Sunday, June 30, 2013

Weekend Update

Jolene "trapped" behind some boxes during a clean-up of my daughter's room.

Our plans for the weekend have been pushed aside while we deal with a sick doggy. Jolene has been unwell for a few days and she no longer wants water or food. Since she is normally a voracious eater, we are concerned.

Menu Plan, 27/52

Summer Veggie Kebabs with Fresh Corn Relish, Vegetarian Times, July/August 2013

Summer vacation is here and that makes it all the more difficult to stick to a menu plan. Some days it's nice to just take it as it comes - maybe head to the beach on a hot day or visit the art gallery on a rainy day.

Nevertheless, I'm taking a stab at a menu plan this week, because, you never know, we might just feel like sitting around eating some good food and drinking a nice summer beverage!

Here's my menu plan for the week. I have picked a few items from the current issue of Vegetarian Times magazine. Click on the names for recipes (if available).

Saturday, June 29, 2013

She & Him, 26/52

 A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013.

She: is a little bit mischievous
Him: turned 11 this month...what happened to my baby boy?

Animal Camp (Book Review)

Adorable Amelia
I recently finished a book that had me laughing, crying and ultimately wanting to make a difference in the lives of our animal friends. The book is "Animal Camp: Reflections on a Decade of Love, Hope, and Veganism at Catskill Animal Sanctuary."
A collection of heartwarming and sometimes devastating tales of just a few of the over 2,500 animals who have called Catskill Animal Sanctuary (CAS) home, this book is a must-read for animal lovers. If you have ever wondered whether animals share the feelings and emotions we humans have, just read the story of Barbie the broiler hen and her love interest, Rambo the sheep.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Insta-Friday in real life

It's day one of summer vacation and the inmates are already running the asylum! My peaceful routine is no more. Less than halfway through the day and pictures were already hanging crooked on the wall.

It's not enough to keep me from sharing my Insta-Friday look at the week using cell phone pictures, though.

Breadmaker Strawberry Jam - How To Make Jam in A Bread Machine

On Sunday, I showed you photos of our family trip to the strawberry farm. As I mentioned then, we came away with 10 litres of strawberries. As you know, strawberries lose their freshness pretty darn quick, so I got to work right away preparing a jar of simple, fast Breadmaker Strawberry Jam. Did you know you can make jam in your home bread maker?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Celebrating Canada

With Canada Day coming up on Monday, I have been thinking about one of my favourite spots in Canada. Everybody thinks the water is cold in Nova Scotia and, for the most part, that might be true. But we often spend summer vacations visiting a spot where the water is relatively warm and the beach is as beautiful as you would expect.

My parents were born and raised in Nova Scotia and it's where my grandparents and most of my aunts, uncles and cousins lived when I was growing up. We didn't visit often, but I enjoyed the hospitality, the natural beauty and, of course, my grandmother's baking, when we did.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

For The Love of Movies (Book Review)

A few weeks ago, we took the kids to see the movie Epic. While I'm not normally a fan of lengthy previews, I was happy to see that a number of promising kids' movies are coming out this summer. As a parent, it's a relief when you come across a movie the whole family can enjoy.

What I Ate Wednesday

Hard to believe it's June 26th already! The kids have one more day of school tomorrow and then it's home for the summer! The husband too. Should be interesting trying to keep them occupied while doing my freelance writing. Any suggestions?

On to What I Ate Wednesday. On Saturday, I diverged from my menu plan. With my son away at a birthday party, my eight-year-old girl decided she wanted to make dinner. She boiled some veggie hot dogs, put out hummus and crackers and made a salad. Her dad helped her make a chickpea salad to fill warmed naan bread with. It was a nice, light dinner.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

5 Tips for Adding Raw Foods to Your Diet

Recently, I had the privilege of interviewing a talented raw food chef for GoodLife Magazine. Pedja Milosavljević, RHN, is a vegan raw food chef at Nature's Emporium wholistic market. He shared with me some of his great tips for painlessly introducing more raw foods to your diet. His tips are simple yet powerful enough to make a meaningful change in your diet. Here they are:

Vintage Telephone Table

I am avoiding the thrift stores at the moment, seeing as I must be stopped from adding to my giant collection of dishes. I will be visiting my sister soon and she will no doubt drag me (kicking and screaming of course) to the nearest thrift stores.

In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to share a look at our mid-century telephone table. My husband and I bought this from a friend many years ago before we had a house or any idea of what our interior decorating would look like.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Menu Plan, 26/52

Pesto Pasta from last week's plan

Last week's menu plan went well. So well that I'm repeating a couple of the selections this week. The Crunchy Vegetable Wraps were so easy to they are healthy and there's no cooking involved...which is important because we are getting scorching hot weather all week.

Here's my menu plan for this week. Click on the names for recipes (if available).

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Strawberry Season

I've said it before - the strawberry season is so short in Ontario, I hate to miss it. It lasts maybe a week to 10 days and that's it! So, we go to the farm just as soon as we can. This week, our only free day fell on a gloomy Saturday, with a 60 per cent chance of rain in the forecast. It was also pretty hot, hence my little girl's shorts with rain boots combination.

We dropped my son off at a friend's birthday party and headed for the farm. I made the mistake of writing down simple (seemingly simple anyway) directions and not consulting a map. One wrong turn made and we ended up driving about 30 km out of our way. A little head kept popping up in the back, my anxious girl calling out, "Are we lost?"

Saturday, June 22, 2013

She & Him, 25/52

 A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013.

She: caught getting snacks out of the cupboard...again
Him: heading to the basement to watch TV, play video games...or both

Friday, June 21, 2013

Guest Post at Simply Designing

Happy Friday!

I am pleased to be guest posting over at Simply Designing today. Ashley was kind enough to invite me to be a part of her Color My Home Summer Blog Series. Follow her blog for amazing craft, diy and decor ideas. Ashley is a professional interior designer, so she knows her stuff!

Head on over to Simply Designing to see how my husband and I have incorporated colour into our home.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Labels & Decals by KiDECALS (Giveaway - CLOSED)

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I'm on an uphill climb towards beautifying and organizing my home. I had some help recently when the lovely people at KiDECALS offered to send me some of their personalized labels and decals.

I selected a pretty pink initial for my daughter's room, above. It is the perfect size for the area above her desk. Putting it on the wall also gave me the incentive to organize her desk and the area around it. She loves to write (like her mom), which is great, but she also tosses each piece of paper aside when she's done. I removed an entire box of paper for recycling.

You will be happy to know that these decals are phthalate-free and won't harm your walls. The self-adhesive material can be removed easily. Just be careful you don't stick the skinny bits to the other skinny bits like I did!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday, veggies edition

As I was posting last week's What I Ate Wednesday, I noticed that greens were absent from my meals. Then, I went to a vegetarian food fair on the weekend and was inspired by all the kale and green smoothies that were being served. So, my strategy this week was to buy lots of greens and to try to incorporate them into my meals and snacks as much as possible.

My menu plan for the week called for PETA's Crunchy Vegetable Wraps on Monday night. It's such a nice change of pace to prepare a meal without using a hot stove. Here are the ingredients for the wraps, above, along with a mixed greens and strawberries salad.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Father's Day

Shhh...don't tell my husband about this post. He really doesn't like to be featured on the blog. What can I do? I have to share some Father's Day pics. Like the kids delivering Daddy's breakfast tray, above. He clearly wasn't sleeping, but rather taking some time for his favourite hobby - playing guitar. Notice Jolene the dog on the right. She made some strong attempts at getting the food from the tray.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Antique Chairs

This weekend, my family reminded me that I had yet to share a look at a couple of little treasures my mom gave to us. This antique child-sized rocking chair was my mom's chair when she was a little girl. With apologies to Mom, if my childhood stuff is now "vintage," Mom's childhood stuff is antique.

I have an adorable photo of my mom sitting in her chair as a child, but I can't recall where I stored it at the moment. My brain is in the vintage category too.

Menu Plan, 25/52

Taco Tuesdays

If you have been using the soon-to-retire Google Reader, please follow Woman in Real Life on Bloglovin' here.

Last week, I skipped doing a menu plan entirely. We were so busy in the evenings that I decided to wing it instead. Super busy weeks are probably the best time for a plan, actually, but sometimes something's gotta give.

This week, I am taking inspiration from the Vegetarian/Vegan Starter Kit from PETA that I picked up at the Veggie Fest on Saturday. Browse PETA's recipes here. I was also inspired by all the kale and other greens on display at Veggie Fest. I'm off to Costco, a surprisingly good source of greens. I'll get organic mixed greens for salad, organic spinach and whatever mixed bag of greens they have this week.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Weekend: Veggie Fest

We have enjoyed another busy weekend so far. Yesterday, we travelled to our hometown of Hamilton, Ontario for the very first Veggie Fest, Hamilton's vegetarian, vegan and raw food festival. I am generally willing to travel for food.

We met lots of lovely people, like Jen from Apiecalypse Now (awesome name!), a vegan bakery in Toronto. Jen's baked goods contain no dairy, no white sugar, no lard, no chemicals, no GMO...and the list goes on. So what's left? Just delicious, animal-friendly treats, such as sausage rolls and cookies. More about that later.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

She & Him, 24/52

 A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013.

She: dancing in front of the King
Him: dancing to dubstep...whatever that is

Friday, June 14, 2013

Insta-Friday in real life, on the road

The weekend is coming friends! I hope you have something exciting planned. We are thinking about going to Veggie Fest, my hometown of Hamilton's first vegetarian, vegan and raw food festival. I am good with any event that is based on food! Admission and parking is free. Maybe I'll see you there!

Now for Insta-Friday, a review of the week using cell phone photos. I'm starting with last Thursday, when I attended my favourite annual basket warehouse sale. I am thankful that the seats in my little Matrix fold down, because I always end up needing the extra space at this sale. Cheap baskets ladies! The women go nuts (me most of all). My sister's birthday is in June, so the timing is good. She's getting baskets and accessories every year. The big item in the back is a storage unit/bench for my little girl's room.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Drawing Game (for kids of all ages)

Whether you're homeschooling or just looking for fun ways to occupy your children, here's an idea for a simple rainy day game that's great for kids of all ages.

Personally, I get tired of seeing my son's head bent over his iPod for hours on end. When he was a preschooler he loved to read books and draw pictures. With the addictive powers of video games, the only way to get him drawing now is for me to get involved.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday

We were away from home on the weekend and I neglected to take any photos of my food. Being a vegetarian is sometimes a bit limiting on the road, but I have a few favourite places I rely on.

I had a Subway sub piled with veggies and pickles (hold the cheese), as well as a veggie burger combo (fries please!) from Harvey's. They make the best veggie burgers! I also had a baba ganoush pita wrap from The Pita Pit in Blue Mountain Village. The menu was marked with vegan options, which is (somewhat unusual and) very helpful.

Now, if I were to try to go gluten-free as well, that might be a problem! I would love to hear how full-time gluten-free folks handle eating out.

You might well ask why I have started with a picture of my Keurig making tea...

Monday, June 10, 2013

Dish Dilemma

My friend Ruthie commented on a post I did in April asking me where I keep all of the treasures that I collect from thrift stores and my parents' house. Here is her comment:

Love that pizza dish! How cute! Great finds, all around. But you need to do a post on WHERE you keep your treasures. Because I, uh, need help.

As I told Ruthie then, I'm not sure I'm much help, because our house is overflowing with dishes. But, although (like most women) I'm working hard to get organized, I do believe in making a place for the things you love. Many of my dishes are from my mom and dad and I wouldn't think of parting with them. The others I have no excuse for. But I'm keeping 'em anyway!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Weekend

Our weekend has been very eventful. It actually began on Thursday evening when my mom and I took the kids to the Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls. I went to see comedian Russell Peters in the evening. As I have mentioned before, my mom gets the hotel stay and the event tickets for free because of her casino habit.

Friday, June 7, 2013

She & Him, 23/52

 A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013.

She: on the run
Him: perfecting his "long jump."

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Gifts for Father's Day (Book Review)

In my Gifts for Mother's Day post, I told you that I always love to get a book as a gift. Fortunately, the same is true for my husband. He loves a good book just as much as I do. It makes for easy gift-giving (and very full bookshelves)!

For this Father's Day, I turned to DK Canada's Dads Rock Boutique. This special boutique offers 30% off a wide selection of titles. There's at least one to appeal to every dad, with books about cars, birds, sailing, photography, wine and even Lego!

Picking for my husband is easy. A quick look at his office bookshelves will tell you that this guy can't get enough history books. Probably because he's a high school history teacher. Go figure.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Snackbox by (Giveaway)

It probably comes as no surprise that I love food. Even my posts that aren't about food often have food in them. Some of my favourite family memories are of grocery shopping with my mom as a teen. Mom loves food too, and she would buy me practically anything I asked for, making it well worth the trip to the grocery store.

I particularly love snacks, especially if they are healthy and nourishing rather than just empty calories. (Don't get me wrong, I eat some of those snacks too.) In my quest for healthy snacks, I have been envious of my friends south of the border who seem to have all kinds of monthly snack subscription services to choose from.

I'm green with envy no more. Recently, I received a box of lovely, healthy goodies from Snackbox by Located in Vancouver, BC, Snackbox delivers a new, carefully curated box of snacks across Canada each month.

What I Ate Wednesday

Happy What I Ate Wednesday! Taking photos of your food really has a way of making you conscious of what you eat. And, when I take this look back at a week of eating, I see where there's room for improvement.

Like, for example, this week I see that I failed a bit in my plan to eat more fruit. I also really should have taken the time to make more salads with my meals. Every week I buy the big bin of organic mixed salad greens and, most of the time, I let about half of the batch rot. It's so easy to prepare, so what's my excuse?

Not that I believe in beating yourself up about what you eat. Food shouldn't be surrounded by stress. But I do like to gently remind myself to make more of an effort sometimes. Like, I always feel better if I make my own baked goods instead of buying them. This week, I made my favourite no-fail vegan chocolate chip banana muffins. They are great for popping in the kids' lunch bags too.

Monday, June 3, 2013

What a crock!

This week, I'm calling on all of you expert collectors out there to help me with two questions: What is this thing? And, what should I do with it?

My mom gave me this (very large and heavy) crock last time I was at my parents' house. My husband was really thrilled, I'll tell ya. One more thing to add to the collection of dishes, knickknacks and assorted furniture that is crowding our house at the moment. But I am a sucker for anything with a sense of history.

Menu Plan, 23/52

I am starting my menu plan post with a photo of sushi for a few reasons. One, because I love sushi. Two, because you love sushi. Three, because I want to point out that meal plans need to be flexible. We're all busy and sometimes even the best laid plans just have to get tossed aside. That's when we order sushi.

My husband was away golfing with co-workers this weekend so the kids and I ordered sushi on Friday night. My son and I were pretty excited to have one less person eating from the party tray. We get competitive over sushi around here. The husband and the boy eat so fast I feel like I have to stock up my plate right away.

I always mark my Fridays as "TBD" because it's so nice to grab takeout on Friday. Or, if we're trying to save money, we'll throw on some veggie burgers and put french fries in the oven. We all need a break from slicing and dicing once in a while.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

She & Him, 22/52

 A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013.

She: posed briefly with a friend and then told me to "shoo shoo"
Him: loves a good anti-homework t-shirt

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