Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Coconut Date Brownie Bites (raw, vegan, gluten-free)

Coconut Date Brownie Bites - raw, vegan, gluten-free - These Coconut Date Brownie Bites have lots to boast about - they offer great protein from pecans, as well as an abundance of nutrients in the form of delicious, plump and moist Medjool dates.

We went for a mid-winter hike with our friend/cousin Rose the other day. Afterwards Rose put out a plate of delicious and healthy brownie bites. These tasty goodies just happen to be raw, vegan and gluten-free. First and foremost though, they are delicious. I ate a few that day and I was eager to make them again myself.

I asked Rose to share the recipe asap. I made one small change, adding vanilla extract for a bit of vanilla-tasting goodness. These Coconut Date Brownie Bites have lots to boast about - they offer great protein from pecans, as well as an abundance of nutrients in the form of delicious, plump and moist Medjool dates.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Cirque du Soleil's TORUK - The First Flight (Q&A and Ticket Giveaway - CLOSED)


Inevitably as one year ends and the next begins, we look back on the year that has passed and reflect on what we would like to do differently in the upcoming year. I did more reading towards the end of 2015 and I found that brought me a lot of satisfaction. For 2016, I want to read even more and also focus on increasing my exposure to the arts in general - more plays, museum visits and performances.

Fortunately my family and I already have plans to see an incredible show in 2016. I'm beyond excited about this one! From January 7th to 10th, TORUK - The First Flight, a live experience by Cirque du Soleil, runs at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Inspired by James Cameron's AVATAR, this breathtaking show envisions a world set thousands of years before the events depicted in the film.

Laura Silverman, spokesperson for Cirque du Soleil, was kind enough to answer some questions about the production for Woman in Real Life readers.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Book Lover's Christmas Gift Guide: Part II (with a Starbucks e-gift card giveaway!)


As I said in part one of A Book Lover's Christmas Gift Guide, books make the best of gifts. And there's a book that's right for absolutely everyone you know! You simply have to give some thought to their interests, passions and preferences. And don't forget to consider an e-book for those who prefer them. I know my mom has trouble holding books now with the arthritis in her hands. She prefers e-books.

Seeing as I have an 11-year-old girl and a 13-year-old boy, this second part to my book lover's guide focuses on books for teens and preteens. There are few things that make me happier than seeing a child put aside technology to indulge in a great book! It was my favourite pastime as a child.

Vintage Christmas Albums & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #64


I don't know about you, but I still have a bit of everything to do in preparation for Christmas - a bit of shopping, a bit of cleaning, a bit (okay more than a bit) of baking. I don't think I'll ever be organized enough to have all my tasks done long before Christmas.

You know what helps? Christmas music. Especially old Christmas music. While I was putting together my Book Lover's Christmas Gift Guide, I pushed myself onward by listening to vintage albums - in particular Elvis' Christmas Album and Bing Crosby's Merry Christmas. The uneasy feelings that come from being way behind on your to-do list are reduced by listening to these classic Christmas songs.

Do you have classic Christmas albums? I'm afraid to ask, but are you all ready for Christmas?


Vintage Bliss Tuesdays - Join The Party!



Vintage Bliss Tuesdays at Woman in Real Life



Please grab the code for the Vintage Bliss button and encourage others to join our party! Or you can use a text link instead. Please follow Woman in Real Life on Bloglovin' or Google Friend Connect to be reminded when it's party time. And invite your friends. The more the merrier. Cheers!


Monday, December 21, 2015

A Book Lover's Christmas Gift Guide


I always love to get a book as a gift. There are so many wonderful things about books as gifts. You can find a book to please pretty much everyone on your list. The right choice of book can speak to how you feel about someone. It can bring your gift recipient pleasure, new knowledge and possibly some laughs. And books are affordable - you can get a great book for under 20 bucks.

In other words, I heart books. Go out and get one for someone you love. There's still time! Here are my suggestions for books to gift to your friends, family and colleagues this holiday season.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Vegan Peanut Butter Squares With Caramel Icing

These Vegan Peanut Butter Squares With Caramel Icing are most definitely special occasion squares - perfect for Christmas! They are chewy and delicious, thanks to the winning combo of cereals and peanut butter. #vegan #glutenfree #xmas #recipes #squares

These Vegan Peanut Butter Squares With Caramel Icing are most definitely special occasion squares - perfect for Christmas! They are chewy and delicious, thanks to the winning combo of cereals and peanut butter. They are definitely on the sweet side - ideal for the person with a solid sweet tooth (and good dental habits!). If you don't like your squares so sweet, omit the caramel icing and drizzle a bit of melted chocolate over the top - just enough to pretty up your cereal squares.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Gifts for Her: Beside-U Pretty & Practical Handbags (Giveaway)


A handbag is always a great option if you have a mom, sister, bff or really any woman at all on your Christmas list. This is not dependent on how many handbags she already owns either - because really if she has lots that means she wants even more. It's an addiction. But a safe one.

I recently received two bags from Beside-U. These lightweight, nylon bags are practical and pretty. They are durable for everyday use and ideal for travel. Beside-U bags are made to accommodate all the stuff we travel with daily - including technology. There are plenty of zippers and pockets - the larger bags even have slots for tablets! Here's something else that I think you're going to find really cool - many Beside-U bags have a full zippered pocket inside that is RFID blocking. Don't have a clue what this means? I didn't either, but it turns out it could be important to know!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Vegan Caramel Corn in Festive DIY Paper Cones

Vegan Caramel Corn Served in Festive DIY paper cones. This recipe creates delicious, "buttery" sweet vegan caramel corn. Also included are instructions for making your own festive paper cones to serve your fresh popcorn in. Works well for #Christmas, New Year's Eve or any other special occasion. Even just a night by the fireplace watching movies. #diy #crafts #vegan #popcorn #snacks

I'm not hiding my sweet tooth over here. If I'm given a choice between regular old popcorn and caramel popcorn, I'm going for the latter - 100 percent of the time. So I recently decided to make my own vegan caramel corn. And, it being the holiday season and all, I thought it appropriate to dress up that vegan caramel corn with festive paper cones.

While this caramel corn and festive paper cone combo works great for Christmas, it could work all year round. Just use different paper to suit your special occasion - it could be a birthday, Valentine's Day or simply an evening spent at home cuddling up by the fireplace to watch a movie. These would be fun to serve to guests on New Year's Eve as well.

What I Ate Wednesday, vegan grocery favourites edition


And now back to our regularly scheduled programming. I have been so busy making Christmas garlands (and a couple of new recipes for vegan sweets - to be posted shortly) that I haven't kept up my What I Ate Wednesday duties. But today's the day! I'm going to play catch-up by showing you a few pics from the last couple of weeks.

In a vegetarian/vegan household, we have come to rely on certain trusty grocery products that we know and love. In busy times (and when is it not busy?) it's great to have healthy, store-bought products at the ready to help you make a quick meal or snack without sacrificing good nutrition. I thought I would share a look at some of these items today. Plus, we have also sampled a couple of new products lately that I want to tell you about. Likely some of our grocery favourites are your favourites too!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Christmas Special Features & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #63


I don't collect vintage Christmas ornaments myself, although I am always tempted when I see the amazing ornaments that others link up at Vintage Bliss Tuesdays. I do have a couple of vintage Christmas stockings in my possession, but they weren't exactly "collected." They are stockings I had when I was a child, making them, sadly, vintage.

Monday, December 14, 2015

9 Holiday Superfoods For a Healthy, Wholesome & Delicious Christmas Meal

9 Holiday Superfoods for a healthy, wholesome & delicious Christmas meal. Advice from a registered holistic nutritionist helps you create a holiday meal that is satisfying and tasty while providing you with healthy nutrients and helping you to avoid holiday weight gain. #healthy #superfoods #tips #vegan #eatright #Christmas

If you struggle to resist temptation this holiday season, it might help to concentrate on abundance rather than lack. “Focus on the hearty seasonal vegetables that add interest, colour and unique flavours to your holiday meals,” says Emily Kennedy, MSc, RHN, a registered holistic nutritionist specializing in waist/waste management and women's health.

“Serve foods that are naturally bright in colour - orange, red and dark green veggies are festive - and eat them first. Colour equals phytonutrients, so build a beautiful plate.” Surround your holiday meal's main protein with these healthy, delicious superfoods.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

8 diy Christmas Garlands


8 diy Christmas garlands - make your own simple, inexpensive & festive holiday garlands with these ideas from crafty bloggers! #fun #Christmas #festive #decor #decorating #garland #diy #crafts #kidscrafts #idea #tutorial

Obsessed with making diy Christmas garlands as I am, I turned to some blogging friends to find out what snazzy garlands they have decorated their holiday homes with this season. I found myself newly inspired - as expected they have created some very cute garlands! Best of all, these garlands aren't complicated or expensive to make. I'm sure there's a garland here that's just right for you and your decor!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Loom Knit Holiday Garland Tutorial

Loom Knit Holiday Garland Tutorial - make this festive Christmas garland using a small knitting loom, a hook and any yarn your have around. Simple and fun to do! Great for Valentine's Day too! #knitting #loom #crafts #craftsforkids #decor #xmas

I told you I was garland-obsessed this Christmas! First it was the festive pom pom garland. Then it was the natural dried orange and lemon garland. Now it's this loom-knit red and white holiday garland. I think it's fun for Christmas, but this colour scheme obviously works for Valentine's Day too. A bonus for ya.

I've had the little loom that I made this garland with since I was a kid. It's been rolling around the storage room (literally) for several years, with some of the yarn I used as a child trailing from it. It wasn't until my daughter started collecting all these crafty Darn Yarn kits with bigger looms in them that it occurred to me that I could actually still use my wee loom. I discovered that the process is very soothing and just as fun to do as an adult as it was when I was a child. And nowadays I have more of a commitment to finish a project. So, come on, let's get in touch with our inner children!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Cool Gift for Kids (With a Sweets Kendamas Giveaway - CLOSED)


Last Christmas, one of my son's favourite gifts was his Sweets Kendama. This is one toy that stands the test of time - he still loves to use it a year later. And, as a parent, I love that it's an active and creative toy. The kendama is a traditional Japanese toy consisting of a ken (sword) and tama (ball). The ball is connected to the base or ken by a string. The ken has three cups and a spike that fits into the hole in the ball.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Dried Orange & Lemon Garland Tutorial

How To make a garland with dried oranges and lemons. A lovely natural touch of beauty for your holiday decor. Easy and relaxing to do. #Christmas #crafts #garland #tutorial #diy #decor

It's all about garlands around our house when it comes to decorating for Christmas this year. I'm telling you, they're addictive! It started with our homemade pom pom Christmas garland. That was so fun to create (and came out quite pretty if I do say so myself) that we decided to make a couple more festive garlands.

Not that I'm breaking any new ground here, but I decided that a garland with dried oranges and lemons would make a bright and cheerful touch for our holiday decor. There are many (many!) tutorials for this on the Internet, and they all seem to vary with respect to the widths recommended for slicing the fruit as well as the temperature of the oven and the time needed to dry out the oranges, lemons and whatever other fruits you plan to use. (Grapefruit and limes would be lovely too.) I thought I'd share what worked for me.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Our Visit to the Toronto Marlies Holiday Bash (with a ticket giveaway - CLOSED)


We headed to Toronto's Air Canada Centre this past Sunday for the Toronto Marlies Holiday Bash and Teddy Bear Toss. The future stars of the Toronto Maple Leafs took on the Manitoba Moose (and quite frankly, gave them a beating).

Santa hit the ice for a competition against one of his reindeer, gifts were tossed into the crowd, the Marlies Dance Crew performed, and best of all, fans tossed stuffed animals onto the ice when the Marlies scored their first goal. My kids and their friends had a great time, particularly tossing their stuffed toys onto the ice. My daughter proudly pointed out that she hit a hockey player in the back of the head. Good thing he was wearing a helmet.  All toys were donated to Yonge Street Mission to help children in need.

My Weathered Wood Photography Background & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #62

DIY Weathered Wood Photography background - easy to make and great for photos of food, diy projects and thrifty finds #photography #blogging #tips

A couple of weeks ago, I showed you my new photography table. I set it up with visions of creating several interchangeable wooden photo backgrounds to put on top. My husband had some old wood in the garage and was kind enough to create my very first aged wood background.

He used old 1 by 2 pieces of wood, which he cut to 32 inches in length, just slightly bigger than the bamboo top of my table. He pieced enough wood together to make the finished board 22 inches wide, again a bit bigger than the table. He had formerly used these wooden pieces as stakes to prop up burlap around the cedar trees in the backyard in winter. As they were outside for a few winters, the wood had aged and turned grey.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Our Visit to The Christmas Tree Farm


The Christmas tree farm is an annual tradition for us, and it's one of my favourites. Actually this year we went to the Christmas tree farm twice. The first time was just for show - or more specifically a show. We visited MacPherson Tree Farm in Ballantrae seven weeks ago to be filmed for an Organic Panic Christmas special about organic versus non-organic Christmas decor. We got some strange looks back then as we headed home with a Christmas tree on the car roof. I just know people were thinking, "Do they really think that tree is going to last until Christmas?"

This past weekend we headed back to the Christmas tree farm fo real. This time we went to Horton Tree Farms' Kennedy farm east of Aurora, Ontario. We generally hit up the tree farm the first weekend in December, but end of  November is close enough! Apparently other people agreed because the place was hopping.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

How To Make A Festive Pom Pom Garland

How to make a festive pom pom garland. We used a Christmas color scheme, but this garland is fun for any occasion - birthday, Valentine's Day, Easter - whenever you want really! Features a video demonstrating how to use the easy and fun Clover pom pom maker.  #tutorial #crafts #Christmas #decor #pompoms #diy #kids

I have a strange fondness for festive garlands. At least I know I'm not alone, because I see bloggers all over the web with various colours, shapes and types of garland for all occasions - birthdays, Valentine's Day, Christmas and even everyday garlands. I love the Valentine's Day garland the kids and I made so much that, this year, I really wanted to make a Christmas garland.

I decided to make one using colourful pom poms. Then I began to experiment with various ways of creating pom poms - a fork, my own fingers, a circular cardboard template. None of these methods quite satisfied me. I found it difficult to get the scissors into the fork to cut the yarn. I'm not that coordinated using my hand as a "template." And the cardboard template was just a bit annoying to wrap around.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

How I Organized My Books & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #61


Some of you may recall that I embarked on a 4-month purge back in May, with a goal of finally weeding out ALL (or most) of the abundance of excess stuff we have in our home. You might well wonder, if this was a "4-month" purge and began back in May, why am I writing about it still? Good question.

I wouldn't want to say that the purge was a failure, because we actually made great strides, getting rid of an unprecedented (for us) amount of stuff - clothing, magazines, papers, VHS tapes, etc. But progress got stalled somewhere along the way (mainly when the kids were home for the summer) and frankly hasn't picked up all that much since. The really good thing is, though, I have more confidence about my ability to toss unneeded items. I saw some real successes and I am ready for a solid phase two. In that spirit, I want to show you the success that my family had in paring down and organizing our books. Books are a tough category for us, because we hold them dearly in our hearts.

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