Friday, February 28, 2014

Insta-Friday in real life, small pleasures

It's time once again for a look back at the week using simple, sweet cell phone photos. I am sooo ready for March and any warmth it might bring. It is freezing here today and we are looking forward to any days with temps above zero!

In times like these, what gets me through are life's simple pleasures. Like food. Yummy baked food! I pulled out a lovely, cast iron flower muffin pan today. My mom gave it to me a while back, but I had yet to use it. The banana chocolate chip muffins came out shaped like a tulip, a lily, an iris, etc. It was a suitable reminder that spring is on the way...some day.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

How to Clean Your House Quickly (with a C is for Clean giveaway - CLOSED)

As hard as we may try, most of us find it impossible to keep a clean house all the time (or even a fraction of the time in my case). That's why I sought some professional advice recently, turning to cleaning expert Maggie McKeown, the creator of C is for Clean natural cleaners.

Maggie, who is also a professional chef, TV host and mother of twin boys, knows what it's like to keep a home for a busy family. She has developed a number of effective strategies for keeping a clean and organized home, and she was kind enough to answer my cleaning-related questions.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday

We are once again midway through the week and I'm taking a look back at some of the meals I have eaten lately. I'll keep my complaining brief - there's a cold weather warning here today and it feels like spring may never come. Malaise has set in. There, I'm done. Except to say, this kind of winter-should-be-over-by-now feeling calls for easy meals. But then I also say summer heat calls for easy meals! I guess I just like easy meals!

One day for lunch I went old school and just threw some fake turkey slices on a bun with lettuce, tomatoes and mayo. I added sliced strawberries on the side because...well, strawberries are awesome.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Products We Love - Sweets from the Earth (Giveaway - CLOSED)

This is the second post in my "Products We Love" series. I reserve this feature for earth- and people-friendly products that my family uses and loves. And we love Sweets from the Earth! This Toronto-based bakery makes delicious desserts that just about anybody can eat.

The list of benefits to Sweets from the Earth's yummy baked goods is long - they are all natural, 100% vegan, trans fat free, non-hydrogenated, GMO free, made without artificial colours or flavours, preservative free AND free from refined sugars. But still amazingly delicious!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Beautiful New Things from Wantable

Lately I have been making an effort to accessorize more with earrings, scarves and bracelets, and I have to say it's been a lot of fun. I've been getting an exciting delivery from Wantable every month to help me up my style quotient. In case you aren't yet familiar with the company, Wantable is a fun, personalized subscription box service offering three types of boxes: makeup, accessories or intimates.

I received my second accessories box this month and boy was it a treat! Each accessories box comes with three to four boutique accessories. Based on the personal preferences that I have inputted on Wantable's website, the expert curators sent these little treats above.

The Osbourne Scarf is a chic combination of animal print and skulls in gray and black. Wantable's style tip suggests pairing it with neon earrings for a perfectly on-trend look. The Daisy Blue Earrings (above, left) are drop earrings featuring sunshine yellow and sky blue stones. The Stella Earrings are geometric black drops accented with rhinestones. Wantable suggests pairing them with geometric winged eyeliner for a trendy look.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Insta-Friday in real life, the good old hockey game


Happy Friday! I am once again participating in Insta-Friday, a look at our week using cell phone photos. Growing up, hockey was big in our house. My brother and my dad played hockey and my dad coached. I wasn't much impressed with sports of any kind, but I won't ever forget falling asleep to the repetitive sounds of a hockey game on the television.

Now, with kids of my own, I see how hockey is so much a part of our Canadian culture. Yesterday, the kids watched at school as Canada's women's hockey team captured their fourth straight Olympic gold medal. Those girls rock. And I will be rooting for our Canadian men's team today as they face their top rivals - the United States. Sorry my American friends, Canadians really are nice people, but we kinda think hockey is our game.

Speaking of, we had a (tiny) bit of sunshine one day after school this week, so we took the kids to an outdoor skating rink to pass the puck around. That's my girl, above. She is most likely NOT going to be a hockey player. She spent most of the time complaining about the poor condition of the ice.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Are you a royal or a rebel? (Plus a $50 Sears Card Giveaway)

Are you a royal or a rebel? Personally, I think there's a bit of the royal and a bit of the rebel in every girl. Sure, some slide more towards royal on the spectrum while others have a bit more of a rebellious streak.

My little girl and I were watching Ever After High on Netflix the other day. This animated series follows the sons and daughters of famous fairy tale characters as they decide whether they will follow in their parents' footsteps. The royals are those who know they will follow their destiny, while the rebels are those who “rebel” against the path that's proposed for them. They write their own destinies.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday

It's sunny today! Temperatures are still below zero and there is supposed to be another winter storm on Thursday, but I'll take the sunshine while I can get it.

This What I Ate Wednesday I'm taking a look at what I ate yesterday. It was the day after the Family Day long weekend and there were few groceries to be found in our house. I wasn't sure what I could even pack in the kids' school lunches so I got up (relatively) early and made fresh banana chocolate chip muffins. We always have ingredients for those (except I was short half a banana). I also gave them veggie hot dogs, orange slices and snacks. This is a long way of saying that my breakfast ended up being banana muffins with half of an orange left over after I prepared the kids' lunches.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Thrifty Finds

Up until this past Saturday, it had been many weeks since I thrifted any dishes. For good reason. I don't have any more room to store them! However I am growing tired of our regular dishes so I decided to supplement them with these pretty blue pieces I spotted at the Salvation Army.

I also picked up a pretty green jug. Because you can always squeeze in another jug, right? I proudly told my husband, "I love these little thrifted jugs." "Me too," he said, sarcastic of course.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Insta-Friday in real life with a visit to the Ontario Science Centre

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you are feeling the love today. We are celebrating in the best way possible - by ordering in sushi and following up with chocolate! (I know, I'm sushi-obsessed.)

I thoroughly cleaned the kitchen and the family room a couple of days ago so we can enjoy our little family party in a nice environment. I hung up the heart garland the kids and I made last year. As you can see I have not taken down the giant Christmas ornaments hanging on the light fixture either. I just like them. So I'm keeping 'em.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday with a visit to Rancho Relaxo

I love to eat at restaurants. I think I get it from my mom - she's always game to try out a new restaurant. Unfortunately, the bitter cold winter we are having has me more inclined to hide out indoors.

This past weekend, though, we headed out to the Ontario Science Centre to check out some of their new exhibits like "The Human Edge." All that science made us hungry so we decided to pay a visit to Rancho Relaxo, a Toronto Mexican restaurant. Although I have long been familiar with the name, this was our first time going there. That's my little gal, above, eating a plate of House Nachos. She is so picky that she's hard to order for at a restaurant. Hence the appetizer for dinner. Thankfully she really enjoyed this plate of corn chips topped with salsa, cheese and sour cream.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Heart Recipe and Delicious Enjoy Life Chocolate Treats

I received a mouthwatering package of chocolate goodies from Enjoy Life this week. With Valentine's Day on the horizon, I went to work right away to create a tantalizing dessert using Enjoy Life's new 69% Cacao Dark Chocolate Morsels.

Friday, February 7, 2014

10 easy vegan treats for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is just a week away. Are you prepared? I'm certainly not. I haven't given it a lot of thought, to be honest. I'll probably pick up a couple of activity books for the kids and maybe a new novel for the husband. We're not going nuts with presents.

But there has to be treats - that's a clear necessity! Whether it's a warm scone for brunch or a decadent chocolate yummy for dessert, be sure to give your valentine(s) a special homemade treat. I have rounded up 10 of my favourite super simple vegan treat recipes. Because it's your Valentine's Day too - you don't want to be in the kitchen for long!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday

Happy Wednesday! We are staring down another snow day here. School buses are cancelled and the kids' school ski trip has been postponed (ironic that more snow equals no ski trip, huh?) My daughter asked to be driven to school (she would rather be with her friends). My son, on the other hand, is all set for a day off. He has promised not to spend the day playing video games...but we shall see.

Last What I Ate Wednesday was all about decadent treats like sushi and pizza. This week I have been a good girl. With my youngest child being 9 years old, I think maybe it's time to say goodbye to my muffin top. 

And speaking of muffins, I made banana chocolate chip muffins (with chocolate rice milk) for breakfast yesterday. I wanted to have one today, but the kids have eaten the rest of them!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Got Sunshine? A Primer on Vitamin D

There is barely any sunshine to be had around here. And when it is sunny, it's too cold to go outside anyway. If, like me, you are in a climate that is woefully absent of the sun's rays, you might need a vitamin D supplement.

"It's been over half a decade since the Canadian Cancer Society put vitamin D on everyone's minds by increasing their recommendation to 1,000 IU per day during the low-sun winter months," says registered nutritionist Emily Kennedy. "Yet many people still don't know enough about this hormone-like vitamin."

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