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Showing posts from December, 2016

Welcome 2017!

Most people see 2016 as a pretty crappy year. Globally it certainly has been for all sorts of reasons!

Just to name a few...

War in Syria
U.S. presidential election
Orlando nightclub attack
Dakota pipeline protests
Brexit

And a lot of celebrities and public figures died too, like:

David Bowie
Prince
Alan Rickman
Gary Marshall
Gene Wilder
Arnold Palmer
Florence Henderson
Fidel Castro
John Glenn
Alan Thicke

Oy vey!

But on a personal level, I really can't complain. Life always has ups and downs, but overall I am blessed. Though the girls still make me crazy (I think they probably always will), I am so proud of them. They are good kids, super smart and very athletic.  They are doing so well with all their endeavors. I have a supportive partner and we are financially comfortable.  Adam's career is flourishing, I have a job I love, I have had several new opportunities, and I have had many great times with great friends.

Nevertheless, I hope 2017 is a better one for the millions of …

A Healthy Plate for a Healthy Holiday

We humans hate being told what to do. If you are a parent than you know that all too well! But its also true of us adults. Too many restrictions on our actions or choices and we will start to rebel. This is one of the reasons that strict diets rarely work long-term.

One thing that can be helpful, if you are trying to cut down or eliminate an unhealthy behaviour, is to change the way you think about it. Researchers consistently find that if dieters tell themselves they 'can't' have something, they are far less likely to adhere to this rule, than if they say, I 'don't' eat that. In other words, its a personal choice, not an imposed restriction.

When I read about this, I realized that I have naturally always done that. I don't eat sugar or refined carbs. I don't eat fried foods. I don't regularly consume red meat. And I never feel resentful. Actually, I don't really ever think about it. My diet just doesn't include these things.

Now I have lot…

Zero Water Filter: Product Review

A few months ago I was asked to review the Zero water filter, and it seemed like timing could not have been more perfect. We were in the midst of our home renos, and had just found out the fridge we ordered didn't fit through our doors so it had to be returned. One of the key features I had looked for was a built in water filter/dispenser and ice maker, like our old one. While searching for a replacement, it didn't seem like I was going to find one with this feature that would fit our space, so this seemed like an ideal alternative. But we did end up getting a new fridge with a water filter. 

We are fortunate to live in an area with good water quality, so its not an issue of being concerned about what's in the water. But where ever you live, you may just not like how your tap water tastes.

In any case, I passed the Zero to my lovely neighbours who don't have a fridge with a filter and, until now, have been using a Brita. They have shared the following review:


Description:

Flying to New Heights

After 10 years of doing our New Year's Day drop-in party, we decided that last year was going to be the last one. We weren't enjoying it anymore, it just felt stressful. This year we are doing a low-key games night and dinner with friends on New Year's Eve, but then doing something sort of exciting on New Year's Day. New Year's Day we are all - yes all of us, even the kids - going indoor skydiving!

I have been fascinated by this since I heard about iFLY setting up shop just outside Toronto a few years ago. It seems relatively safe, and unbelievably exhilarating and fun! The only downside is the cost. A typical package is $100/person, and includes 4 'dives' that generally last 60 seconds long, over 2 hours (I guess the rest of the time is watching while others take their turns).

I cleared the idea with the family (Big A is super excited), but then immediately got cold feet. Its expensive! One of us could get hurt! The kids could be traumatized! I could get …

DIY Blush/Bronzer/Eye Shadow

Remember when I reviewed this book?


I finally got around to making another recipe from it a few weeks ago. While I was home with both girls, who were sick, I figured making something would be a nice, quiet activity to do with them.

The girls each had a few recipes they most wanted to make, but in order to keep them from fighting, I told them I was making the choice. My choice, to be honest, was simply based on the fact that I already had all the ingredients in the house.

The recipe in the book is called "Shimmer Blush" but modifying it a wee bit to adjust the colour, I am actually using it as more of a bronzer. But I see no reason why you couldn't use it as a blush, or a bronzer, or an eye shadow, frankly, based on the hue you give it.

I doubled the recipe, which probably wasn't necessary, because I find so little is needed (I literally shake the container to get a tiny bit on the lid, then gently dip the brush into the lid. Like you really need just a tiny bit, if y…

Costco Quest-like Protein Bars

Good morning and welcome to a new beginning. Beginning of a new day, and of a new week.  So winter finally arrived this weekend. The snow is pretty and its not bitterly cold yet, but already I am dreading the February/March blahs that always come after a few months of this.

I'm talking protein bars again today. So now you know how to make your own Quest bars.

But if you're not into that, I just discovered another awesome option that is also cheaper than real Quest Bars: Costco's own brand of protein bars!

This is the first time I've ever seen them, but maybe they are just new to our Costco location. In any case, they are $25 for a box of 20 bars, compared with $42 for a box of 12 Quest bars!!

The macros are pretty much the same: 60g bar with 190 cals, 21g protein, and 15g of fibre. They are sweetened with erythritol and stevia and are gluten-free.

The box has half Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and half Chocolate Brownie flavours. The Chocolate Brownie is good, and more …

Winter 2016 Faves

It is December and we still have had no snow. It only really started to get cold yesterday. That means we are probably going to get our butts completely kicked by winter when it finally arrives. Us Canadians never get off Scot-free.

In any case, here are a few of my favorite things this winter...or pre-winter, I guess. I will do another round up once we get to "When will this fucking winter end" point in time around February/March.

Vitafiber



This healthy sweetener rocks. I bought the syrup, but I am sure you can do great things with the powder too. Its the base of my homemade Quest bars, and you can use it to make cereal bars, fudge, etc.  I am so excited to continue experimenting with it!

BWC Nourishing Eye Gel and Make-up Remover



The skin around my eyes gets red and irritated as the weather gets colder because my eyes tear a lot. The eye gel is so soothing and the eye make up remover super gentle. I love these products!

Vega Hydrator



I stay away from 'sports' drinks. …

Big A the Book Reviewer: Good Reads for Tweens

Publishers have been sending me all sorts of youth literature, which I have been giving to our little book worm. I am so thrilled that Big A has embraced reading to the same extent as Adam and I. There is only one difference though: she is a much faster reader than either of us! She is in the top 95th percentile for speed of reading!!

As useful as this will be for her, it means she is going through books fast, and always begging for more.

Here are a few reviews she's done for me on books were were sent:

Spies in Disguise: Boy in the Tutu (by Kate Scott)



Its about a boy who's parents are secret agents and they get found out, like their cover gets blown and the boy needs to find this computer chip to save his parents. I liked the part about how the two main characters had to take ballet lessons. The only thing I didn't like is maybe there could have been more conflict.

Rating: 9.9/10

Earning my Spots (by Mark Eastburn)



Its about this boy and his family are shape shifters, and he…

Homemade Quest Bars

If you are feeling a little blue because its Monday, this post might cheer you up. I have a simple way to make your own Quest bars at home!

I love Quest bars as a little treat, but, boy are they expensive! Most protein bars are pricey, actually.

So when I got my first order of Vitafiber, I knew they were the first thing I had to try making.

Vitafiber, by the way, is a sugar-free, natural, low glycemic and lower calorie sweetener made of Isomaltooligosaccharide (IMO).

It is high in fibre and a prebiotic, and is a main ingredient in real Quest bars.

I used the basic recipe for a dozen bars posted by Busy but Healthy but I skipped putting the hot batter into a plastic bag, and I am happy to say it still worked perfectly.

For these Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough bars I used:

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Quest-Style Bars (based on this recipe)

1.5 cups Vitafiber
3 cups vanilla whey protein powder (use plant-based for vegan bars)
8 tbsp almond flour
1/3 cup stevia-sweetened chocolate ch…

Parenting Pickles

One of the most stressful things about parenting is when kids get sick. First there is the worry that its something serious. Then there is dealing with who cares for them. I can only imagine how challenging it is for people with low income jobs that are not salaried. Having to stay home to care for your child for an extended period of time could be catastrophic!

So I am very grateful that we are comfortable, financially secure, and I have job flexibility because Monday afternoon I had to pick up 2 very sad looking girls from school. Big A barfed and Little A's tummy was hurting because she'd been coughing so hard.

Apparently there are several nasty viruses going around their school and we've managed to get more than one of them. Yeah, we hit the jackpot!

Since I had a work commitment, Adam's mom was nice enough to take Little A to the doctor, just to rule out bronchitis and pneumonia. Fortunately, we got the 'its just a virus' response, which means its not ser…