Friday, May 29, 2015

My 4-Month Purge - How To Deal With Sentimental Items

Recently I told you that I launched a 4-month purge of all things excess in my home - and there are a lot of those things. If emotions hinder you when you attempt to declutter you are certainly not alone. I think most people have some difficulty letting go of at least one category of things - maybe it's books (hello!) or clothing or just about everything (me again!).

I am not the type of person who can just toss things without a thought - I know those people exist because my brother-in-law is one of them. My sister-in-law has to be careful what she leaves lying around because, if the urge strikes him, out it will go. It's probably good to have one person like that in the house...or maybe sort of like that. We don't have anybody like that in my house.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Fiesta Veggie Burgers & A Nature's Path Giveaway

Nature's Path (one of my fave food companies) is celebrating a special anniversary - they have been family-owned and proudly Canadian for 30 years! In 1967, with just $7 in their pockets and a $1,500 loan, the Nature’s Path co-founders opened the country's first vegetarian restaurant. They started Nature’s Path out of the back of that restaurant in 1985.

I often use Nature's Path cereals in my recipes - just last night I made breaded tofu using the first product the company ever produced - Fruit Juice Sweetened Corn Flakes. In the spirit of spring/summer, I'm sharing one of Nature's Path's delicious recipes - Fiesta Veggie Burgers. Made with black beans, veggies and Nature’s Path Flax Plus Flakes, these little yummy patties are sure to be a hit at any family dinner, barbecue or potluck. (And read on for a Nature's Path giveaway!)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

What I Ate Wednesday

My gosh, Wednesday rolls around quick, huh? The weather has been so lovely (for the most part) lately that I am looking forward to the weekend and perhaps a wee bit of lounging with a book on the deck.

This What I Ate Wednesday, there seems to be some focus on veg sushi. I had a bit of vegetarian sushi from the grocery store one day, along with a big ole salad, above. I am continuing with my salad challenge (#wirlsaladchallenge on Instagram), adding as many fruits, veggies, nuts, legumes and seeds on top of my salad as possible. It takes a bit of extra effort but it has really made my salads more enjoyable.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Is Your House Dirty Enough? & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #36

I'm sorry, I'm late with Vintage Bliss Tuesdays today. I didn't get around to setting up the post last night and I was busy this morning. You see, my sister-in-law and I had to buy tickets for our daughters' dance recital. You would have thought we were buying Pearl Jam tickets or something. We had to go right online when the sale started and we still ended up with seats several rows back! Worth the effort though for sure! The dance recital is a highlight of the year for us.

Anyway, I have been hard at work this month with my 4-month purge. I am quite proud of myself because I have never been so successful at discarding/donating items in the past. I am constantly looking for excess items now. You can read the first post in my 4-month purge series to find out more. I'll have an update fairly soon too. In the meantime, I thought it would be appropriate to share a look at this little plate I have in my collection of vintage dishes. I believe this one came from my Nana.

Monday, May 25, 2015

My PEI Dream Trip & Ask An Islander

Photo credit: Tourism PEI Flickr

We have traveled to Eastern Canada several times by car. One of my favourite trips took place when my son was just a year old. My husband, the little guy and I drove to Prince Edward Island to camp, explore red sand beaches, sightsee and look for seals. Crossing the bridge to PEI brings you to a peaceful, pastoral retreat that is truly unique and special. The people are friendly, the food is delicious and the towns are rich with culture and history. And then, of course, there are the stunning beaches! You have to see them to believe them.

Friday, May 22, 2015

A Lakeside Picnic (With the GlobeIn Artisan Box)

For her Mother's Day gift, my mom asked that her kids and grandkids get together to dig out a large flower bed on her front lawn. It was overgrown and untended and she wanted to replace it with grass. So we headed to Mom and Dad's place on Lake Erie this past weekend to give Mom her gift.

We were blessed with the most beautiful day for gardening, making it the perfect occasion to have a small picnic on the front lawn in view of the lake. I had recently received a sweet picnic set from GlobeIn, makers of the the Artisan Box.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Out & About With Pixie Mood (With A Vegan Handbag Giveaway - CLOSED)

There are so many great things about spring and summer, not the least of which is a renewed desire to get out and about exploring. We can finally head out to enjoy our favourite destinations, whether city or country, without worrying about freezing our butts off. I'm looking forward to exploring art galleries, museums, parks, restaurants, outdoor concerts, city streets and festivals. Of course, when heading out to any of these fun spots for several hours, you want to be prepared. A good handbag is a necessity.

When I spotted Pixie Mood's new Arianna Backpack, I knew it would be the perfect thing for all my spring/summer outings. While I'm beyond the diaper bag phase, I still tend to carry lots of stuff. Snacks, hand wipes, cosmetics, money, keys, brochures - I'm not happy unless I'm well prepared. But I also don't want to weigh down my shoulders, neck and back with a giant backpack. The Arianna Backpack is a lightweight and stylish option for carrying my day-trip essentials. It has adjustable straps for comfort and a zipper closure to keep valuables safely in place.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Crunchy Peanut Butter Snack Bites With Chia & Make It Yours Photo Contest Winners

A few weeks back, I shared my recipe for No-Bake Double Chocolate Crunch Peanut Butter Snack Bites. It makes an easy and healthy snack that's great for adults and kids alike. The fact that my son and I were able to make this no-fuss recipe together made it all the more meaningful. Seeing as I have two children, I really treasure the moments where I can spend time one-on-one with each of them. And making delicious snacks together is the perfect way to do that!

What I Ate Wednesday

This What I Ate Wednesday I'm going straight to a look at a full day of eats. It happens to be my Tuesday menu. I feel like it looks like I'm on a diet. I usually eat more food than I ate yesterday. In reality I just didn't feel like making anything special.

I started the day with a smoothie made from banana, cherries, pineapple, strawberries, chia seeds, water, orange juice and Natural Calm.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Mom's Nursing Memorabilia & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #35

National Nursing Week was last week, so I'm a bit late, but I was looking at some of my mom's nursing school memorabilia on the weekend and thought it would be a fitting tribute to post a couple of photos. Thank goodness for the people who want to be nurses, right? That's not me, which makes me appreciate what they do even more.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Family Reading List

I am a book lover every day of the year, but naturally as we look forward to long and leisurely summer days, I can't help but hope that I'll make my way through a nice long list of books. For now, here's a look at the books that we have on the go in our house at the moment.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What I Ate Wednesday, with Mother's Day & Fresh Ontario Eats

This past week has been event-filled. Of course, there was Mother's Day on Sunday. One of my favourite days - I usually get to spend the morning curled up in bed with a pile of books and magazines. Unfortunately this year I woke up the night before Mother's Day feeling sick. I ended up staying in bed a little longer than I planned on Sunday. My husband slept in a bit too, so my usual breakfast in bed turned into a late brunch in bed.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mixing China Patterns & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #34

Do you like to mix china patterns in your table settings? Or maybe you're an all-one-pattern kind of table decorator? I definitely lean toward the former - perhaps it's because I have so many colours and styles of dishes to choose from. Mixing them up allows me to get more use out of them. I like to play around with the different patterns, tying them together with a cheerful colour scheme.

I also like to mix brand new dishes with vintage dishes. For my breakfast table setting, above left, I mixed our wedding china, Wedgwood Mistral, with various blue and white pieces I thrifted or got as gifts from my mom.

I have four main china patterns - the wedding Wedgwood, Johnson Brothers' pretty pink floral pattern (above, top right), Johnson Brothers Old English (above, bottom right) and my grandmother's Midwinter Burslem Porcelon china (not pictured). Beyond that I have all kinds of odds and ends, including many blue and white plates - those are some of my favourites.

So, are you a pattern mixer or a traditionalist?

Linking up with:

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!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Launch of My 4-Month Purge & The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

The sun is shining, the windows are finally cracked open and my winter malaise is lifting. I'm pretty sure that means it's spring cleaning and organizing time! And I gotta say I love it. Well, sort of. I'd rather be Samantha and twinkle my nose to get it all done. But, that not being an option, I love the satisfaction of finishing up with refreshed, clean spaces...and less stuff.

I've been looking for some inspiration to kick my spring tidy into gear. Aliya from Penguin Random House (who just did an office purge in preparation for a move herself) was kind enough to send me a copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

How To Create Quick Healthy Meals With Rice (and a Minute Rice Giveaway)

On days when we're looking to make quick, healthy meals (which, let's face it, is most days), we often choose rice as the foundation for our dinners. That could mean a vegetable and tofu stir-fry served over rice or my favourite lentils and rice recipe.

In order to shake up my rice routine and start thinking about how I can prepare rice-based meals in new and different ways, I recently attended an event hosted by Minute Rice® and featuring Chef John Higgins. Higgins is the personable director of George Brown Chef School, a judge on the Food Network’s Chopped Canada and former personal chef for the Queen Mother.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

What I Ate Wednesday

Happy Wednesday! My spirits have picked up some this week. (I was a bit miserable last week after losing my beloved cameras.) The weather has been pretty close to perfect these last couple of days and I am looking forward to sunshine, picnics and drinks on the patio.

Being without my cameras, I have grown a little bit more easygoing about snapping pictures. Although my LGG3 cellphone has a great camera, I am usually a big advocate of using real DSLR cameras. But I have been quick to use my cellphone camera this week and I find it a little bit freeing. I have used a mix of cellphone and Olympus pics here, starting with this one from my phone, above. This was a pic I took for Instagram (I'm @ziajojo) of a juice I made in the juicer one day - using celery, baby carrots, lemon, apple and parsley. It was a good blend of veggies and sweet stuff.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #33

Photo: the adimpleate blog
Excuse my randomness. As I mentioned last week, I am focusing on purging stuff rather than buying stuff. I will soon have more details to share about the four-month long de-cluttering process I have just begun. That doesn't mean I'm giving up thrift store shopping, but I want to do some significant purging before I add more to my collection.

In the meantime, I intend to keep the Vintage Bliss Tuesdays parties swinging. Today I wanted to share this find, above, from The Adimpleate Blog. Each week I'm in awe of how beautifully the thrifty finds, like this jade green vintage fork, are photographed on the blog. Be sure to head over and take a look. I'll bet you'll find it as inspiring as I do.

Thanks to all of you who faithfully link up each week (or whenever you have new goodies to show off). Seeing your treasured finds is a highlight of the week for me.

Linking up with:

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!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Burst into Spring With Shoppers Drug Mart (Giveaway - CLOSED)

Whenever I'm preparing for a road trip, one of the items at the top of my packing list is always snacks. Ever since my daughter was a toddler she has required a constant stream of snacks. And heaven help me if I don't bring snacks in the car! (Not to mention I'm pretty "snacky" myself.)

Before a recent road trip to Kingston for my son's end-of-season basketball tournament, I headed to Shoppers Drug Mart to look for fun yet healthy snacks for the whole family. With the arrival of spring, there are sure to be lots more road trips on our calendar. I find that Shoppers Drug Mart is handy not only for snacks, but for whatever products we need for our trips - like shampoo, sunscreen, medicines - all that good stuff we constantly need to replenish.

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