Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What I Ate Wednesday, with plenty of Medjool dates

Vegan Vietnamese Spring Rolls From River City Grill in Yuma, Arizona

A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to attend a blogger summit hosted by Natural Delights Medjool Dates in Yuma, Arizona. I'll have a post about my trip soon, but in the meantime this week's What I Ate Wednesday is heavy on foods that contain plump, tasty and nutritious Medjool dates.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Time for Tea & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #53

There are so many wonderful things about fall - bright orange leaves and apple picking and cool breezes flowing through open windows. And then there's tea. Okay, I have tea all year round, but come fall and winter tea keeps me feeling cozy and content.

It's time to pull out all of our lovely, mismatched tea cups and cookie platters and celebrate the warmth and companionship that comes along with a good cuppa tea. Wouldn't it be a lot of fun to invite a few girlfriends over, set out your special china and enjoy a tea party and a good chat? I'm reaching into my dining room armoire these days for pieces like these above (which I previously featured in this post, titled "a cracked plate").

How about we give all of our pretty tea cups a little love this season? Are you with me?

Do you collect tea cups?

Friday, September 25, 2015

6 Delicious Vegan Black-Eyed Pea Recipes

Recently I was tidying my pantry cupboards and I came across a bag of dry black-eyed peas (or black-eyed beans if you prefer). I realized that I tend to soak chickpeas more frequently than other beans, simply because I have more regular uses for chickpeas. But the black-eyed pea, a legume that's a subspecies of the cowpea, surely deserves the same attention I give to chickpeas, no?

With that in mind, I turned to some inspiring blogger friends for their ideas on vegan creations to make with my neglected bag of black-eyed peas. I thought maybe some of you would like to join with me in preparing a meal or two around this healthy bean, which is packed with fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Blogger Style: Ariel

Blogger Style: Ariel - a peek into a Canadian blogger's fab, stylish home. This military family has to be ready for a move, so most of Ariel's amazing decor is ready to go. She mixes old and new decor touches to create a very personal and creative pad. #decor #home #style #decorating #design #bloggers #Canada #art
I am thrilled to bring back my Blogger Style series today. It's been quite a while since we looked at Taby's lovely home. I so enjoy peeking into another person's fabulous house, don't you? And I have a truly fabulous abode to share with you today.

Ariel works in home decor and is the blogger behind A PMQ For Two, a home decor and DIY blog for military families and families living in base housing. Ariel and her husband live in a 1960s duplex in Private Married Quarters (PMQs) in Quebec. They share their house with a dog and two cats. "We moved into this mid-century stunner early last fall and have been working steadily to transform the house, room by room, into our own," says Ariel.  She is also actively engaged in the military community and writes for the Canadian Military Family Magazine and Ariel is an Etsy Tastemaker.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Celebrate National Organic Week (Giveaway - CLOSED)

It's Canada's National Organic Week (September 19 to 27), the largest annual celebration of organic food, farming and organic products across the country. I prefer to buy organic whenever availability and finances permit. My son went through a period during which he thought "organic" was a dirty word, something along the lines of "spinach" or "kale."

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Our Tour of 1000 Islands and Boldt Castle

I recently posted about our stay at the 1000 Islands/Ivy Lea KOA. A large part of the reason that we selected that particular KOA was its proximity to the boat tours of the 1000 Islands. We had never toured the area before and we really wanted to go. The islands are located in southeastern Ontario as well as northern New York State. (The property above is partly in Canada and partly in the US.) Waters that were once patrolled by pirates and bootleggers are now travelled by vacationing families, tourists and cottagers.

The Thousand Islands are a cluster of 1,864 islands in the Saint Lawrence River where it emerges from the northeast corner of Lake Ontario. The islands stretch downstream from Kingston, Ontario for about 80 km and range in size from 100 km2 to smaller islands occupied by a single residence or only birds and trees.

Sentimental Cat Portraits & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #52

I have noticed on my thrift shopping excursions that there are often many framed paintings and prints piled up and seemingly rarely purchased. Art is so personal, isn't it? And one man's trash is another man's...well, you know.

When my sister gave me these vintage cat portraits recently, it reminded me of all the unclaimed pictures at the thrift shops. These two sweet cats decorated the walls of the cottage bedroom that my sister and I shared for many years on weekends and in summer. I often glanced at them before turning the lights out and going to sleep. (They were easier to enjoy than all those spiders on the ceiling!)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Our Vacay at the 1000 Islands Ivy Lea KOA

Because summer seems to pass in a flash each year, we made sure to schedule some fun family activities for late August. We generally take a family vacation in late July (this year we rented a cottage) but the end of summer can seem dull in comparison. So this year we booked a few days at the 1000 Islands Ivy Lea KOA, located in Lansdowne, Ontario, down the road from Gananoque.

For those of you who haven't heard of KOA (I thought everybody had, but I met somebody recently who hadn't), KOA stands for Kampgrounds of America. KOA is the world's largest system of privately held campgrounds with nearly 500 locations across Canada and the United States. While each KOA location is somewhat different, they all offer a family camping experience, with tent and RV sites, sleeping cabins (or kabins as they are known at KOA) and deluxe cabins with bathrooms and kitchens.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Vegan Faux Chicken Penne With Tomatoes, Spinach and Avocado

I maybe should have called this "Soccer Mom" Vegan Faux Chicken Penne With Tomatoes, Spinach and Avocado. Yep, I'm a soccer mom...and a basketball mom...and a dance mom (without the "crazy" connotations that come with that one I hope). I wasn't active in any kind of sport at all as a teenager (unless you count reading and hanging around downtown) so I'm just thrilled that my kids are more sporty.

Anyway, back to this delicious pasta. I was at my son's soccer game one day and one of the other moms (hey Nadia!) brought along some chicken penne that she was kind enough to share with anybody who was hungry. Seeing as I don't eat chicken, I asked her to list the ingredients for me so I could try the recipe with faux chicken at home. What appeals to me about this pasta is that it is easy to make and also healthy. It's a simple weeknight meal that you and your kids will enjoy. I served this to my two kids and their friends and they all cleared their plates.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Vintage Tandy Caveman Handheld Video Game & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #51

I'm not a video game person. One night recently I suggested that we have a Friday night family video game night. My son has a whole box of PS2 games that don't get used much (because he has a PS3 and daily asks for a PS4). I thought some of them looked like fun. My daughter happened to be out with a friend at the start of the family games night, so I played with the husband and son. I started with Ms Pac Man, a throwback to childhood. First of all, I don't enjoy playing video games that much. Second of all, I don't enjoy the boys laughing at me because I suck at playing video games. They play frequently and have obviously developed more skills. But that didn't keep them from chuckling...a lot.

Monday, September 14, 2015

CIL Unveils The Hot Paint Trends for 2016 (With A Paint Giveaway - CLOSED)

In August I attended an event hosted by CIL® and featuring a panel of their paint experts. As a home décor enthusiast, I was excited to get a sneak peek into the hot colour and paint trends for 2016. The CIL Paint Meet-the-Experts event also celebrated the CIL online Ask An Expert service.

I don't know about you, but when I'm picking paint colours, I have a million questions. Do all of the colours on one floor have to coordinate? What colour should I use for the ceilings and trim? Which wall should be my feature wall? CIL's paint experts, with expertise in a variety of areas, such as décor, colour selection, product, technical and paint application, will answer all of your questions within one to two business days.

Friday, September 11, 2015

How To Find The Right Homeopathic Medicine (There's An App For That!)

Over the years I have used many homeopathic medicines. There was a particularly demanding period there from when I was first pregnant on through the daycare years - somebody was always coming down with something or needing a boost of some sort.

Often we would visit our naturopath and purchase homeopathic medicines that she recommended. Sometimes I would research homeopathics on my own in one of the A-Z type natural healing guides I have accumulated over the years. But now there's no need to take up room on your bookshelf with a heavy tome, because there's an app for that!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

What I Ate Wednesday

I haven't done a What I Ate Wednesday post in three weeks! And I have been feeling guilty...and also liberated. Documenting your food can get tricky sometimes, especially when you are hungry and you just want to eat, RIGHT NOW. Sometimes I even make the family wait to dig in, like when we're out having sushi and I want a picture of a full plate of maki sushi. You'll see how difficult that is farther down in this post.

Let's be honest, even though I didn't get my WIAW posts done, I still took quite a few food photos over the last few weeks. It's a habit now. And there's Instagram to play about with. Let's go back two weeks. I finally replaced my stolen Nikon cameras with a new Nikon D5500. I am so indecisive when it comes to major purchases like that, so it took me a while. I practiced using my new camera by photographing this vegan chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream that I made, above. I love my new camera (and I love me some vegan ice cream). This was the first (and only) time I used my ice cream maker this summer. I kept thinking there was lots more time...

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Vintage Carolyn Keene Books & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #50

It's September 8th already! Gosh, I didn't see that coming. (Okay, I saw it coming, but I stayed firmly in a position of denial.) The kids are off to school today, feeling no doubt the usual first-day mix of excitement and nerves. I wish all the kiddos starting school this week the best! Here's hoping it's the greatest school year yet!

It's a month past my birthday, but I saw my sister recently and she gave me these Carolyn Keene books that she so thoughtfully purchased for me. When we were kids, I was quite the reader - often preferring my books to outdoor activities. Nancy Drew was one of my favourite series to read. My sister (who is also called Nancy) recalled that I had a few of these 1970s Nancy Drew books and thought I'd want some more. She is an accomplished gift giver, suiting her choices to the person so well.

Friday, September 4, 2015

MythBusters at the Ontario Science Centre

A while back, we took the kids and their friends to the Ontario Science Centre to visit MythBusters: The Explosive Exhibition. The Science Centre is always lots of fun for the kids and us parents. Upon arrival, the excitement builds as we hit the long escalators that lead to the exhibition level.

MythBusters is based on the Discovery Channel’s show MythBusters. Co-hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman test wild hypotheses in entertaining experiments. The Ontario Science Centre exhibition features real remnants from experiments that were created on the show. Best of all, there are interactive learning opportunities so that the kids (and adults) can do what they like best - try experiments out for themselves!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Keep These Boiron Homeopathic Products In Your Family Toolkit (Giveaway - CLOSED)

Cuts, scrapes, bruises, muscle aches, dry skin - unfortunately all of these are inevitable parts of living. Especially when you are living life to the fullest - which we tend to do in summertime, when the air is warm and the possibilities for outdoor activities broaden.

I try to use homeopathic and natural remedies whenever possible. My dedication to these less "conventional" products heightened when we started a family over 13 years ago. I became very conscious about the need to put less chemicals in our bodies. (And, let's not forget, we absorb chemicals through the creams and cosmetics we put on our skin.) My family "toolkit" has always included Boiron's homeopathic products. They have a number of products that are vegan-friendly, such as Arnicare creams and gels and Cicadermine.

Creative Hands Knitting Series & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #49

vintage books from Creative Hands knitting, dressmaking

One step in my 4-month purge involved opening up boxes of books that had been stowed away in the storage room. (And, by the way, my 4-month purge is about to become a 6-month purge, starting today, because the summer progressed very slowly.)

I was torn about these Creative Hands knitting, dressmaking and needlecraft guides (which took up a whole box). I'm thinking there is a good chance I'm never going to actually make a project from these books, so they really shouldn't be taking up valuable space. But I have a positive reaction to them. They spark joy, which means I get to keep them right? (According to the KonMari method anyway.)

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