Things I Love: Pumpkins

I love this time of year. Crisp air, colorful trees and pumpkins! We just picked out some pumpkins to carve for Halloween and I could not be more thrilled. What fun that we get to carve pumpkins! And after I always roast the seeds – they’re SO good! ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m still searching for the perfect image to use when carving my pumpkin. I need something not so detailed I won’t be able to do but also not so simple it looks like a 5 year old did it. I’m thinking about getting some new tools this year that allow to make those more fine cuts that are impossible with a regular paring knife. I can’t wait! ๐Ÿ™‚

If you have any good templates please send me an email!

Things I Love: Sunshine

I thought I would take a break from the usual type of “Things I Love” posts to talk about something so basic I often take it for granted. It’s the sun! And it’s beautiful warming rays on our skin and earth. I feel so blessed in the summer when it’s warm and sunny outside. Everything feels better after a little sunshine! Here is Canada we have such long cold winters and even though it’s often sunny in the winter, it’s still really cold. I’m so thankful for year round sun but especially in the summer when it’s warm and lovely outside and I never want the season to end! Is anyone else as sun obsessed as I am? Sometimes I wonder if I was meant to live in a sun soaked city like LA or Palm Springs. Now I’m not sure I could handle that sort of heat, but my oh my, what a treat it would be to be sitting by the pool in December! For now I will just have to plan holidays there. Tell me readers, how do you feel about sunshine and where do you recommend I explore for the ultimate sun soaked retreat?!

Things I love: Stovetop Popcorn

One of my favorite treats to make for my family is stovetop popcorn. We used to have it all the time as a kid, but somewhere along the line I stopped making it and got used to the microwave kind. In a pinch it will do, but nothing compares to real popcorn made on the stove! The best part is that it’s so easy and you probably already have everything you need on hand.

A big pot, oil, popcorn kernels, and your choice of toppings – I like butter and salt.

Pretty easy right?

For a long time I could never remember how to to make it because I made it so infrequently but now I have it down pact:

Put a big pot on the stove over medium heat (I do mine at 6 on our stovetop). Add a couple tablespoons of oil (I use coconut). Add 4 popcorn kernels and close the lid. Wait for kernels to pop then remove them. Now the oil is hot enough to add more kernels! I usually do 1/2 cup which is enough for 3-4 people. Add 1/2 cup of kernels to the hot oil and replace lid. Remove pot from stovetop and shake pot back and forward to coat all kernels in oil for 30 seconds. Put back on the stove at same temperate as before (6). Let kernels pop and shake pot occasionally so nothing burns. Once the kernels stop popping it’s time to remove the pot and turn off the heat. Empty pot into bowls et voila! Add your favorite topping and you’re done!

Isn’t that easy! It may sounds like a lot of steps but once you do it a couple times you’ll see how easy and intuitive it is. Try this out the next time you’re craving a nighttime snack!

Things I Love: Fresh Produce

Nothing beats fresh produce from the garden. I am so pleased with my crop this year – it’s now September and I’m still pulling goodies out of the garden! I’ve been able to feed my family produce from the garden all summer including fruit and vegetables like lettuce, kale, cucumber, green beans, carrots, asparagus, tomatoes, potatoes, dill, basil, parsley, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and more!

It’s so satisfying growing your own food and providing for your family that way. I still buy some produce from the grocery store that I can’t grow myself like bananas, peppers and avocados, but my grocery bill has gone way down! I’ve been canning and pickling lots of items too so we can enjoy them in the winter once my garden is covered in snow. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Next year I’d like to try building a green house with my hubby so I can get started on some seeds early like for tomatoes. My store bought tomato plants didn’t produce very big tomatoes this year but we had some weird cold spurts so I’m wondering if that’s the issue. If I had a nice greenhouse I could start my tomatoes from seeds and get those started earlier in the year. Though in Calgary we get chinooks which can mean sudden snow in June so I always worry about things like that ruining my crop!

One of my neighbors is Italian and knows so much about gardening so I always ask him for advice. He swears by his greenhouse and he even offered me some of his tomato seeds which produced the biggest most juicy tomatoes this year! I’m excited to grow my garden year after year and try new veggies. I’ve always wanted to get chickens to lay eggs but that would really drive the hubby nuts! Maybe in a few years. ๐Ÿ™‚

Things I love: Gardening

Itโ€™s that time of year again! When the sunshine comes out to play and the ground has finally thawed, itโ€™s time to take out my box of gardening tools and seeds and get to work on making mother nature flourish outside my window!

So, I am one of the super lucky ones in my neighbourhood to have a pretty decent garden to work with. I have 3 raised beds with an irrigation systems which makes it super easy and convenient to keep things watered. Iโ€™ve even set it up to water my garden automatically the same time every day โ€“ namely once at 7pm and again at midnight!

Anyway, I had to start things off by weeding my raised beds. They had become a bit unruly over the fall and winter. After a couple hours work of that, I started tilling the soil with one of my tools. Before long, the ground was nice and fluffy again. And thatโ€™s when itโ€™s time for the seeds!

I am a huge fan of salads, especially since I started my paleo diet. So, I planted an entire raised bed full of lettuce, with some calendula flowers here and there for colour. You may not know this but calendula is this lovely orange flower with edible petals that is awesome in salad! It is apparently super good for you and also for your skin.

Anyway, everything was planted in seed form so it will take a few months before I see anything substantial happening. But as the salad starts to grow I will โ€œthinโ€ the rows out by harvesting every second salad. Doing that will give some great baby salad leaves to enjoy in my salads over the next few weeks while also giving the salads that stay in the ground more room to keep growing. Total win-win for all involved!

I planted my second raised bed full of tomato plants. I bought these from the store in plant form and planted them in the bed โ€“ given that the growing season isnโ€™t super long, this made more sense than starting them afresh from seeds. That way I will hopefully have a few pails of tomatoes come September!

I filled my last raised bed up with a variety of wild flower seeds. I love wild flowers, and I love decorating my home with them โ€“ so this raised bid will keep me stocked with lovely flowers throughout the summer. There is nothing like a splash of colour to brighten your home!

So there you have it, that was my day in the garden! Iโ€™m excited to keep you all updated on my garden as it grows. Stay tuned! ๐Ÿ™‚

Things I Love: Natural Cleaning Products

When my son first started crawling, he opened the cupboard under the sink and pulled out a bottle of nasty chemical all purpose cleaner. Luckily I caught it right away before there could have been an emergency, but ever since that day I vowed to remove all chemical cleaners from my house to keep my son and family safe.

At first it was challenging because there weren’t many non-toxic cleaning products on the market that did as good of a job as the chemical ones. Over the years, some companies have found the secret and now my go to natural cleaning brand is Method. I find all of their products work very well (especially for cleaning the tub and toilet, a couple of the worst offenders!) and they also have great scents – think lemon and lavender.

The best part is that I don’t have to worry about my son around these products and to boot they’re good for the environment. A nice bonus is that the packaging is pleasing to the eye, so if you leave your hand or dish soap on the counter, you won’t be embarrassed by it. The hand soap adds a nice splash of color to our ensuite bathroom actually!

If you are looking for non-toxic cleaning products that actually work, I highly recommend checking out Method. In Canada you can find it in most stores, but I usually look for sales at Shoppers Drug Mart or London Drugs.

Hatchimal Christmas Surprise!

So, like lots of other parents out there, we got our son a Hatchimal for Christmas. Boy, he sure loved it! What a great idea for a toy. It basically works by interacting with you, right from the beginning. When you touch and rub the egg and give it attention, the little creature inside starts to stir. Keep it up, and eventually it will start poking its little beak through the egg in an effort to hatch!

Some aspects of the toy aren’t perfect – for example, our Hatchimal had trouble pecking his way out of his shell and needed some help from us – but in general this is a pretty awesome toy.

This may be one of the best parts of parenthood – getting to relive your childhood and play with all of your kids’ toys!! ๐Ÿ™‚


Things I Love: Moscow Mule Copper Mugs

This year I got an awesome birthday present from one of my friends: a gorgeous set of these Moscow Mule copper mugs. She had them shipped directly to me with a lovely card – what a great friend!

I am a huge fan of a well-made cocktail, and over the years I’ve gravitated towards the Moscow mule, which is a delicious drink with a spicy side (which comes from the ginger beer which is used as an ingredient).

Interestingly, no Moscow Mule drink is complete without being poured and served in a pure copper mug. This is because the copper keeps the drink perfectly chilled, and also adds a hint of flavor. In short, if you want the real thing, you’ve got to have it in a copper mug.

For a long time the only place we could enjoy Moscow Mules was at the bar, where they they had copper mugs in which to serve the drink. However, we now have our own set of six at home, which means the good times keep on flowing at a much lower cost!

The website for my brand of Moscow Mule copper mugs has a great recipe for making the traditional mule drink! Check it out and enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

Things I Love: Bone Broth

Hi everyone! I recently started making and feeding my family bone broth, which I learned is excellent for your health! Here is an awesome recipe from Wellness Mama!

Bone broth is incredibly healthy, and a very cheap way to improve your diet! Bone broth, which is also commonly known as stock, is a mineral and nutrient rich infusion created by boiling bones of animals along with a combination of vegetables, herbs, and spices. Interestingly, bone broth, or stock, is routinely used in some of the best restaurants in the world to flavor dishes. Turns out, that practice is also excellent for your health.

Bone broth is known to improve the immune system, improve digestion, and is very high in calcium and magnesium As a result, it is great for bone and teeth health. Using bone broth also supports healthy joints, hair, skin, and nails.

I prefer to make bone broth from beef bones, but there are plenty of other options, including bison, lamb, poultry, and fish.

Wellness Mama has a great recipe which I have used time and time again with great success. Check it out, I’m sure you’ll love it!