will be his caregivers and instructors during his week. They are young, but solid and eager and kind.

Boo is heading to his first ever sleepaway camp this weekend, and I am a nervous wreck.

He, on the other hand, is stoked and can't stop talking about it!

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