Cheating

As couples go, we all make sacrifices for the other person. It can be offering the last piece of cake, the larger portion of the bed, or watching with them as the same struggling hockey team loses once again. We do things for the other person that we don't really want to because we love them. cheating Then there are the TV show commitments - in the 'olden days' you had to wait to watch a show weekly and record it if someone couldn't be there at that time or get the show when it came out a year later on DVD or video. In terms of commitments to watch a show together you couldn't stray too far. And if you did it wasn't really that big of a deal. Then along comes Netflix... Now we can't start watching a series together without finishing it together - with a partner who works random shifts this really messes up my bingeing preferences. Plus I am alone many nights, so there's that.  I almost cringe at the thought of hearing about a great new show coming out that I'll have to WAIT to see 'together'. Sometimes I take a peek at the first episode or two for…

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toonies4tummies

Toonies4Tummies

I've just had the pleasure of watching an auditorium full of high school kids turn into Agents of Change. These future leaders came together with their teachers and school administration to donate a couple of dollars each for the pleasure of watching a movie together. Each kid in that audience learned that there are more than 36,000 kids in their region who rely on nutrition programs to eat at school or in community centres daily. toonies4tummies In this post I'm going to give you the chance to donate to this program online three times. This is the first time - click the toonie:  If you live in Canada you probably think that as one of the wealthiest nations in the world our children don't experience many hunger issues. You'd probably be shocked to know that approximately 1.1 million children rely on nutrition programs in school 5 days a week to eat during the school day. Believe it. The more I read the statistics the more shocked I am. Take a look at this infographic: All money raised is distributed to the groups in each area responsible for the programs for them to decide how best to use it. Some places such…

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Frozen Beach Glass

At this time of the year it is really so wonderful to get out into nature, breath the fresh, cold air, and move your body. When you live in a snowy place half the year you learn to either find things to do outside or you are miserable while you wait for spring. My husband and I like to head to the beach to check out the waves - they take on a whole new character in the winter. The beach is my happy place and somewhere I feel connected to the planet. I can think about life while listening to the tides go in and out rhythmically or just look at the pretty colours of the rocks while shutting off all thoughts. It's easy to meditate there.  My husband and I enjoy beach glass hunting amongst all the rocks and driftwood and one day I plan to do wonderful things with the many bits and pieces we have collected. I'm not sure exactly what yet but it'll all become abundantly clear soon enough. In the meantime they wait patiently in glass jars. Yesterday was wonderful. It was -8°C on the north side of Lake Ontario and the waves were fierce…

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Shortbread Cookies

I am about to show you how to make the most delicious shortbread cookies you will ever try. This recipe is being posted early so we have time to prepare for any parties or cravings that might sneak up. I'm making them in anticipation of a repeat of last year when I found out the same day that my daughter needed some for school and if they don't end up going there we'll enjoy them at home - they are DELICIOUS.  My favourite shortbread recipe can be found on the back of the Canada Corn Starch box. I've made this so many times over the years for all occasions and I believe this one is the best.  I'm not sure how long this recipe has been around but I do know I've been making it for decades. I've seen and tried many variations of it but I always come back to the original.  You can roll it into a log to slice it as I have here, roll it into balls and press with a fork on the cookies sheet, or cut it into shapes with cookie cutters. Lots of options. Plus the decorating choices are endless... Make it like this... I also modify mine by adding…

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Where the Heart is

This is the first of 12 posts I'm doing with a lovely group of ladies about crafting with stuff you have at home. It's a "Stash Craft Challenge"! Yay! I've got lots of stashes of so much craft stuff! So follow along with us and I'll post everyone's links at the bottom so you can check them out too! Map Craft This craft is a map I made for my son when he went off to university. I wanted to give him something that was significant and would remind him of home. I also wanted to let him know that we were all here rooting for him and that we loved him so much. Home is where the heart is and he would always be welcome back here.  It is the perfect craft for this challenge because I made it using items I had around my house. A box frame I no longer used, stickers, pennies representing each year everyone in the family was born, and of course the glue gun. To be honest, I had to search high and low for a penny from 1970 and after putting the word out, a friend with a huge Rummoli obsession finally found…

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The OA on Netflix

The Best Show Have you watched this series yet? Or more importantly have you finished it? IF NOT DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER. I don't want to ruin it for you! I have been waiting to discuss this show since I saw it and I can't wait any longer.  https://youtu.be/DvHJtez2IlY I found it a bit difficult to watch at first - the back and forth in time was confusing and created more questions than answers. HOWEVER I stuck with it and at the end of each episode there was a cliff hanger that forced me to go to the next one. Then I started to catch on to the story. OMG I am glad I did. I think episode 5 was my favourite but of course waiting to find out what OA stood for was very rewarding.  Brit Marling is not only the star Prairie/OA but she also created and wrote the show with Zal Batmanglij. She even broke her nose while filming the scene with the dog when she was trying to get her video camera back from Steve.    The actor who plays Steve, Patrick Gibson, is an actor from Ireland - can you hear that at all…

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#FuelYourAwesome

It has happened - we are engaged. By engaged I mean committed. And by committed I mean to an act of craziness that might just save my life completely - medically and psychologically. I found out last fall that I needed to make some major changes in my life "or else". Keeping an open mind for a solution this is what I found: The Whole Life Fitness Manifesto, or WLFM, is an approach to improving one's life in many ways and it only takes 2% of your entire day to be involved. 15 minutes of intentional movement, 5 minutes of personal reflection or meditation, and 10 minutes of personal enrichment or education. Any person at any level of fitness can do the WLFM, including the "couch potato" being that I was. "The Whole Life Fitness Manifesto is not just about physical health but whole-life fitness that blends mindfulness and personal development with equipment-free workouts." This is a free fitness resource with ongoing support in Facebook groups when you sign up on the website here. And this month the bonus is the people at Bulletproof are giving everyone who participates a free copy of Dai's book and the 7 day green smoothie plan.  So you…

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KINGSTON winter adventure

A Kingston Winter Adventure

Magical Lights and Sounds Recently we had one of our favourite experiences in Kingston - the Lumina Borealis at Fort Henry. It runs until February 4th Thursdays to Sundays and you have to go to see it! https://youtu.be/Mcz8cH1D2jo Fort Henry is a World Heritage site where the St. Lawrence River meets Lake Ontario. We have enjoyed visiting it a few times since my son started going to school in Kingston last year and if you'd like to see more, you can find a few more details about those visits here. "Hearts warmed through frost and snow, will be the ones to see and know..." Lumina Borealis is the current exhibit and it is wonderful. Set outside in a winter wonderland we were dazzled by the beautiful and mesmerizing lighting displays. Music and animations add to the magical effect of this mystic and playful display. Running around the walls and inside the parade ground of the fort, we appreciated the variety of scenes that were set up - including stories and paths that lead you through the displays. "A coloured symphony paints the sky, each time a heartwarming song goes by..." The colours were beautiful and I really enjoyed the fire pits scattered throughout. We were there…

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Social Media and Self Esteem

Welcome Guest Poster Emma Harris! Emma and classmates have been working hard on raising awareness for causes affecting not just teens but people of all ages and demographics. These kids mean serious business and have created videos, Twitter campaigns, Instagram galleries and promotional materials to get the word out. I'm very proud and will now step aside... For years now society has been aware of the unrealistic standards set by magazines, movies and fashion shows. There have been women strutting around in close to no clothing, men photoshopped to perfection, and diet pills and gym memberships advertised for even the youngest of kids to see. There have been many attempts to raise awareness for these corrupt messages in today’s world, but the problem remains. Worse yet, it has grown out of control. Now we can’t just close the magazine, change channels or not attend the fashion show to get away from the advertisement. https://youtu.be/jo4I6LGYNk0 In today’s society everyone uses the internet. They uses laptops, phones, iPads or tablets. With these amazing devices comes a great consequence - we give up our right to being ad free. We’re constantly bombarded with ads. There are also other sources of these unrealistic standards,…

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Family Bonding with the Toronto Marlies

Toronto Marlies Guest poster Paul Harris, World's greatest Leaf fan and my partner in crime, shares his experiences at a Toronto Marlies game last week: Recently, I had the pleasure of joining my wife and family on another sports adventure. This time we got to see the Toronto Marlies - the farm team of the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs, play the Devil's from Albany (yes, New Jersey's farm team). Most home games are played at the Ricoh Centre, however this game was played at the Air Canada Centre - home of the Leafs! Like our experience with the Raptors 905, the staff did a great job engaging the fans, with young players having a game during the break, T-shirts thrown into the cheering crowd and other fun games & trivia allowing fans to win prizes. Unfortunately, the home team did not enjoy the same result and instead mimicked their big club's recent efforts, namely losing 3 to 1, despite outshooting their opponents 35 to 25 and thoroughly dominating the second half of the game. There was plenty of excitement, including a disallowed goal (which appeared to go over the goal line and instead of a video review, a penalty shot was…

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Netflixing Through the Holi-daze

What a year 2016 has been. For better, for worse. I think next year will be MUCH BETTER. In the meantime I am fully prepared to shut off my brain and allow the reward chemicals to seep out and gently buffer in the new year.  I've learned a lot about bingeing this year - a sport I am fully prepared to participate in on a moments notice. It turns out bingeing helps release those chemicals that make you feel happy. Makes sense right?  You know that feeling you get when you finish a really good book or show? How you sort of feel like you are left hanging or miss the store so much you grieve a little? I also learned that people, me included, have a fairly predictable habit of going from a series to a movie then back to a new series. According to research, after finishing a series, people take a few days off before committing to a new show. During that break, more than half of us watch a movie. This little video explains this in a cute way:  https://youtu.be/Xxrpg6ofwp4 When I first learned about this I was like - OMG that is totally me! Anyway,…

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Dale Chihuly Exhibit at the ROM

Prepare to have your mind blown Last year my brother introduced me to the glass artist known as Dale Chihuly. I saw a few pieces of his work in Gantineau in the lobby of Hotel Lac-Leamy. I always wanted to see it up close and personal and I finally got my chance recently at his exhibit in Toronto at the Royal Ontario Museum. You can see it too! I was like a little fan girl when I first saw this row boat and my daughter laughed at me for having tears in my eyes when we walked in. I've cyber stalked the work of Dale Chihuly and all his videos for the last 18 months and you just can't imagine the size and impact of these beautiful pieces of glass. I love his row boats and water balls. What a spectacular show it is! Best news ever is that you have until January 8th to see it yourself! Take a trip with the family to experience the amazing display the museum has put on for your viewing pleasure. Better yet, get your family an annual pass to the ROM as the family gift this year.  This little house was very interesting. The teams…

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Chocolate Pretzels!

This is a neat little treat with any size of pretzels that you can make with every seasonal colour. Today we are going to use Christmas colours. My very good friend Micheline Kerswell, ( owner of the now famous classy consignment store in Port Hope, Ontario - My Sister's Closet and the Men's Den, ) taught me how to make these.  We used to get the kids together at Christmas break to do up hundreds of these pretzels - when they were younger. Micheline is from a traditional French Canadian family and they have some amazing recipes. I've been fortunate enough to try many of them and even more fortunate to learn the secrets of how they are made.  I'll use images to illustrate since a picture tells the story best sometime. I melted the chocolate wafers in the microwave. I took one cup of the chocolate flavoured ones and heated them for 30 seconds on high. Then I stirred them around and put them back in for another 30 seconds. It continues to melt when it's out of the microwave so don't over heat them. I've included some video footage so you can see how it goes when you heat…

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Last Minute Stocking Stuffers

In an earlier post here, I explained our new idea family plan for this Christmas gift giving to ensure the kids get useful and meaningful gifts that we think will be more appreciated than the old style of 'bulk' gifting. It's all about quality over quantity. In this post I want to explain a few cool ideas for stocking stuffers - for teens and adults too. These items can be purchased all across Canada. PLUS, at the end you will see a very awesome giveaway for some stocking stuffers too.  Last Minute Stocking Stuffer Giveaway! Both of our kids are teens and as such require many toiletries and self care items. I have a great pile of goodies for their stockings and am being mindful of what is actually useful. Some of these products they have used before and some are new including the following:  GRAVOL® Natural Source® Ginger Liquid Gel Capsules, Tablets & Lozenges  This product prevents nausea and vomiting with naturally sourced ginger. It is useful for going on those long drives to family homes for Christmas get togethers. My daughter has long since had travel sickness and what I like about this product is that it is non-drowse. It…

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Only 4 Gifts for Christmas?

These Crazy Days of Christmas Giving Do you ever feel like Christmas gift giving is going over the top? For me it got to the point where I felt like I was buying and buying and buying but it was not satisfying. It felt hollow to just pile on another present that is nice but not really necessary.  Plus, how many gifts do your kids really use after they open them anyway? My son has a bunch of things in a bag from 2 years ago that he hasn't even gone through since he unwrapped them and took them up to his room.  It makes me sad thinking about how it seems the reason for the season isn't as much about spending time with family as it is about spending money. I feel like many businesses are pushing the wrong messages here.  As a family we've thought long and hard about this. Nobody wants to waste money giving gifts that aren't useful or appreciated. That's not what this season should be about. This year we have all agreed that things will be different. We have agreed that there will be a stocking and four gifts each for the kids. The stockings will have useful items…

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