Oct 042010


My hubby celebrated his birthday today. Yesterday, he told me that he wanted to go to Denny’s for a free breakfast. Sad but true. Regardless, that got me thinking. Where else could we get our hands on free food? It became a bit of an obsession for me, as I scoured the Internet into the night, looking for leads.

The result: Darryl ate a 13 oz T-bone steak, 2 eggs, hash browns and 2 pieces of toast for breakfast at Denny’s. His meal was free (regular price around $19). That was followed by a free BBQ Burger (regular price $9) at Vera’s burger shack for lunch. Later that afternoon, he downed a free scoop of key lime ice cream with blueberries from the Cold Stone Creamery (regular price around $4).

Unfortunately (or you could say fortunately), we had a birthday dinner to attend that night or we would have continued on our free food quest. We were on a roll (no pun intended).  Thankfully, we still have a week to use the Baskin Robbins coupon. Whew!

Next year, we’ll be more organized, so watch out. We’ll start earlier, travel farther and eat more. Why not, your birthday only comes around once a year. As a friend of mine likes to remind me, “Free is the best price”.

Let me know if you come across any more deals in Metro Vancouver area, I’d love to add them to the list.

Free Food (on Your Birthday) Guide

Note: Some of these deals require you bring another person to dine. Others want you to sign up well before your birthday; so sign up earlier so you don’t get left out in the cold.  Also, be sure to bring picture ID with you, just in case.

  • Dairy Queen – Free Blizzard if you upload your photo onto their facebook page. BOGO (buy one, get one) coupon upon joining the Blizzard Club, plus an email coupon for a blizzard on your birthday
  • Baskin Robbins – Free 2.5 oz scoop or 3 oz soft serve cone
  • Denny’s Restuarant – Free Grand Slam breakfast if you are alone OR you can choose anything off the menu if you dine with someone that orders an entree
  • Pajos Fish and Chips – Free small fish and chips and drink OR a burger, fries and drink
  • Vera’s Burger Shack – $10 gift certificate which you can use towards anything on the menu
  • Red Robin Restaurant – Free burger
  • Boston Pizza – My “spidey sense” tells me they have something (appy or dessert thing) but I can’t find it on their website. Can anybody confirm this one?
  • Milestones Grill and Bar – Free dessert (just ask, at least we did) or go online to get a birthday coupon where you eat free as long as you bring 3 friends with you who buy entrees ( I use the word “free” lightly).
  • Boathouse Restaurant – $25 coupon (I have a feeling that they ask you to bring paying customers with you…I’ll look into it)
  • Cold Stone Creamery – Free scoop of ice cream with one mix-in
Sep 222010


I’d like to take a moment to rant about these cookies, if I may.

Let’s take a look at the box…now the cookies…now the box again. What’s wrong with this picture? Do the cookies look even remotely like monkeys to you? These misshapen, oblong lumps are not even close (and half of them were stuck together?!?). Another shining example of creative marketing at it’s finest.

I bought the cookies for a monkey party I was throwing for my 2 year old. When I opened the box (mid-party) and saw these things, I was so irritated by how awful they looked that I threw them back in the cupboard.

Three weeks later (yes, it took me that long to get over it), I tried the cookies and actually “downed” half the box. I hate to admit it but they tasted pretty good. Unfortunately, the feeling of being duped has lingered, so my house will now be known as a “monkey-cookie free zone”!

Jun 132010

Commercials, news stories, walks, runs, telethons…nothing really does BC Children’s Hospital justice. Until you’re there, in the trenches, with a child that’s suffering, you don’t really understand what an amazing place it is…amazing because of the people.

Last weekend, we spent 2 days there when my 22 month old son was diagnosed with pneumonia. We were sleep deprived wrecks, when we arrived at the ward. Our son was frightened and exhausted after getting blood work done; suffering through numerous attempts to start and IV; and getting X-rays taken (all very traumatic for the little guy and his parents).

In Emergency, there is always a wait, but here we had a TV and cartoons to distract us. Nurses and Doctors were caring and actually smiled. They took the time to talk with us and explain things. Toys were given for each procedure; a large plastic magnifying glass for the x-rays and a mini teddy bear for the IV.

We entered the ER at 4:00am and were escorted to our room at 8:00am. Two nurses, Tara and Rachael, guided us through the maze of hallways to the ward. They made us feel welcome and at home. Unlike other hospital experiences, I didn’t feel like I was intruding or being  a bother. These women didn’t act like they were discontent, exhausted and underpaid. Instead, they were funny, upbeat, energetic and positive. They showed me my bed (beside Caden’s crib) and where to get bedding, extra PJs and blankets. They gave me a mini tour of the floor which included a peek at the Nourishment Station (translation mini kitchen). Here parents can prepare snacks for their kids. There is bread, jam, butter, peanut butter, a toaster, baby food, canned soups, apple and orange juice, milk, ice cream and popsicles.

Instead of feeling scared and apprehensive, I felt comfortable and confident. The nurses were understanding, great communicators, who anticipated my needs and Caden’s almost intuitively. They even hid in the bathroom while waiting for some equipment to arrive so they didn’t upset Caden (the sight of a mask and stethoscope was causing anxiety and upset).

Upon my arrival home I updated my facebook with these words:

“Andrea thinks Children’s Hospital is amazing and the nurses there are phenomenal and so human…why can’t it be that way everywhere…Caden has a touch of pneumonia…Mommy is using cookies and coffee as a crutch”

I understand upon reflection that it is the people that make the difference. The people that gravitate to this job are a unique breed. Any individual that can work day in and day out with sick children is extraordinary. Therefore, it follows that the care you would receive from that type of person would be could be nothing but excellent….and it was.

The weekend we stayed at BC Children’s Hospital they were holding Child Run, a fundraiser for pediatric cancer research and programs. It looks like a great event and a wonderful cause. Let’s just put it this way…they can count on 3 more people participating next year.