I have Moved!

I have moved my blog, and I would like to invite all my lovely readers to continue to visit me at the new site, which is now called The Write Mama www.thewritemama.com. I am still writing the same kind of stories, reviews, and topics as usual.  The things that have changed are:

  • new web address: http://www.thewritemama.com; You can view all my blog posts and all new content there now; please sign up to receive my posts special delivery to your email.
  • new name: I am changing my blog name from Half Baked Banana Bread to The Write Mama. I have used The Write Mama name online a lot for the past couple years (for Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and email too. The last blogger event I went to, they printed The Write Mama on my name tag so that sealed the change;
  • new picture (pending) – we recently took part in a photo shoot with Images by Bethany and will be receiving some new photos at the end of November so watch for a new main photo for the page; and
  • minor formatting changes.

Can’t wait to see you there! If you have any questions, please contact me at thewritemama(at)gmail.com.

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Let the Discussion Begin: #ERASEBullying

As I prepare to attend the ERASE Bullying Summit on Tuesday as a blogger correspondent, I look forward to discussion, learning, insight and concrete actions on the issue of bullying in our schools. I am attending with my laptop and I plan to tweet and blog my thoughts about the day. Please check in here during the day to see my live updates.

It means a lot for me to be present for this discussion for a few reasons:

1) I still remember being bullied in high school and how traumatic that is for a child (read  my story).
2) I am upset that bullying is still prevalent today even though there seems to be much more awareness about it than there was 30 years ago;
3) I was incredulous to learn that my 7 year old niece has been dealing with a bully at her school since last year, and that my sister was the only one to tell the parent of her daughter’s bully what was going on. The teacher did not provide the parents of this child with a picture of the problematic behavior nor give them any support to help the child understand what she was doing is wrong and change the way she was acting at school. My niece is the one who missed school, my sister missed days of work, and the emphasis is on my niece – my 7 year old niece –  to report the bullying. I have so many questions about what goes on in our schools when bullying happens and why more is not being done;
4) My son is starting kindergarten next year and I am am very protective of him. If he is bullied, I will – as my good friend Agi would say – lose my mind. More than anything, I want my son to learn to treat everyone with respect which is what we teach him at home, and to speak up when he sees demeaning or harassing behavior. But honestly, it seems like a lot for a 5 year old child to deal with. It seems like a lot for a parent to deal with. As I prepare to tour local schools to decide where he will attend kindergarten, the top question on my list is “how does your school prevent bullying.”
5) I am very concerned about cyber bullying and child exploitation. The example that is on all of our minds is Amanda Todd and the tragedy of her suicide. What change is required to happen in our society so that this kind of pain never happens to another child?

Please take part in the Twitter Town Hall by tweeting your questions and/or comments between 9 am and 3:30 pm with the hashtag #ERASEbullying. If you aren’t on Twitter yet, it is free and easy to open an account.

Together, we must ensure a safe and happy environment in our schools because our children are our hope for the future. Let the discussion begin.

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The Face of Freedom and Leaves in the Park

When I look at this picture of my son and a young friend playing at Blue Mountain Park, I know that our children are the face of the freedom that we enjoy as Canadians. We are fortunate to live in Canada where we enjoy a life of abundance and opportunity, in no small part because of the sacrifices of Canadian soldiers both past and present.

Because of the courage of these men and women, we enjoy many rights and freedoms which are also guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. Freedom of thought, belief, opinion, and expression. The right to life, liberty and security. The right to vote. The right for every child to go to school, in French or in English.

So many things that we take for granted and don’t often take the time to be grateful for.

I would like to say thank you, and to remember a few family members today who served:

Laurence Alvin Powell (1924 – 1944) Royal Canadian Airforce
Leo Maurice McGrath (1921 – 1999) Royal Canadian Navy
Daniel Johnson (living),  Canadian Forces Army Reserves (Afghanistan)

Happy Remembrance Day!


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Joey Coquitlam Creates a Dessert for Moi

My lovely group of Top 30 VancouverMom.ca blogger friends headed out to Joey Coquitlam for a fun reunion dinner this week. We were dazzled by the Joey staff who had a few surprises up their sleeves to make our dinner memorable.

Ahi tuna tacos.

This is the amazing dessert that the Joey Coquitlam staff created in honour of my blog! It is banana bread with whiskey sauce and ice cream. So yummy!

When they brought everyone a specially created banana bread dessert in honour of my blog, I was speechless. Has blogging ever tasted so good?

Jen Kossowan (Mama Papa Bubba), Lori McGrath (Half Baked Banana Bread), Erin McGann (Erin at Large), Taslim Jaffer (Let Me Out! Release Your Creative Self), Lisa Corriveau (The Sprog), Bianca Bujan (Bits of Bee), Jessica Blumel (North Shore Mama), Amy Lee (The Connection We Share), Nat Nanton (Nat Nanton)

Thank you Joey Coquitlam!

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Upcoming Changes to My Blog, ERASE Bullying Summit and Twitter Town Hall

I am excited to report that I will be attending Tuesday’s ERASE (Expect Respect and a Safe Education) Bullying Summit as a live blogger! How to best deal with bullying – and reduce its impact – on children and young people will be the focus of the summit conference to be held November 13 at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue.  Participants will include a broad range of people, from students, parents and educators, to police, community representatives and experts on bullying and student safety.

You can take part by tweeting your questions and/or comments (get tweeting today with the hashtag #ERASEbullying – they need something to talk about on Tuesday!) about dealing with bullying in the Twitter Town Hall. If you aren’t on twitter yet, it is free and easy to open an account. Please check in with my blog during the day on Tuesday to see my live updates on the bullying summit!

In other news, I have a few changes I would like to let you know about my blog. Most of the changes are actually behind the scenes and you won’t notice them, but you will notice:

  • new web address www.thewritemama.com; please visit the new site which is live but still evolving. You can view all my blog posts and all new content there now and sign up to receive my posts on email. I am currently updating both sites until the switch over is final, likely sometime in the next couple of weeks.
  • new name: I am changing my blog name from Half Baked Banana Bread to The Write Mama. I have used The Write Mama name online a lot for the past couple years (for TwitterFacebookPinterestInstagram, and email too. The last blogger event I went to, they printed The Write Mama on my name tag so that sealed the change;
  • new picture (pending) – we recently took part in a photo shoot with Images by Bethany and will be receiving some new photos at the end of November so watch for a new main photo for the page; and
  • minor formatting changes.
Posted in Blogging and Social Media, Local issues | Tagged | Leave a comment

How to Save on Buying Blinds and Shades for your Home

Purchasing good quality blinds for our home has been one of our biggest expenses. Today I would like to share a great money-saving tip.

When we first bought our house and realized we needed new blinds, we went to places like Sears, Home Depot and Rona to comparison shop. We ended up purchasing new Levolor cellular shades for the bay window in our living room, the dining room windows and one of our three bedrooms; it cost us thousands of dollars even though we ordered through Rona and got a buy two get one free deal.

The blinds we ordered are like these ones. Levolor Accordia Cellular Shades in Toffee colour.

Fast forward to 2012 after four of years living on one income, and huge motivation to get real value for our money. I really wanted to get the matching cellular shades for my son’s room and our room – the old ones let in too much light and we found it hard to sleep. I saw a 20% off deal on Levolor in the Lowe’s flyer and decided to grit my teeth and buy the blind for my son’s room. Taxes in, it cost $300 for the one blind.

At this price, there was no way we could afford new window coverings in our room which has three full length windows. But the bright early morning sun in the summer was killing us – we are always tired and need every bit of extra sleep we can get.

One day a light bulb went on in my head, and I checked out the Levolor US website to compare prices – and they were better than in Canada. Then I noticed the website listed a bunch of approved dealers in the US including one called Blindsaver.com.

Imagine my combined fury and glee when I discovered there was an online sale and I could order three identical blinds from Blindsaver.com for the price of the one blind I had bought in Canada. That’s right. Levolor blinds were on sale on this website and it cost me $300 including taxes and shipping for three blinds.

I happened to be looking for Levolor because I wanted to match the set that I already have in my home but they also carry other brands of blinds and shades including Bali, Collegiate, Comfortex, Good Housekeeping, Graber, M&B, MLB Shades and a Blindsaver brand.

I highly recommend giving this website a try if you need window coverings for your home. You can order sample swatches to try out colours at home or go to your local stores like Home Depot or Lowes to see samples and swatches in person and then just order online. Do be careful with your measurements, and call Blindsaver for information if you aren’t sure.

Shipping is free in the United States (on most orders). I live in Vancouver and was able to get the free shipping by using a parcel receiving service in Blaine, Washington called Pacific Mail and Parcel. It costs $14 per year and then there is a small per package fee that you pay when you go to pick up your packages. If you live elsewhere in Canada you may need to pay extra for shipping.

We weren’t asked to pay any duty when we crossed the border for pickup. It’s not usually a problem, but even if I had been asked to pay, I would still have come out ahead.

Do I feel bad that I am not spending my money in Canada? Not really – in fact, shame on the manufacturers for charging so much more just because we live north of the border.

There is nothing like getting good value for your money, even it it takes a little effort. With Black Friday coming up, I am definitely going to be checking out the online sales for some more fun cross border shopping.

I have no association with this company – I am just so happy to have been order a great quality product at an excellent price that I wanted to share my money saving experience.

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The Lush FUN Factory and Other Halloween Adventures

October was a busy month for the dude and I. Our Halloween adventures started with a special visit to the Lush store on Robson on October 17 for the launch of their new “FUN” product for kids.

I told my son he was going to work with me and he was very excited. I thought it was a great chance for him to see me attending an event for my blog and writing about it. Turns out this one was all about the kids. If you watch this video of the event closely, you can see the dude in his red and black checked jacket near the end.

Lush Fun Factory

What is FUN by Lush? It is a preservative free soap, bubble bath, shampoo and toy all in one. Squeeze it, shape it, bathe with it, wash your hair with it … your little ones will have a blast. Choose from 5 colours, each with its own unique scent. It’s affordable at $6.95 per package and is available as of November 1 in a Lush store near you.

I knew it was time to leave the FUN factory behind when the dude picked up a Lush gorilla perfume stick and painted my wrist with it. The vanilla flavour smelled good and so did the other ten sticks that we “sampled” one after the other. Fellow blogger Jen Kossowan of Mama Papa Bubba could hardly stop laughing! After we left, my son wondered out loud “was that work?” Obviously we are going to have to revisit that concept some day in the future. In the meantime, here’s one last look at our Halloween adventures this year:

4 Cats Halloween Party

Learning to hold the paint brush correctly to paint a pumpkin.

Art Knapps Funland

Pumpkin Carving

Trick or Treating

My little superhero.

Posted in Events, Review | 2 Comments