Sunday, August 30, 2015

Learning Through Adventure With Safari Tales (My Daughter's Fave New App)

We recently went on a road trip to the Thousand Islands area. It was about a three-hour drive each way. As all parents and caregivers know, this kind of trip calls for a variety of entertainment sources for the kids. Books, music, movies, toys - we pack it all! But their favourite type of entertainment comes from the game apps installed on their iPads.

For this trip, my daughter was excited to try out a new game. Safari Tales, a game for children ages four to 10, was released in July. What's great about Safari Tales, from a parent's perspective, is that it has an educational focus. From a kid's perspective, it's all about fun. It's a colourful, 3D learning-through-play app that helps to develop reading and vocabulary skills by making your child both adventurer and storyteller.

Monday, August 24, 2015

How We Got Our Teen Son's Desk Ready for Back To School (#BTSReady With Staples)

This new school year is sure to be an eventful one for my son. He's going into Grade 8! That means a big school trip, graduation festivities and, let's not forget, the need to build high school readiness. With just one year left until high school, my husband and I want to ensure that our growing guy works on his homework and study skills.
To that end, we spent some time recently creating a comfortable desk area in his bedroom. While he has often done homework in the kitchen in the past (with me nearby to help) I feel like it's time he has his own quiet space in which to work.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Our Picks for Stylish Back-to-School Bags (with a Starbucks Giveaway - CLOSED)

As much as I hate to think about summer coming to an end, it's about time to start making those back-to-school purchases. While school starts for us on September 8th, in many other areas kids are already back to school. Like many people, we start each school year with fresh lunch bags and backpacks (unless the old ones are still clean and in good shape).

This year I did a lot of research to find eco-friendly and stylish options for lunch bags and backpacks that would suit our family. My daughter is 10 so she still likes the cute and fun options, but she also requires a certain level of "maturity" in her choices. My son is 13 so this in-denial mom has to be careful she doesn't go with styles that are too "little boy" for him.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

10 Ways to Drink More Water (With The Strauss WaterBar)

Use these 10 Tips for Drinking More Water to help increase your hydration and health. With the Strauss WaterBar.

Each day we lose our water stores in service of bodily functions like breathing, sweating, temperature regulation and digestion. If we don't replenish that water with more fluid we get dehydrated. Being well hydrated increases our body's ability to eliminate toxins and reduces our desire for caffeine and sugary drinks. It may also help to prevent us from overeating. Water is free of calories, making it a healthy, diet-friendly way to increase hydration.

That being said, if you are anything like me, you get busy and forget to drink enough water. As inspiration for us dehydrated folks, I have come up with these tips to get us drinking more water.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

5 Benefits of Eating Fruit & What I Ate Wednesday

Summer is the optimum time to add more fruits and veggies to your diet. It's a healthful transition that need not be painful. In fact, it can be quite simple and a whole lot of fun. This recipe for Strawberry Peach Green Tea Ice Pops, for example, is a unique and fun way to enjoy fresh fruit that appeals to adults and kids alike.

We all know by now that eating fruit provides us with numerous health benefits. As part of an overall healthy diet, fruit reduces our risk of developing chronic diseases and provides us with essential nutrients to help us not just survive, but thrive!

I have been enjoying fresh fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, bananas, nectarines and plums this summer. So, just in case you need a little nudge to add more fruits to your daily diet, I thought I'd share a little refresher on the benefits of eating fruit. Here goes:

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Blue and White Soup Tureen & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #48

A Blue And White Soup Tureen & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party - Come link up your thrifted, vintage and inherited finds
First up, I want to mention that this week's Vintage Bliss Tuesdays linky party will be live for two weeks. Why? Quite frankly, I am having trouble getting ALL THE THINGS done with a couple of oft-bored kids in the house. Who decided against summer camp again? Oh yeah, that was me.

I headed into summer with visions of a sea of free days to spend as we wish - at the beach, sipping Italian sodas at the coffee shop, making vegan ice cream and reading books. And, yes, there have been such days, but I forgot to plan for the days when I have two freelance articles due, a bunch of blog posts to produce and those aforementioned bored kids to contend with.

Monday, August 17, 2015

All Things Isa & A Vegan With A Vengeance 10th Anniversary Giveaway (CLOSED)

Enter to win 1 of 3 copies of the fab Vegan with a Vengeance cookbook, 10th anniversary edition, via Woman in Real Life.
If you are a collector of vegan cookbooks (or even cookbooks in general), you're likely to have a book by Isa Chandra Moskowitz in your collection. Surprisingly (for this particular cookbook addict) I didn't own an Isa cookbook until I got my copy of Isa Does It last year. You can read my review of that inspiring cookbook if you don't yet own it. I encourage you to get that one for the fall because it has lots of warm, nourishing vegan recipes for the cooler months.

Because Isa Does It is now one of my favourite cookbooks, I have been wanting to try more Isa books, preferably all of them. During my household purge (still ongoing) I tossed several old, somewhat outdated vegetarian and non-vegetarian cookbooks. In theory I have more room on my shelves for new cookbooks. (In reality I still have quite an abundance. What can I say? I'm a cookbook addict. But it's a pretty harmless addiction, right?)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

What I Ate Wednesday

This What I Ate Wednesday, be prepared to see a lot of restaurant food. I like it, but my waistline doesn't. These photos were all taken on my cellphone, because it has been an eventful week and I didn't tote my DSLR along. To start, here is a pic of my family eating vegan donuts in Toronto's Christie Pits Park last week. But let's back up a bit.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Milk Glass Ice Cream Dishes & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #47

What is it about milk glass that makes it so irresistible? Each time I see a different piece in the thrift store I have to grab it up. I suppose it has something to do with its serene whiteness. Whether vase or bowl, a milk glass piece provides a lovely contrast to colourful flowers, candy or even coins. And then there's the price - generally a buck or two for a small piece. A few quick purchases soon become a collection.

Friday, August 7, 2015

9 Etsy Finds That Pay Tribute To The Mighty Lion

It's my birthday month and my zodiac sign is Leo (the lion). In addition, many in the world are mourning Cecil the lion, the second protected lion killed by a U.S. hunter this year in Zimbabwe. I can't fathom the kind of mind that sees a beautiful creature like that and thinks, "I'm going to mount his head over my fireplace." So here are some alternative ways, found on Etsy, of displaying the majestic lion in our homes and on our persons.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

No-Bake Vegan Pep-in-Your-Step Bites (Gluten Free)

It's unanimous! The votes are in and everybody loves these No-Bake Vegan Pep-in-Your-Step Bites. And by everybody, I mean my daughter, her friend and my son. That last vote is a significant one, because that boy isn't fond of anything on the healthy side. In fact he would prefer that all his meals come from Taco Bell.

These protein bites benefit from the winning combination of peanut butter and chocolate chips. From there, add in healthy favourites like oats, ground flax, almond meal and unsweetened shredded coconut. Sweetened with agave and flavoured further with a teaspoon of vanilla extract, these bite-size treats are healthy enough for a pre- or post-workout pick-me-up. They are also perfect for an afternoon snack - about 3 p.m. when those sugar cravings hit!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

What I Ate Wednesday - with thoughts on my birthday

I am expecting a great day on this particular Wednesday, it being my birthday and all. You know you're getting old when people ask you what you want for your birthday and you can't think of a single thing. Well, I did think of one single thing. The same thing I always ask for - a vegan chocolate bar, preferably a Go Max Go Jokerz bar. In frustration, my husband said, "I'll buy you a whole box of them then!" If only he weren't joking.

I also asked for a candle, another gift I want on every occasion - because, frankly, with two dogs and two children, my house stinks...really bad. Fyi, if you own a candle company, feel free to send me vast quantities of lead-free, soy candles scented with natural essential oils.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Nature's Path Qi’a Superfood Snack Bars (Giveaway - CLOSED)

Goodness me, how I love a healthy, portable snack! I have been known to tuck quite a few snack bars in my purse at one time "just in case." In fact, my daughter often asks me what I have to eat in my purse when we are out and about. When I reply that there's nothing in there, she doesn't believe me and she goes rooting through my bag anyway.

I was pretty excited when Nature's Path (one of my fave food companies) contacted me to tell me about their new Qi’a Superfood Snack Bars. These tasty, portable goodies are all vegan and contain delicious organic superfoods like dark chocolate, dried fruit, nuts, chia, hemp and coconut. Lots of filling, plant-based nutrition to fuel you on your outings to the park, grocery store, gym or wherever you're headed.

My 4-Month Purge, A Very Old Armoire & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #46

Gulp. It's August, which means I'm in the fourth month of my 4-month purge. I expected that July and August would be productive months, seeing as my husband is home to help. But that wasn't the case in July. I got much less accomplished than I had planned. You see, you can't really just leave two kids sitting around "bored" while you tidy the house for hours on end. Probably should have booked some more camp weeks. Anyway, I'm hoping a few productive days in August will make up for my slow progress in July.

I did manage to tackle this antique armoire in my bedroom recently. The middle shelf is my stuff - shirts, exercise clothing and leggings. In about an hour's time, I got rid of about 3/4 of the stuff you see here on the shelf, plus a bunch of clothing from the shelves in my closet too. If you follow the advice in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, then you just keep the items that spark joy. I have to say there are very few items in my wardrobe that still spark joy. I swear some of this stuff is 20 years old.

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