Spring Cleaning For Your Body with Our Natural Connection

It looks like Spring has officially sprung!  Everyone is busy working on gardens and cleaning out cobwebs and closets.  But what about you? Are you doing a little Spring cleaning on your body?

Well, I am...and so should you! I'm so excited to have partnered with Our Natural Connection to try out the 10 Day Whole Food Detox!

I'm sure most of you (myself included) are feeling less than perky heading into this nice weather.  From lack of exercise and fresh air during our never-ending winter, to eating too much comfort food and getting stuck in hibernation mode, it's clear that I need a good-old fashioned Spring cleaning.

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What does that mean? Well, the 10 Day Whole Food Detox is a simple, natural program that promotes detoxification through whole foods and nutrition.  It's clearing out all that sluggishness that's built up from too much sugar, caffeine and processed foods.  But the the one thing it's not, is a diet! It's simply retraining your body to do what it's meant to do:

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  • utilize essential vitamins and nutrients from whole foods
  • detoxify and eliminate toxins and wastes quickly and efficiently
  • fill you with loads of energy
  • happily digest foods and live free from cravings
  • glow from the inside out

You will get so many awesome things with this program from menu plans & shopping lists to support and supervision from Vanessa Case, Registered Holistic Nutritionist. Sign up today and join me as I clean out those cobwebs and get ready for the summer! There's just a couple days left to register.   What have you got to lose? Other than a few pounds and some bloat!

I Lost My Soap Making Virginity

Well, I can't go back now.  Just a few days ago something amazing happened....I lost it...my soap making virginity that is!  I don't know if it was the super moon or just some wonderfully good karma, but on Saturday I learned I was the winner of a spot in the Soap Making Workshop by Hummingbird Homestead Soaps!

I've always wanted to make my own soap, but the thought of using lye and the fear of messing up the recipe and ending up with a tub of slop kept me from attempting it on my own.  So what fabulous luck when my name got picked for the workshop!

The Soap Making class was held at this adorably eclectic vintage & DIY shop/studio called Operation Magpie in downtown London, ON.  It was the perfect setting for this small class.

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Danielle from Hummingbird Homestead Soaps brought in all the oils, butters, scents and equipment and guided us through the process.

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Our bars were made from Olive Oil, Castor Oil, Sunflower Oil, Coconut Oil, Palm Oil and Shea Butter.  We learned the Cold Process way to create soap and I couldn't believe how straight forward it was.  The only thing that was a little nerve wracking was mixing up the Lye & water, but once I got over my fear of causing a huge explosion, I discovered it actually wasn't bad at all.  You just need good ventilation and a mask, goggles and gloves.  All the chemical excitement was over in about a minute.

The workshop allowed each participant to make 2 - 1lb loaves of soap.  I opted for a tropical citrus scent for my first bar; Sweet Orange, Lime & Lemongrass essential oils mixed perfectly to create an uplifting and energizing scent.  For my second loaf I changed it up a bit and went for something a little spicier.  Cinnamon, Sweet Orange, Clove & Pine essential oils create a lovely fragrance that smells like autumn without being overpowering.

From start to finish the whole process took about 2.5 hrs.  We enjoyed learning about soap making and each other.  And of course we all had to ooh and aah over each others creations!

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Hummingbird Homestead Soaps will be doing another workshop in the Fall and if you are the least bit curious about creating your own suds, I highly recommend signing up for it. Operation Magpie also offers various DIY classes so check out her site to learn more and I'm sure you'll be hooked on her amazing creations!

Disclaimer: A huge thank you to Hummingbird Homestead Soaps & Operation Magpie for the fabulous class.  I was not compensated for this post and as always, all opinions expressed are my own.

My 3 Wishful #DIY Homestead Projects

Time for more moving procrastination! With a month before we move I find myself daydreaming of all the wonderful things I'm going to do in our new house.  Paint, colour, furniture and design ideas are dancing in my head.  And since we will be moving in the Spring it will be the perfect time to do something with our ample, sun-drenched yard.  Here's a couple things I'm dreaming of doing once we move in, just might have to work on convincing the hubby to help me build them!

3 DIY Homestead Projects

Who doesn't like potatoes? This easy DIY potato box looks like something I could manage and I love that it is vertical and has it's own built in Critter prevention!  And it will be fun to dig out our own taters!
 
Build Your Own Potato Box

Chickens! I'm pretty excited that we can have backyard Chickens! I've always wanted one so I think I'm gonna give it a go.  Just need to convince my husband that it'll be a great idea.  


Backyard Chicken Coop

Raised garden beds are an easy and inexpensive way to transform your lawn into a vegetable producing plot.  I love the idea of using cinder blocks and planting flowers or herbs around the edge!

Raised Garden Bed

Have you got any DIY daydreams?  What's on your Spring creation list?

Cheers,
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Getting Ready for Gardening

With Spring just a day away, I started to get excited about digging in the dirt and getting my garden going.  This year will be a little different than usual as it looks like we'll be moving in May.  So for now, it will be wishful thinking until things firm up with the sale of our house and hopefully a purchase in the near future of a new home .

I really want to grow some veggies this year. I had plans for turning my front yard into a vegetable garden but not sure the new owners would be so keen.  I'm thinking I'll start some seeds and then transplant them to our new home.  But I can't go overboard as we're looking at downsizing and I know I won't have a giant yard.

Here's a great info graphic for starting seeds and when to transplant them.  I need to check out my seed stash and see what I've got so far.  Anything in particular you want to grow and eat this year?

Sow What?

Since our living arrangements are uncertain at the moment I've been looking for creative ways to garden with limited space.

  I love the look of pallets and I have my fingers crossed I can make this in the Spring - small yard or not, I just love it!

Pallet Garden in 7 Easy Steps

And this would be perfect for my Herb Garden!

Vertical Gardening, Clever!

DIY Vertical Planter

And don't forget a little pop of colour too!

Unusual Vertical Garden

Vertical Garden

I can totally see this hanging on the front porch!

Love this

DIY Hanging Planter

Have you started dreaming about Spring?  What's on your To-Do list for your garden this year?  If you're looking for more ideas, check out my Gardening Board on Pinterest!

In Case You Were Wondering....

Warning....this post does contain some rants and complaining.  I apologize in advance.


Some of you may have noticed (or maybe not) that I haven't been as present online as I usually am.  So I just wanted to let you know I'm here, but just a little preoccupied at the moment.

Whoever said "when it rains...." wasn't kidding.  It's a full on shit storm over here right now and all in just the past few days.

We had an Open House on Sunday so I spent the entire weekend cleaning and organizing and then we had to vacate the premises and entertain the kids and dogs for a few hours. On Monday, some people from the Open House wanted to come back and look at the house again.  I guess that's a good thing, but this time they came right at dinner time and stayed for an hour and a half! Again a good sign right? As I'm trying to keep this in mind with 2 tired and hungry kids in tow. Tuesday comes with another showing; I just want to stay home.  Add to this a death in the family on Sunday which seems to have brought up a whole bunch of family tension.  Gotta love family drama! Not to mention, my new job that has me working most of the week.  Daylight Savings has thrown a wrench in the plans, with the girl's schedules getting all messed up.  And then there's March Break! Ahhhhh......

 *Breathe*

Needless to say I haven't been within 10 feet of my computer over the past few days.  I'm only typing this now as I have a few minutes before the kids get up while I'm drinking my coffee and getting ready for work. The upside of feeling overwhelmed and scattered is last night we received a conditional offer on the house! Not the best offer, mind you, but we had a late night meeting with our Realtor to do some hard negotiating. Fingers crossed today that our counter offer is accepted and half of this craziness can end!

So yes...when it rains....it snows!  Oh yeah, did I mention we're getting yet another snow storm today!



I think need to post this on the fridge for a while!  Happy Wednesday everyone!
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A Little Bit of Everything Juice

This afternoon I ventured to the grocery as our fridge was looking rather bare.  It must have been pretty dire as I refuse to go shopping on a Saturday.  Anyway, when I returned with all my loot I realised I needed to make some room in the the refrigerator. 

I had a bunch of fruit and veg that was looking rather sad that needed a new home.  Now it wasn't bad, just not picture perfect.  So I busted out my juicer and go to it!

Lots of washing and chopping later I ended up with 2 large bowls of fruit and veggies ready to hit the juicer. 

Now I don't have a recipe and I can't remember the exact quantities, but I can most certainly tell you it was delicious!  I managed to have a perfect balance between sweet & green.  And I ended up with almost a litre of deliciousness.  So here's my quasi-recipe for my Little Bit of Everything Juice!

 

Little Bit of Everything Juice

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cucumber
  • 2 Celery stalks
  • 4-5 Romaine leaves
  • 3-4 Kale leaves & stems
  • 4-5 Swiss Chard leaves & stems (mine was red)
  • 1 Beet (small to medium-ish)
  • 2 Apples
  • 2 Carrots
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 1 - 2 inch Nub of Ginger
  • 1 Clementine

 

Instructions:

Wash and chop all your fruits and veggies.  And let the juicer do the rest!

I was quite surprised how tasty this was.  So tasty in fact, my toddler chugged my first glass and I had to wait until she was occupied with something else before I could enjoy one myself.

What your favourite way to use up everything in the fridge or pantry? Please share any of your 'kitchen sink' recipes!

Cheers,

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It Must Be a Sign...

It's a sign alright.  For Sale, that is.  The sign on the lawn went up yesterday.  So I guess that means it's official. 

We're moving our homestead!  

You may remember me talking about downsizing last week.  Well, we finally decided to stop talking about it and make it happen.  After cleaning like a crazy lady last week, we had our Realtor come out and take some photos and get our house listed.

It's kind of exciting, but also completely terrifying.  We're not sure where or when we'll be moving, but move we will.  Our plan is to sell our place first and then go shopping.  I REALLY want to move to the country, but I know my husband has reservations.  So here's hoping we can find some common ground and a new place we can call home.

We have an open house this weekend to get things rolling and here's hoping we can get it sold quickly! I think it's going to take everything out of me to try and keep the house clean for showings with 2 kids, 2 dogs, a cat and a husband.  I apologize in advance as there will likely be many posts (rants) about my moving challenges (shit storms) in the coming weeks. 

Feel free to share your own experiences & advice for moving with kids & pets.  Lord knows I could use it!

Cheers,

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Wake Up Energized with 3 Simple Steps

If you're like most people, you don't feel terribly bright-eyed and bushy-tailed when your alarm goes off.  Sometimes I  feel ready to take on the world, but most mornings, after a less than restful sleep, I find myself reaching for the coffee pot in hopes of feeling somewhat awake.  But I have discovered a few easy things to keep me feeling energized without the caffeine.  Try these 3 things each morning and I'm certain you'll be skipping the coffee and getting your groove on in no time!

Wake Up Energized with 3 Simple Steps

Yoga in Bed - don't jump out of bed and run to the shower. Instead take just a couple minutes to allow your body and mind to slowly wake up and get ready for your day.  Try some very simple yoga moves right in your bed to get your blood flowing and awaken your body & spirit.

Warm Lemon Water - before reaching for your coffee or tea, start your day with a large glass of warm lemon water.  Why? Well, firstly, it's a natural energizer! It hydrates and oxygenates and helps nourish your brain and nerve cells with it's potassium content. Lemon water taken early in the morning helps flush out toxins from your body.  The citric acid helps maximize enzyme function, which stimulates the liver and aids in detoxification.  Need more reasons to add this drink to your daily routine? Check out more benefits HERE.

Bite An Apple - yes, you remember your Mother saying: 'an apple a day....' Well, there's some truth to that. The benefits of eating an apple are pretty awesome. It contains fructose which is a natural sugar that can wake you up naturally and help keep you going. They're full of fiber and that energy boost is long and slow so it won't give you a big crash, like your cup of coffee.  They are perfect for a quick breakfast or an on the go boost!

So now your set to tackle your day; here's to feeling awake and awesome!
Wake up and BE AWESOME!!!!!!!!!

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Raffi's Embrace

It all began with a tweet on my feed.  
A tweet on my feed I thought no one would read....




And then something quite magical happened.  Raffi...yes, the actual Raffi tweeted back to me!  I couldn't quite believe it.  And then he sent me a message! Are you serious??  Raffi is on Twitter and is replying to my tweet on a Saturday night?



And that's when this Canadian icon, world famous Children's entertainer asked me if I would like tickets to his Sunday performance! Ummm...YEAH!  I was so envious of my 4 year old as she was going with my in-laws and we were not.  So after a series of tweets and texts between Raffi, his assistant and myself it looked as though Alice, Mike and myself would now be attending his concert.

We arrived a little early to pick up the tickets from the box office at Centennial Hall and I was overflowing with excitement.  When I gave them my name the girl asked me if I had VIP tickets.  I told her I didn't know, but Raffi had set them aside for me.  When she returned with our tickets she told me to wait in our seats after the show and they would come get us. "Do we get to meet Raffi?" I said hesitantly.  "Yes" she replied and went to help the next person in line.

Meet Raffi!! We get to meet Raffi! 

The hall was filled with tons of tiny tykes and loads of parents who had listened to Raffi when they were little. As soon as Raffi came out everyone was taken under his spell.  Moms & tots and Dads & kids were singing and dancing and clapping and completely enveloped in his musical magic. He just has the most wonderful effect on people and children.   You can't resist the joy and love that comes from each of his songs.  I sang to every song and had to hide my tears from a few too.  In a room filled with hundreds of kids, there were no meltdowns or tantrums...everyone was all wrapped up in Raffi's warm embrace.

Even after the concert, we waited around for over an hour to meet him, the kids were surprisingly content and I wasn't the least bit impatient.  We were the last group to have the honour of meeting this lovely man in person.  Alice, who had been fighting to get out of my husbands arms, took one look at him, dropped her soother, smiled & waved and said "Hieeee!" I thought Stella might play a little shy, but she went right up to him and snuggled in and said "Thanks for the music".  I was trying my best to keep it together and not look like a fool in front of Raffi;   I thanked him for the lovely tickets and we chatted a bit. And then it happened...he hugged me goodbye.  It was a warm and genuine embrace and a memory I won't soon forget.



Seeing him as a child was always fun and exciting, but as an adult it now has an entirely new meaning. I feel rejuvenated, uplifted and  peaceful.  My husband said afterwards he's the "Pied Piper of Children".

Raffi is like a beautiful wave of love, peace & acceptance that washes over you; thank you for embracing my family.


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Be Kind


Yesterday I had to stop by FedEx to pick up a package.  The man in front of me was doing the same, but quickly became irate.  He had the wrong tracking number and the girl behind the counter couldn't find his package in the system.  Anyways, things escalated to the point that she told him to step aside or she'd call the police.  I was shaking in my boots.  It was just me and her and this man who was getting out of hand. 

At that point I decided I would say something.  Maybe not the smartest idea, but I did.  I told him to stop yelling at her, she was trying to help and it wasn't her fault.  He then told me it wasn't any of my business.  To which I replied: "It is my business because I'm here and you're being rude!" I don't think he liked that, but he stepped aside while I was being helped.  It felt like an eternity while I waited for the girl to find my package.  I could feel him shooting daggers at me while smoke poured from his ears. Finally, I got my package and got out of there as quick as I could.  For a brief moment I considered calling the cops myself.

When I got home, I was surprised to find a message on my phone from the girl at the FedEx depot.  She was apologizing for the incident and thanked me for what I said. Wow! 

Anyways, I just wanted to share this story in hopes that people will think twice about berating someone.  Yelling and getting abusive doesn't help any situation regardless of who's fault it is.  Remember, we're all people, just trying to get by.  So be kind.

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