Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Cookbook Addict's Dream

It's a cookbook addict's dream - recently I was invited to select books from DK Canada's "Tasty DK" food and drink boutique. For a limited time, epicurean titles for foodies are 30% off. There are titles on everything from home brew beer to cake decorating.

I picked a couple of titles that are very different from those in my cookbook collection. The first is "Preserve It," a guide to the art of preserving fruit, vegetables and more.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday

Happy Wednesday. Let's talk about healthy food...and Halloween. I'm not one of those super disciplined people who can avoid consuming the Halloween treats. My strategy at Halloween (and pretty much every other day) is to eat healthy meals to balance out my chocolate indulgences.

Besides, I actually love healthy meals, especially when someone else prepares them! For example, my husband made me this broccoli pizza on Sunday.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Old El Paso Restaurant Challenge #YouMexiCAN

As an Old El Paso Canada ambassador, I was recently presented with a challenge. My kind of challenge. Old El Paso sent me and my family off to a Mexican cantina to dine, with the expectation that I would later recreate my restaurant meal at home. Just so you know, I am always ready to go out for dinner!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide 2013

With the holidays coming up quicker than you can say "gridlock in the mall parking lot" I am busy preparing a fun holiday gift guide. I want to share with you some ideas for creative, stylish gifts for the whole family - mom, dad, boy, girl and even your canine friends (because we couldn't possibly forget Jolene the beagle mix).

I am looking forward to featuring products I've never shared here before as well as new products from old friends. And there will be great giveaways too! Stay tuned.

If you are interested in submitting a product, please email Joann for more details at

Happy shopping friends!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

She & Him, 43/52

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

She: isn't a big fan of her hairbrush
Him: happy to be at a restaurant rather than eating pasta at home

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Family Reading List

We always have a bunch of books on the go in this house. Because many of you love books as much as we do, I thought I would share a look at what we are all reading right now.

Cataract City

Pop: The man of the house is reading Cataract City, shortlisted for this year's Scotiabank Giller Prize. I brought this book to hubby's attention because the action unfolds in Niagara Falls, Ontario. We often spend time in Niagara Falls and I've never read a book that focuses on this fascinating little city. I thought the book got its title from all of the seniors who visit the casinos in Niagara Falls (trust me, there are many), but my mom (one of the aforementioned seniors) reminded me that a cataract is a large waterfall.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday

Happy What I Ate Wednesday! We are definitely into soup weather now, aren't we? This was my Sunday lunch, above - leftover minestrone soup that my husband made the night before, along with leftover pizza that we made for my (dairy-free) niece and me at my daughter's birthday party on Friday.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Halloween Birthday Party

My daughter's birthday is today, just slightly more than a week before Halloween. The timing opens up some fun possibilities for party themes. And indeed she chose to go with a Halloween theme this year, asking her friends to come to her party in costume.

We held the party on a Friday evening and I pretty much spent the entire day shopping and decorating. The kids and their dad helped out after school too. Here's the birthday girl adding washi tape flags to party straws, above.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Woman in Real Life in France

Okay, I didn't really go to France. I wish. But my home is featured today over on ernø's blog. I am flattered that he has chosen to include me in his lovely Bloggers Interiors series. 

Take a look at - based in France, this blog offers a stylish look at architecture, vintage cars, beaches, restaurant interiors and dapper outfits.

It also features beautiful, whimsical drawings like this sweet drawing he made just for me, above. He based it on my answers to his questions, so you have to visit the post here to make sense of it.

And follow ernø on instagram (ernoblog) and see why he has me wanting to jet off to Europe.

Thanks ernø!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

She & Him, 42/52

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

She: stayed up past midnight after her birthday party last night
Him: playing with one of his sister's birthday gifts

Thursday, October 17, 2013

How to Be More Mindful

This is an excerpt from an article I wrote recently for GoodLife magazine. I wanted to share a piece of it with you, because interviewing these two lovely mindful meditation teachers was a real eye opener for me. Although I try my best to see the art in everyday life, I am often guilty of a "racing" mind and of forgetting to live in the present moment.

If you’ve ever driven your car through an intersection and then wondered if the light was red, you know how easy it is to get lost in your thoughts. With the mad rush to get to work, get home from work, get dinner on the table, chauffeur children around and complete a multitude of other daily tasks, you might be excused for sometimes failing to live in the present moment.

But that lack of awareness could catch up with you one day. That was the case for Darlene Nicholson. A registered nurse, Ms. Nicholson says she spent many years of her life trying to control everyone and everything. At the age of 45, she was running a successful foot-care business and working up to 60 hours a week.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday: A Vegetarian Thanksgiving

My family had not one, but two Thanksgiving dinners this past weekend, one at my sister-in-law's house and one here at home. So, this What I Ate Wednesday, be prepared for a lot of photos of vegan turkey!

Speaking of vegan turkey, a friend of mine recently asked me what to feed a visiting vegetarian for Thanksgiving. Her question made me think that maybe there are others with the same dilemma. So, here is my little primer on what to feed a veg head for Thanksgiving.

Monday, October 14, 2013

DIY Halloween Party Invitations

My little girl's birthday falls within the month of October, opening up some fun possibilities for linking her birthday party with Halloween. This year, she wants her friends to come in costume and she also asked to create her own party invitations.

Her dad (who has worked at art galleries and museums in the past) suggested creating invitations using relief printing. The most common form of relief printing is woodcut, where you cut an image in a wood block, apply ink to the wood and print the inked image on paper. The carved areas remain free of ink and thus create white lines on the printed surface.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

She & Him, 41/52

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

She: a little pirate at Canada's Wonderland
Him: with a new pal at Canada's Wonderland (shoelace perpetually untied)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Getting Crafty (Book Review)

You all know how much I love books. You know what I love even more? Books that are on sale. Until October 15th, DK Canada's Craft Boutique offers a selection of beautiful books for 30% off. There are books to keep the whole family busy - with topics such as brewing beer, knitting, dressmaking, photography, dinosaurs and drawing techniques.

The kids and I had the opportunity to review a couple of fun books for children: Smithsonian's "Make Your Own Skeleton" and "Make Your Own Gifts."

Thursday, October 10, 2013

How to Bake Gluten-Free This Holiday Season

Whether you are going gluten-free out of necessity or by choice, you deserve to enjoy your holiday meal as much as the next gal. And, oh yes, that includes dessert! The need for gluten-free choices in more than 12% of households means many of us are trying to adapt favourite family recipes for special meals at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday

As I said in my She & Him post on Sunday, my 11-year-old boy has been watching "MasterChef Junior" and it has inspired him to try more cooking. He was so impressed with one of the kids who made sushi that he asked if he could make some vegetarian sushi himself this past weekend. I am all for a show that gets my kids to take over the cooking!

His father cut up carrots, cucumber and avocado. He also baked sweet potato fries and sauteed mushrooms, all to act as fillings. My son did the rolling, and, while he had trouble along the way, practice makes perfect!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

When I was in my teens and my twenties, most of the thrifting I did was for books. My then-boyfriend, now-husband and I used to find all kinds of cheap books in the basement of the Amity in downtown Hamilton. Back then, I stumbled across this strangely wonderful medical book. Published by Abbott Laboratories in North Chicago, ILL., it's called "What's New: Special Christmas Edition 1953."

Sunday, October 6, 2013

She & Him, 40/52

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

She: chilling at the Niagara Fallsview Casino Hotel
Him: making pancakes after watching MasterChef Junior

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Visit to Sadie's Diner, Toronto

There are few activities I appreciate more than going to a restaurant for dinner...or lunch...or breakfast. Basically if I get to eat food that somebody else has prepared, I'm happy. If it's a vegetarian restaurant, where I have a whole menu of things to choose from, it's even better.

So it was with our recent visit to Sadie's Diner in Toronto. As I said on What I Ate Wednesday, I was attracted to their menu of vegan and vegetarian comfort foods. I figured the familiar-sounding foods would appeal to the kids as well. My son, as he tends to do, complained the whole way there that the restaurant probably wouldn't be any good. He changed his tune when he saw the Pez wall.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday - on the road

We returned from our weekend trip to Niagara Falls on Sunday night. Monday evening I was off to the SheBlogs conference at the King Edward Hotel in Toronto. Since my family was dropping me off at the hotel, I figured it was a great time to use the Groupon I purchased for Sadie's Diner recently.

I had never tried the restaurant before, but I was attracted to the menu of vegan and vegetarian comfort foods. We started off with this amazingly delicious vegan poutine.

Our Weekend At The Fallsview Casino Resort

Fallsview Casino Resort Hotel
The last few days have been a whirlwind of activity (hence the mini blog break). I am writing now from the regal Omni King Edward Hotel in downtown Toronto, where I am staying for SheBlogs Media's LINK2013 blogger conference. I have my own lovely room, and it's so peaceful I don't even know what to do with myself.

Here are a few photos from our weekend. My husband and I saw Bill Cosby this weekend at the Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls. Another casino comp earned by my mom.

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