Thursday, 31 December 2015

New Year’s Resolutions

I do not make any, just to make my life simpler. When the time is right and I really want to do something and make changes I go for it. Otherwise it is just setting myself for failure. At this time of the year I could lose a couple of pounds but that does not mean I am signing up at the gym only to forgo it in 2 months’ time. That is how long most new gym memberships last.

I am not saying do not make resolutions. By all means DO but be realistic and specific.

I have always said that (if I made them), my resolutions would start in February; once I have eaten all the holiday goodies. See, that is realistic approach.

New Year is upon us, and in some places it already is 2016!!! 

I hope it will bring you all lots of happiness and opportunities for fulfillment!

Do you make resolutions and keep them? 

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Share the Joy, Share the Spirit

As we are nearing Christmas Day, wrapped up in the last minute tasks, let’s take a little break to look around us. There may not be much time to volunteer one’s time but there are still many ways we can share the spirit of the season. 

When I think of Christmas I have this picture in my mind of a family gathered around the table, singing carols, tree shimmering and a snow falling outside. (No, there is no fireplace because even in my imagination someone has to clean it).
I know I am a dreamer.  I cannot help it. I love Christmas and I do not mind the work that goes with the holidays. For me it is worth it. 
That is why I think it is important to share with others what I can. I may not be able to provide someone with loving home but certainly will contribute to them having a nice meal or a safe place to stay.

There are many worthy charities that need our support all year round and now is a good  time to pick one to donate too.
You may want to drop of a toy at local toy drive, there are food collections at grocery stores, monetary donations can be made online. Check your closets and give any unwanted clothing to a local charity store.

It is really simple and will be a gratifying to know that you have helped someone in need. There are many ways in which we can be charitable and it does not have to be at a high expense.

Being kind and patient is totally free!

Just to give you an idea what organizations I support:;; and

Do you have a favorite charity to support?

Thursday, 17 December 2015

 How to make Salt Dough Ornaments and Gift Tags

Are you having too much time on your hands? Let’s get busy. This is great activity for kids. 
A few years ago we made a bunch of ornaments using animal shapes. Kids had fun painting them all kinds of crazy designs.

My salt dough recipe is:
1 cup flour, sifted
1 cup fine salt
½ cup water
For great smelling, faux gingerbreads, add 1 teaspoon of gingerbread spice
Or 1 teaspoon of cinnamon just for the colour.

You can make 26-30 larger ornaments (have a look at the picture to get an idea).

Mix the ingredients. Knelt the dough for 10 min. or as long as you can so it is really smooth.

Roll the dough out to about ¼” (5 mm) thick. I use silicon mat to prevent sticking. You may lightly flour the rolling pin or place the dough in between two thick poly folders, than roll it out.
If you like use small twigs, leaves of cedar wood or a doily to press the design.

Cut out desired shapes and place on aluminum foil (shiny side up) lined cookie sheet.  
Make holes large enough for you twine or ribbon. Remember that the dough will expand slightly and the holes will become smaller after drying. You can also use gardeners wire to make loops. Just cut ½” long pieces, make loop with pliers on one end and insert the straight end into the ornament.

Preheat oven to 200 F (90C). Dry ornaments for 30 min, than increase temperature 280F (140C) and dry for another hour. The last 10-15 minutes open the oven door a bit to let the moisture out.
It is important to let the ornaments dry well. Do not raise the temperature too much as the dough will raise and may burn.
Let cool completely before painting.

Use acrylic paints. After the paint dries, brush with Mod Podge of spray with acrylic lacquer. This will help moisture from penetrating and will preserve the ornaments.

Have fun and get creative. It is quick, easy and not messy activity. 
Let me know what you have made.

Monday, 14 December 2015

After Party Re-Energizing Shake

Every time I attend a party I know that next day is going to be hard. Mostly because usually I do not stay up late, try not to eat late and when I miss my bed time I have trouble sleeping.
This green smoothie is one of my favorites and I try to make it at least couple times per week. It is an energy bomb in a glass. 

Re-Energzing Green Smoothie
Time: 10 min  Serves: 6

2 cups kale
1 cup parsley
3 celery stalks
½ lemon juiced
1 avocado
1 ripe pear
1 cup ice
2 cups water (or use 3 cups cold water)

Blend all the ingredients until smooth. Add more water if too thick. It can be stored in the fridge for 2 days.

This shake is rich in vitamins and minerals. Parsley helps to flush the toxins from the body. Lemon provides Vit. C and leaves alkaline residue in our digestive tract. Why this is important you can read in this post
Kale has plenty of potassium, calcium and Vit. B and is great for heart health. Also celery is potassium and Vit. B6 rich. Potassium is necessary for the heart and kidneys to work properly.
If you would like to make a juice with these ingredients, you can but you should drink it within a couple of hours of being made. I like blending my greens because it can be stored for up to 2 days in the fridge and none of the fibre is being wasted.
It makes for a wonderful start to any day, not only after the party.

Enjoy! Do you have a favorite rejuvenating shake?

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Tips on how to enjoy the food and stay slim this holiday season.

With all the holiday parties, gifts of sweets and at home baking I can already fill the tightening of my clothes. Perhaps I should find some with more spandex in them?

It does not have to be that way, which, unfortunately, means practicing self-restraint. I just wish it came in a pill. Don't you?
Developing self-restraint on my own is quite challenging.

When I think of all the work that I need to put in every year into losing the extra weight and getting the energy back I have decided I'd rather to skip a cookie or two or five. 
If you have a sweet tooth you know how it goes.

So this is how I am approaching this year’s celebrations.
  1. Do not go hungry to the party. Do not skip lunch and bring a healthy snack if going straight from work.
  2. Stay away from eggnog – at 380 cal it is a caloric bomb. A glass of white wine in 100 calories. Much better choice.
  3. Drink a lot of water with lemon. It keeps you hydrated, fills up and lemon helps with detoxing.
  4. Practice self-restraint – cut portions by 30 %. It is not huge difference per serving but at the end of the night you will feel much lighter. It also stops you from mindless eating.
  5. The day after party – start with green smoothie – to cleanse and energize.
  6. Keep the meals light outside of parties.

Seems like a reasonable plan. What do you think?  

Friday, 4 December 2015

Dear Santa! The High and the Low Wish Lists.

Just in case things are a bit tight at The North Pole my letter comes in two versions. Better be safe than sorry, right?
Kids do not need much encouragement to write their letters. My daughter started thinking of what she wants is late September! Talk about being keen!
I wish adults wrote theirs as well, don’t you? (Especially the low budget option). Santa’s work would have been much, much easier than.

1. This red heart just screams Christmas, $249.00 CAD
2. For years I wanted SMEG fridge, I will settle for a kettle $159.00 CAD
3. Wireless USB – now this is progress –price varies depending on memory, 128 GB around $100. 00 CAD
4. Finally a dryer that helps reduce frizz with an attachment for curly hair! $213.00 CAD
5. Cannot get enough of this fragrance $ 150.00 CAD and up
6. Very elegant and understated, just the way I like it. $1995.00 CAD
7. DKNY Red Leather Tote would make dreary winter much brighter $179.00 USD
8.  You can make all the fancy coffees in the world, there is a burr grinder built in and most importantly this machine CLEANS ITSELF –no more work! This one feature makes it worth the price.

9. You will have these for life. Peugeot Salt and Pepper wood grinders $90.00 to 150.00 CAD depending on the size

1. I met Agie at a craft show. She offers great selection of good quality silver jewelry that you can have personalized. She has an online store as well. This Erin bracelet is $52.00CAD
2.  I love this Metalic Red Kettle from Betty Crocker $49.99 CAD
3. This Minion USB makes great stocking stuffer for both adults and kids $19.99 CAD
4. You do not need high heat to quickly dry your hair. This one prevents damage! Coolway Go Pro Dryer $ 89.99 CAD
5.  Euphoria Blossom - Calvin Klein 30ml $45.00
6. So Chic, Jeannie Lottie GEORGIA $128.00
7.  Gold and black necklace $995.00 CAD
8. No frills, powerful at 15 bars, espresso machine $300. 00 CAD
9. Cole & Mason ‘Morley Crank’ Salt & Pepper Mill Set $34.99 CAD each

This is not a sponsored post, the items that made it on the list are either things that I have and enjoy or would really like to get.  (Are you listening Santa?)

I hope you enjoyed my picks. What would you like to get this year?