Thursday, December 21, 2017

Holiday Book Giving Guide (With A Giveaway)

My ideal gift (to receive) is a basket of nurturing items (think candles, chocolates) that includes a good book. I also like to give books as gifts, finding the right book to match the recipient's interests. Even if somebody doesn't read fictional novels, there's a non-fiction or a general interest book out there that's sure to suit. So, without further ado, here are my book giving suggestions for some of the people on your list this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Peach Walnut Muffins (vegan)

My affection for muffins is no secret. I may have mentioned my love for these portable, healthy snacks about two dozen times on this blog. It's funny because I don't really eat bread often. It doesn't excite me much so I see it as a waste of calories. Muffins, on the other hand, are a bread-type product I can get behind! Especially when they are homemade, wholesome and full of fruity goodness, like these vegan Peach Walnut Muffins. These muffins would make a lovely Christmas morning breakfast addition. Munch on them while the kiddies open their gifts. They will also transition well into the New Year, when you're feeling all that post-holiday guilt and looking for healthier snacks.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Festive Holiday Dessert Recipes From The Vegan Holiday Cookbook

Photo by Marie LaforĂȘt

I've said it before (and maybe I was whining a little bit at the time), holiday meals just aren't the same when you're vegan. Not that I have any desire for turkey. I really don't. Quite the opposite - I would be thrilled if everyone at the table was enjoying a delicious, plant-based feast. That's why I said, "Yes please!" when Robert Rose offered to send me a review copy of The Vegan Holiday Cookbook: From Elegant Appetizers to Festive Mains and Delicious Sweets.

For the simple holiday meals that we enjoy as a family of four, we tend to cook a store-bought turkey alternative or we make this easy tofu loaf. But The Vegan Holiday Cookbook, created by Marie LaforĂȘt, has me seriously considering the need to up my holiday food game. So today I want to tell you a little bit about the types of recipes you can find in the cookbook, and share two incredible dessert recipes for you to try out this holiday season and beyond.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Ideas To Add Cozy Christmas Touches To Your Bedroom Decor

I'm going to be honest - it's not often that I get around to decorating our bedroom for the holidays - like never, really. I am usually too busy tidying up clutter in the spare room, putting away the Christmas decor boxes and generally lamenting the shopping and baking I have yet to do. My daughter had hopes that we could get the entire house cleaned, organized and decorated for Christmas. But that would take an army of professionals at this point. I need to get to the mall!

I did manage to add some simple holiday decor elements to the master (or principal) bedroom to cozy it up for the holidays. After all, I am planning to spend quite a bit of time snuggled up in bed with a book once the hustle and bustle of Christmas has passed. (That's the plan. We'll see how it develops.) Here's how I added cozy touches quickly, without going too crazy.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

How To Teach Your Kids To Give As Well As Receive

My kids have two Advent calendars this year. They each have the simple cardboard variety with the chocolates inside. For the past six years, we've also been using my rustic DIY Advent calendar. Each day, the little bags on the calendar offer up two treats, one for each child. Sometimes it's candy canes or chocolate, sometimes it's packets of gum or lip balm or hand cream.

One of my children complained early in the month that there were too many repeats in the calendar bags. I gently reminded my child that these Advent gifts were meant to be small tokens and that the recipient should demonstrate gratitude no matter what she or he might think of the gift. As a family, this got us talking about gratitude and the spirit of giving during the holiday season. My daughter came up with a wonderful idea. We should have seven days of giving prior to Christmas.

A New Year's Eve Black and Gold Chocolate Party #YearofFeasting

With all of the planning, shopping, decorating and baking going on in the weeks leading up to Christmas, I don't know about you, but I often forget to even think about New Year's Eve. My thanks to Dannyelle of Life is a Party for forcing me (haha) to think about New Year's by making it the theme for our final Year of Feasting post of 2017.

A group of us did Year of Feasting posts for each season this year. Here are my spring, summer (Canada Day), and fall (Thanksgiving) blog posts. For my New Year's party, I chose a black and gold colour scheme, with a food theme of chocolate. Because chocolate. This theme assumes that people eat dinner before they come to your party. Or maybe not. Maybe they just gorge on chocolate. That would be okay for one night, no? Be sure to read to the bottom of this post to visit the other Year of Feasting bloggers' parties.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A Family-Friendly Red and White Scandi Inspired Christmas Table with Cricut Designs

Greetings my friends. Christmas is less than three weeks away! Where did the time go? I will be going to my sister-in-law's for Christmas dinner on the big day. In the meantime, I put together this family-friendly, red, white and natural, Scandinavian-inspired Christmas tablescape for my family of four. We will enjoy a vegan roast and a whole bunch of veggie side dishes here for our own small celebration. I wanted the table to be simple and on the casual side, with some fun DIY additions. I turned to Cricut Design Space™ for some ideas.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Christmas Home Tour

When I made my DIY Santa countdown art in November, I wrote 47 days on it. I felt a bit crazy and also slightly virtuous getting Christmas crafts done with almost 50 days until Christmas Day. Um yeah, as this post goes live, my Santa countdown dry erase art will read 21 days. Gulp. Not feeling so virtuous anymore. As in, somebody needs to go Christmas shopping. And perhaps make Christmas cookies that I actually freeze instead of eating.

On the plus side, joining up with other Canadian bloggers for this week's holiday home tour forced me to get my procrastinating butt in gear on the decor side of things. Not that it was easy. I decided I needed to organize my home "a bit" before decorating. And that was my downfall. I forgot just how long I can take to get organized. After about seven hours of shredding and sorting papers over two days, I realized I was going to have to give up on creating the perfect blank slate for my Christmas decor. That's when I shoved what was left to sort into the laundry room for "later." Okay, let's worry about later later. On with the tour...

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