view of clouds from the airplane

Seaside Vacation

Every year we make the family pilgrimage to the East Coast–and this was one of the best visits yet. Fresh breezes, rolling hills, hours on the beach, and of course, time with family. It’s always a busy visit, seeing the whole clan, but we insisted on building quiet time into our schedule this year, and were lucky enough to have near perfect weather for most of the trip. Here are a few of the highlights of the simple pleasures we basked in during our vacation:

Our wee boy got some quality puddle time after the morning rain.

Puddle

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Fresh #vegetables ready for #roasting... all in the pursuit of #soup! #whole30 #delicious #tomatoes #garden

Whole30 Week One

We’ve decided to take the Whole30 Challenge to reset our physical health and test our discipline this month, with surprising results. If you’re not familiar, the Whole30 Challenge is 30 days of eating only vegetables, fruit, and clean protein. That means eating grass-fed or pastured meats, free range eggs, and wild-caught seafood, along with plenty of vegetables, fruit, and nuts. (more…)

Stationery letter paper and envelope

Handwritten Letters

This may date me, but I started university before most of my friends had email accounts–I got (and sent) letters by post every day. There is nothing quite like getting a handwritten note, however brief, in the mail. In the age of Twitter, Text, Instagram, and FaceTime, news travels much faster than the good old postal system can compete with. But there is no substitute for a the tactile joy of opening a letter to see the quirky handwriting of a not-so-near dear one.

I lost my pen pal (my maternal grandmother) last year, so the letters that come and go are fewer still. These days, the mail brings mainly online orders and bills (decidedly not fun), but once in while, I’ll get a card, or lovely note from a friend. I still love sending and receiving them, so as my heart begins to heal, I’m starting to put pen to paper again.

I have owed you this letter for a very long time-but my fingers have avoided the pencil as though it were an old and poisoned tool.

– John Steinbeck

 

Writing a handwritten note isn’t always as easy as one would think, though. It can be daunting to figure out what to say, for somehow it matters more when it’s committed to paper than when sent whirring through cyberspace. But I’ve come up with a few reminders for myself when I’m having difficulty getting the words out. (more…)

Gobblet Board Game

Family Board Games

Not too long ago, a friend asked for a recommendation for a list of fantastic family board games. We LOVE board games, and have quite a handy stack, so I thought I’d share a list of our favourites. Some of these classics you’ll have heard of before, but several were new to us, and have become quite beloved in our house. (more…)

crispy fish tacos

Easy Weeknight Crispy Fish Tacos

This is a perfect weeknight meal for our family–it’s quick, easy, tasty, and we get to assemble it ourselves, which also makes it customizable and fun for the kids. We live near a market where we can buy these tiny little tortillas, which we love, but you could use larger soft tacos easily.

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tall stacks of paper too much work

Work Life Balance – Strategies for Juggling It All

How, just how does it all get done? When you have a demanding job, a busy family, and never quite enough sleep, how do you keep it together? Work Life Balance is a thing, folks, and we all want it.

There is no easy answer to this, other than, well, sometimes it doesn’t all get done. But there are some strategies that can help as we tackle our massive days without losing our minds, and still have time to enjoy some quality time with our loved ones.

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Thumb print easy easter craft Thumb Bunny Loves You!

Easy Easter Craft

It was the biggest shiny blinking thing on my To Do List this Easter weekend: a simple craft with the kids. Crafts can be messy, overwhelming, and not terribly conducive to a minimalist lifestyle, so I work within pretty trim parameters, but we managed to squeeze a really adorable easy Easter craft into our schedule this morning, before heading off to the park for the first really amazing Spring day.

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Pink Tulips

Fresh Flowers

There are always flowers for those that want to see them.
– Henri Matisse

There is nothing quite like a vase of fresh flowers to elevate a space. Whether they grace the kitchen table, bathroom vanity, a tiny cubicle office desk or a bedside table, flowers remind us of the world we live in: splendid, beautiful, fragile.

Spring feels a bit closer here in Toronto–the snow is nearly gone, there are some warm and encouraging breezes, but we’re still a long way off from buds and foliage. In the meantime, I’ve got lovely waxflowers on my desk at work, and tulips on the sideboard at home.

pale pink waxflowers

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cigarette butt litter on the ground

Spring Litter

As we edge our way into Spring, we’re all subject to the thawing of the Winter’s woes—including, in our city, several metric tonnes of cigarette butts. I’m so shocked that good citizens who would never ever consider throwing trash on the ground still insist on littering cigarette butts. The filters, once the cigarettes are smoked, are loaded with toxins (that’s the point of them, I think) and they sit on our lawns, get picked up by toddlers, eaten by dogs and birds, and get washed into our water system. It is such a preventable, wasteful mark of disrespect for our groaning planet.

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First time blood donor sticker

Blood Lines

I’ve been waiting a very, very long time to be able to post this—I’m thrilled to announce that I can now, and in fact just did, donate blood. Some of you have been doing this for years—I’m so proud of you. Some of you are scared—I hear you. Some of you never really thought about it—I appeal to you.

rightnow

While I’ve never considered myself squeamish—I’m Tough! Really!—I was most definitely a fainter when needles were involved. I can’t count the number of times I have passed out before, during, or after routine blood tests. I get regular injections of B12—those needles were never a problem, neither were the many immunizations I’ve received over the years. But a few things conspired to prevent me being an ideal donor—small things like a brief bout of anaemia, low B12, some time living in the UK during University—and  the fainting spells. Well, I’m over it.

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