Saturday, September 28, 2013

She & Him, 39/52

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

She & Him: a rare moment of sibling unity after their Cross Country races

Friday, September 27, 2013

Insta-Friday in real life, "hug a vegan" day

Happy Friday and happy "Hug a Vegan" Day! If you don't know a vegan to hug, you can pledge free hugs online here. There's even an official t-shirt you can buy here

Remember, despite what you see on TV, vegans aren't strange and smelly. Well some of them are strange. But strange is good, right? To quote Adam Sandler in one of my favourite movies, Spanglish, "So between odd and the same, you gotta be rooting for odd, don't you?

I didn't do an Insta-Friday last week, so I'm sharing cell phone photos from the past two weeks now.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cool Books for Kids (book review)

In my opinion, nothing can replace the feeling of a book in your hands. Although the kids do a lot of research online, we also make sure we have a selection of fun and interesting books on hand to catch their fancies.

Recently we had the opportunity to pick some books from DK Canada's Back to School Boutique. The boutique offers a range of books on math, science, English and history, as well as titles on topics such as volcanoes, dinosaurs and sharks. For a limited time, these cool books are 30% off.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday

Happy hump day! We are looking at a very pleasant week here weather-wise, with warmish, sunny days all through the weekend. Good news.

I am starting off What I Ate Wednesday this week with a look at one of our after-school fruit platters. The kids enjoy these. They gobble down fruit they might not otherwise eat on their own. Plus, I eat fruit I might not otherwise eat on my own.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Saving for Your Child's Education

Me at high school grad with my dad and my sister
Growing up, I always knew I would go to university. My parents expected it of me and I came to expect it of myself. I was also fortunate that my parents were willing to pay for my education. 

I'm not sure how they did it, but they paid for all of the expenses associated with my first year away at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo - residence, books, meal plan, tuition. Their costs went down some in my second to fourth years when I decided to return to Hamilton to attend McMaster University. I only began paying for my own studies when I started my Masters program at Western.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Thrifting Sisters - part five

Last week, I showed you the Wedgwood Blue Heritage plates and the Pier 1 Kui Hua bowls I bought while thrifting with my sister recently.

On that same Salvation Army visit, I found a few items that I thought were lovely for fall. I adore pottery, and I couldn't resist this jam pot, above. This is one piece that didn't cause me to speculate on what it's used for!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

She & Him, 38/52

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

She: with her "sister"
Him: relaxing after 3.5 hours of soccer in the pouring rain this morning

Friday, September 20, 2013

12 Tips for Encouraging Kids to Read (and a book review)

Growing up, everybody in our household liked to read. My dad and my sister read the newspaper. Dad also read the dictionary. My brother read mysteries. My mom read hundreds of fiction titles. And I enjoyed classic tales like "Anne of Green Gables" and "Little Women." (As a preteen I started sneaking my mom's books too.)

It's important to me that my kids like to read as well, because reading is the foundation for good writing. Like many parents, my husband and I shared reading time with our children each night at bedtime when they were smaller. We still do occasionally (my husband has been reading "The Little Prince" to them) but often they just take too long to get ready for bed.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday - with the Beastie Boys

I remember when grocery shopping used to be fun. I still like to browse, read ingredients lists and pick out new products to try, but I have so much stuff to get now that it's a little overwhelming. I have to please four picky people (including myself), think about what to make for dinner, devise ways to get the kids to eat healthy snacks and figure out what to pack for those dreaded school lunches.

Once the kids were off to school today, I stopped by No Frills just to pick up some fruit for lunches and snacks. Close to $200 and a full trunk later, I drove home thinking now I have to get all this stuff out of the car and put away. For motivation I put a Beastie Boys cd in the stereo. I figured they could keep me moving if anybody could. Anyway, that's done, the Beastie Boys are still running in the background, and it's time to move on to What I Ate Wednesday and a look back at some food highlights from the past week.

I chowed down on a whole bunch of these vegan Triple C Bars, above. They are completely addictive. Just ask my mom - she made some herself the other day, and she rarely ever bakes anymore. She just had to have them!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fajita Friday - with a giveaway (CLOSED) (#YouMexiCan)

I can't count the number of times our little family has shared Taco Tuesdays. And tacos have never once failed to be a hit with the kids. Given the success of Taco Tuesdays, we recently decided to expand our Mexican food options, adding Fajita Friday to our weekly menu plan.

Friday is the perfect day to kick back, relax and take a break from a busy week. Clearly you don't want something too challenging on the dinner menu. But you still want your meal to be nutritious and delicious. Fajita Fridays are just the thing - fun, easy and satisfying.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Thrifting Sisters - part four

On Friday, I shared photos of me and my sister shopping at the Salvation Army thrift shop. It's always more fun thrift shopping with another deal hunter, isn't it?

I last shared a "Thrifting Sisters" post back in March. My sister and I don't get to shop together often, but we can do some damage when we do. On this particular trip, she got the cute necklace she was wearing in the Friday pictures. I, of course, got some dishes, including these little Enoch Wedgwood "Blue Heritage" plates. I can't resist those pretty blue patterned dishes! Can you?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

She & Him, 37/52

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

Quick cell phone pics this week.
She: "striking a pose" in Costco with a friend
Him: wearing a t-shirt from his first concert ever

Friday, September 13, 2013

Insta-Friday in real life

What did people do to record their special moments before cameras were invented? Scrolls, cave drawings, paintings? Frankly I'm glad it's so easy to photograph our family events and activities. Although I do sometimes go overboard. But then I have this blog as an excuse.

This Insta-Friday is not entirely "Insta." I am mixing photos from my cell phone camera and my Nikon camera, because I carried both of them around with me this week. I recorded two fun days, starting with a visit to the Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival on Sunday (above).

Thursday, September 12, 2013

What I Wore - with Nectar Jewelry

Summer has flown by and with it my resolution to wear dresses more often. I bought two eShakti custom dresses back in the spring in preparation for summer. But September arrived and I had yet to wear either of them.

We went to the Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival this past Sunday and I seized upon my last chance to wear this eShakti orange gingham summer frock. After lots of rain on Saturday, Sunday turned out to be a lovely day for the festival, which takes place at the picturesque harbourfront.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday, with all you can eat sushi

It's Wednesday and it feels like the start of summer around here. After a few cold days, we are back into a couple of steaming hot days. If only we could go to the beach! But the kids are in school and there is work to be done.

We are starting to get a little bit into fall cooking. I made a vegetable soup the other night. I love the ease of preparing soup. For another dinner, my husband made roasted vegetables and rice, which we enjoyed with Gardein Mandarin Orange Crispy (fake) Chick'n, pictured above.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Vintage Laundry Stand

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you might well wonder how there could be anything left for me to take from my mom and dad's house. I have shown you so many vintage dishes, collectibles and larger pieces that my parents have given me over the past few years.

But yes, there's one more piece. My mom had this vintage laundry stand (drying rack?) tucked away in the basement. She really likes it and she was hoping to find a place to display it. Unfortunately for her, and fortunately for me, she never did find an appropriate spot.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

She & Him, 36/52

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

She: came home from theatre camp a beautiful butterfly
Him: accomplishing two goals: watching football and avoiding homework

Friday, September 6, 2013

Insta-Friday: back to school edition

Happy Friday friends! I hope your week went well and you have plans for an exciting weekend. The family and I will be going to the Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival tomorrow on Sunday when it's not raining. It's one of my favourite annual events. Time to sample food, buy food, talk about food. And it's all animal-friendly!

I haven't done an Insta-Friday post for a while, mainly because my phone doesn't seem to like to connect to wireless, thus making it impossible for me to Instagram. But the phone is for the moment up and running and I am sharing a look at our back-to-school week. Picture one, above, the kiddies heading off to their first day, hair spiked (him) and bunned (her) and new clothing on.

The China Study Cookbook (giveaway - CLOSED)

As a self-professed cookbook addict, I was thrilled when BenBella Books sent me a copy of "The China Study Cookbook" recently. This book is right up my alley - it contains over 120 whole food, plant-based recipes, giving me lots of new, healthy options for my family.

"The China Study Cookbook" was written by LeAnne Campbell, PhD, the daughter of T. Colin Campbell, coauthor of "The China Study." "The China Study" is one of the most important health and nutrition books ever published - it reveals that the traditional Western diet has led to a modern health crisis. The solution? A plant-based, whole foods diet. Dr. Campbell is also featured in the documentary "Forks Over Knives." See my Earth Day post for more on that.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday: with a back to school sushi party

I'm a worrier. I am. I come from a whole family of worriers. So, when it's back-to-school time, I worry about whether the kids will have friends in their classes, whether they will have nice teachers and whether they will manage to overcome their dislike of French class.

I think that I'm more worried than the kids are - but, just in case, we try to make things a little more fun around here at this pivotal time of year. For our family of four, the quest for more fun tends to lead to a sushi party. Any reason to have a sushi party is a good reason.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Game On: a party for all ages

Once you have kids the opportunities for partying can be a bit limited. Fortunately a party based on board games works for people of all ages, whether college kids, families with little ones or members of the Red Hat Society.

My husband and I invited some family members over for a "game on" party recently. My sister-in-law is a game lover so she was all in. She's the type who wants to play charades at family gatherings. Unfortunately her wish is not often indulged.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Just Because I Love Movies

Last week, when I showed you my newly thrifted tea for two set, I told you how I bought a bunch of VHS tapes at the library sale. I was rather embarrassed that I`m still spending money on old technology. But, dear as you are, many of you told me how you still watch and collect VHS movies too.

Emboldened by your support, I am now sharing a look at the VHS movies that I purchased at the library. Possibly you won`t be so nice to me in the future! Above, some classics I couldn`t resist: The Party, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and On Golden Pond. I remember how that last one brought on the tears.

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