Friday, 28 November 2014

A Story I Will Never Forget

I love to read but having two young children does not give me a lot of opportunity to do so. Rarely do I ever go to bed without flipping through the pages of a book, this is my "book" time.  Because I have so little time to read it has to be a great book that can pull me in for short amounts of time.

Well I have to share with you a book that did more than just keep my attention. This book captivated me and left me thinking about it most of the day. It took me down dark tunnels I did not think a human could ever bare to go.The book is titled "A House in the Sky" and is written by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett.

This memoir tells the heroic true story of Amanda Lindhout's fifteen months spent captive in Somalia, the most dangerous place on earth at the time. The book takes you on the most incredible journey of survival, strength and determination. The story Amanda shares is amazing!

The way this book made me feel was very similar to "Room", by Emma Donoghue, which is another great read that I would  highly recommend.

If you are looking for a crazy good page turner "A House in the Sky" is the book for you. Amanda proves that the human spirit cannot be broken, even in the darkest of times.

This is one story I will never forget.
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Let it Snow!

My family and I are currently snowed into our home and by the looks of things we are not going anywhere anytime soon. A nor'easter has left most of the maritime's covered in large amounts of snow. Luckily we do have power, I have heard that most of city is without it.

I saw this on someone's Facebook page this morning and I could not help but share this with you all. There is nothing we can do about the snow so as Elsa would say, "Let It Go". Hope you all enjoy this snowy wintery day!


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

My Moroccan Inspired Veggie Stew

This is one of those stew recipes that you can use whatever you have on hand, kind of like my veggie chili. This stew is the perfect meal for a cool winter day. It is loaded with lots of healthy root veggies and spices. Tumeric has wonderful antioxidant properties and helps support liver function. It also helps clean up metabolic waste from our bodies. It is also said to help ward off colds and flu. (Bonus!)

Cinnamon is good for regulating blood sugars. (I actually put this in my coffee most mornings). It is another powerful antioxidant that helps protect the body against free radicals.
This stew is not only healthy but is very hearty and has that great Moroccan flavor. I can't seem to get enough of it, I have been eating it like crazy for the last week! Follow the recipe and you'll know why. I know I have been posting soups like a crazy lady but I can't help it, it's what I enjoy in the colder months. I am the soup queen!

2 medium onions cut into bite size pieces or leeks washed and chopped.
1 Tbs EVO
1 cup of chopped carrots, turnip and butternut squash.
1 large sweet potato peeled and chopped
1 carton of chicken or veggie broth
1 large can of diced tomatoes
1 can of chickpeas
1 Tbs of tumeric
1 Tbs of harrisa spice blend (PC black label is what I used)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

In a large heavy bottomed pot saute onions with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 5-7 minutes. Add remaining veggies and cook for a few more minutes. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Lower heat, cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the cover and cook for an additional 20 -30 minutes until stew thickens up. Serve and enjoy and feel great about all the healthy goodness you put into your body!

Monday, 24 November 2014

Brighter Days Ahead

You may recall a month or so ago I did a post about the dark wooden wall in our living room. I knew it needed to be brightened but was feeling conflicted on whether to whitewash or to paint the wall. After posting the question the majority thought painting it would go best with our existing motif. Majority won, and paint it we did!

Here is the newly painted wall (and the shelf I will mention later).

DIY shelf

To refresh, here was the before. It is so much brighter and modern looking now.
I also decided that I wanted two shelf's to display multiple frames installed over the couch. My multi-talented amazing husband glued, nailed, primed and painted the shelf's and then securely attached it to the wall. I am so pleased with the final product. Not only does it eliminate me putting a bunch of holes in the wall but it gives me the flexibility to switch it up throughout the years.

Here is a good picture of the shelf's.

We also picked up this round coffee table off of kijij. It wasn't in the greatest condition when we bought it but we gave it some TLC, a fresh coat of paint and it's as good as new. When the girls were born we opted for more space and got rid of our rectangular table. Now that they are older we decided to go with a circular one which has been great for board game night.

white round coffee table

Finally my vision is our reality and I couldn't be happier.
What do you think?

Friday, 21 November 2014

Dear H&M

I recently visited your store which is nothing out of the usual, I love the selection, prices and styles. I am a huge fan of H&M clothing don't get me wrong but... one really important thing was missing and is actually always missing when I go there, CUSTOMER SERVICE. Yes, finally off my chest. H&M has some of the worst customer service I have ever experienced!

I walk into the store and am not greeted, but rather avoided. If I do happen to see an employee they seem to make every effort not to make eye contact with me at all. I think I would  fall over if someone in H&M actually asked if I needed any help.

A few nights ago I grabbed a few things to try on and happily made my way to the change room. I stood there for a few minutes hoping someone would come along to take me into a change room. I obviously wanted to try things on but I did not see a soul. After a few minutes I decided to go in by myself. Once in the change room I tried on my items. One item was a bit small but I really liked it and wanted to try it in a bigger size. I stuck my head out of the change room hoping to get another size but again could not find anyone to help me. So...... what did I do?  I got all dressed, grabbed my bags and went all the way out to the store to get a larger size and came back to the deserted change room again. Still no one even batted an eye at me. What the ****!

I really don't get it, why is the service so terrible? Is service not important to the company? Do you intentionally skip this step in the training process, are you told not to help? Seriously though what is up with the bad service?

Yours truly,

A low maintenance, unappreciated, long-term H&M customer.

Will I continue to shop there? Heck ya, but I just want to know ...... does anyone else notice the lack of service around here?

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Sephora Brow Pencil

Sephora has done a great job with this brow product. Prior to this I was using the Anastasia brow wiz and really liked it too but.... not so crazy about the price tag ($27, I believe). I did some research and read mostly glowing reviews about Sephora's equivalent product. Sephora's retractable brow pencil  is almost $10 less so I ordered it on a whim and boy am I ever glad I did.
This formula is fantastic and the color I choose (rich chestnut) works perfect for me. I think I will continue to save $10 and opt for the cheaper over the more pricier. If you are on the fence about trying this product, take my word for it, it's great!

SEPHORA COLLECTION - Retractable Brow Pencil - Waterproof
Who doesn't want to save a few bucks?

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

Every month or so we plan a girls night out. Sometimes it's at a restaurant, other times it's at one of our houses. Where we end up doesn't really matter, what matters is we are together. It's a night that I always look forward to. This is a great group of gals that I have known for what feels like forever. They are the type of friends that no matter how much time spans between our visits we always pick up right where we left off.

This past weekend the girls get together was at my place. We wined and dined ourselves silly. I feel so lucky to have these girls in my life and I know that they will always be there no matter what. We may be at different stages in our lives but we are bound by a friendship that is strong enough to last a lifetime. You girls are the best! (including those that could not make it) Love yas!

Here are some picks from the evening:

Here we are trying out the holiday Bite re-mix lip crayons I posted earlier.

Moral of the story......always make time for your girlfriends!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Salted Caramel Apple Cups

What do you get when you cross apple crumble with an apple pie? Salted caramel apple cups! Seriously though, these are so good and relatively easy to make. I kind of cheated and bought caramel sauce and added a bit of sea salt but I can imagine it would be even better if you had the time to make it yourself. I served them warm with a scoop of ice cream after Sunday supper. Big hit in our house.
1 Tablespoon butter
1 cup peeled and chopped apples
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup (1 stick), melted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
Salted Caramel Sauce:
20 caramels (about 5.5 oz), unwrapped
1 Tablespoon cream (or water)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 Tablespoons butter, slightly softened
6 Tablespoons flour
4 Tablespoons brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. Do not use paper liners, they will stick.
For the Apples: In a small skillet, melt the 1 tablespoon of butter and add the apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cook for about 3 minutes or until apples are slightly tender. They don't have to be cooked all the way through because they will continue cooking in the oven. Remove apples from heat and set aside.
For the Batter: In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Add the flour and mix until combined. Set aside.
For the Caramel: In a microwave safe bowl, place the caramels and cream and heat for 60-90 seconds or until melted. Stir in the salt and set aside.
For the Crumble: In a small bowl, mix the butter, flour, and brown sugar with a pastry blender or by hand until mixture resembles course sand.
For Assembly: Add about 2 Tablespoons of batter to each muffin tin - 12 muffin tins total. Spoon about 1-2 teaspoons of apples on top. Drizzle about 1-2 teaspoons of caramel on top making sure to not touch the edges of the tin. Sprinkle the top with an even layer of crumble.
Bake for 13-16 minutes or until tops are slightly golden. Let cups cool in the muffin tin. Use a knife to loosen the edges before removing. Serve room temperature or warm. If not serving right away they can easily be warmed by heating in the microwave for 30 seconds.They are great with ice cream. Makes 12 cups.
Source: The Girl Who Ate Everything Original

It may seem like a lot of steps but was really no time to put it all together!
Hope you enjoy!

Friday, 14 November 2014

Dry Shampoo

I wanted to share with you a new product on my shelf. I recently picked up Schwarzkopf's got2b rocking it dry shampoo ($3.99 on sale) and I have to say I am quite impressed. Not only does this product help put life back into my second day hair, but the smell is not crazy overpowering like many other dry shampoo's I have tried. So far I am really happy with this product, it does what it says it does and it leaves my hair feeling refreshed. 

I prefer Schwarzkopf's over Tresemme and Dove's dry shampoo. What is your go-to dry shampoo?

Looking to snag a few extra zzzz's in the morning? Grab this, skip the shower and your good to go!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Potato Leek Soup

This is one of my all time favorite soups ever. I am a huge potato lover so this is right up my alley. This recipe is so easy to make in yet so hearty and satisfying. It is a wonderful fall and winter soup! It also freezes really well and is great served with a some crumbled bacon and dollop of sour cream. Yummmm.....
8 cups of Chicken Stock
6 russet potatoes peeled and cut into large pieces
4 leeks (whites only) thoroughly washed and sliced
3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup of heavy cream  (although I made it a bit lighter by only using 1/2 cup of cream and 1/2  cup of 2% milk)

Put the chicken stock, potatoes, leeks, celery, bay leaf and thyme in a large pot and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Boil until the potatoes are soft, 15-20 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Pour the soup in a medium pot and add the cream (or milk) and simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes.

Bon Appetite!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Remembrance Day

Today is a day that I reflect upon the amazing people that served and continue to serve our country. 

Today is the day that I bow my head in silence to honor the many sacrifices that were made.

Today is the day I show my love, appreciation and respect to those that fought and fight for the freedom we have today. 

Today is the day I shed a tear when I hear the last post. 

Today is Remembrance Day, a day we remember the more that 1,500,000 Canadians that served throughout our nations history and the more than 118,000 who made the ultimate sacrifice.(source) 
Lest we forget.
May peace and love be with you today and always!

Friday, 7 November 2014

Fall Fog

I have to admit that I have been in a bit of a funk lately. It is really nothing new for me and I’m sure I am not alone in saying this. This time of year just seems to suck every ounce of everything out of me. When the days start to get shorter and air cooler I kind of go into hibernation mode. I find myself tired no matter how much sleep I get and the dark mornings make it torturous to peel myself out of bed 

The clocks did just go back so this has made things a tiny bit better overall, but I am still feeling the fall fog (as I like to call it).
Do you feel this way too? What do you do to overcome the fall fog?

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you feel more alive during the colder months:
-Go to bed earlier, your body needs more sleep in the colder months. 
-Eat seasonal vegetables, like squash, sweet potatoes and turnip. There is evidence that suggests that your body gets more out of certain vegetables when eaten in season. Fall and winter veggies are perfect in soups and stews. (break out that crock pot folks). This time of year people tend to crave carbohydrates but eating them will only make your energy levels crash later on. Stick to foods that give you energy like veggies, lean protein and nuts.
-Drinks lots of water (natures gold). The air in the colder months is much dryer which can dehydrate  your skin and lips etc. Not drinking enough water can lead to fatigue as well. 
-Exercise and keep stress at bay as much as possible. Try to get outside every day for a walk etc. Get a warm jacket and boots and learn to embrace the cold. As the days become shorter we absorb fewer rays, but even on a cloudy days UV rays will stimulate your body to make vitamin D which is fuel for your brain. Light therapy may be an option for people that work day time hours and drive to and from work in the dark.
-Find a hobby or something that stimulates your brain (pull your self away from that TV). Pick up a good book or take a cooking class. Find your creatively.

-Schedule fun things to do. The anticipation will keep your spirits up.  

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Best Bite Remix - Holiday Kit

I am sure you are well aware x-mas is just around the corner. Yup, 49 days till ol’ Saint Nick comes down the chimney once again. This time of year I always look forward to seeing what gift sets various brands come out with. I recently picked up the bite beauty holiday mini set. I am a huge fan of this natural lip company already so I did not have to think too hard before deciding whether or not I should purchase it(wink).
The set comes with four high pigmented jumbo retractable lip pencils, which make for a super easy application. They come packaged in a tin box with a mirror on the inside that allows you to take it on the go. The colors included are Sable, which is a rosy nude, Pomegranate which is a rose berry, Rhubarb a plum rose (perfect for fall) and certainly not least, Winterberry which is a very festive raspberry red.
I think this is the perfect kit that will take you through fall and winter and all of your holiday events. They are extremely long lasting and made from food grade ingredients so you know they are safe to use. Another great bonus is the pencil tip allows you to apply it like a pro. 
Here are some great ideas for Santa to throw into the stockings this year. They sell for $15 each. Click here for more $15 options from bite.
Bite Beauty - Mix NBite Beauty - Mix N
Did you know Bite is made is Canada?

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Turkey Meatball Veggie Soup

This weekend I was on a bit of a soup binge. I know what your thinking, pretty wild weekend eh? What can I say the coolness in the air brings out the wild soup side of me, lol.

I made two different kinds of soups, one being the turkey meatball veggie and the other I will share later into the week. With the snow that was dumped on us yesterday (YUP) you might be in need of a good soup to warm your heart and hopefully melt the snow (wink).

I found this recipe on Skinny Taste which is a great blog to find lighten up versions of your favorite recipes.  This soup is so fresh and hearty and full of goodness. We loved it!

Sunday, 2 November 2014

More DIY Wall Art

As I mentioned in a earlier post, I have been tapping into some of my creativity to come up with some unique, pretty and of course cool artwork to display on some blank walls. This is one of which I came up with.

So how did I do this? Well..... I started with a canvas frame that I pick up from the dollar store. I then took the canvas and glued several pieces of scrapbook paper onto it. I made sure to thoroughly glue each piece down very well. Once the glue was dry I took some vinyl letters that I picked up from Walmart and stuck them where I wanted on the picture.

This is a different one I did but it gives you an idea of this step. For the one pictured above I actually glued a piece of old sheet music onto the canvas and then painted over top lightly so you could still see the music.

After the vinyl letter are where you want them you can than spray paint the entire picture. You may want to do two coats depending on the effect you want to accomplish. The top one took two coats and the bottom one I just used one.

Once the paint is completely dry you can go ahead and carefully peel off the letters and voila, cheap art!

Hope you all have a very wonderful Sunday!