Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NaBloPoMo Day 30: The End is Here


The end of NaBloPoMo, that is!
NaBloPoMo 
2011
Yes, another November has flown by. Another NaBloPoMo accomplished.

Though writing a post a day for an entire month has been a good way for me to come to certain realizations about myself and has awakened thoughts inside of me, I have to say that I think I will return to my regular one post every few days. Thank you very much.

What I've learned:

I need to vent more. I've always reserved my venting, ranting, and expressing gripes and grievances. Why? Well, I've always felt that no one wants to listen to a complainer. I don't like listening to negative people all the time. This said, I've learned that it's okay to sometimes express yourself even if your opinion is not always positive. Let's face it. We can't always be positive and happy all the time. Sometimes we need to let things out. Otherwise we'd explode.

I need to chill out. I have to reassess my priorities. Do I want to obsess about a clean  house all the time? This is something that I've been trying to work on for years. I'm constantly cleaning, disinfecting, tidying, rearranging...and if something isn't the way I expect it to be, I get stressed out. My daughter needs and wants me to spend more time with her and less time cleaning. It struck me the other day when she started crying, "Mama! Don't wash dishes! Don't wash dishes! You're always washing dishes!"
I keep saying that time spent with my Little One is so very important and that I don't want to miss out on her formative years, yet I sometimes tell her to play with her toys or look at her books so I can clean up after everyone. That really hit me. It made me sad. This has got to change.
I also learned that though things may not always be perfect and I may sometimes get frustrated with the difficulties of rural living, I have got it pretty good. I have so much to be thankful for.

Sure, we live in an old farm house and it isn't as modern or doesn't really measure up to my family's expectations, standards, or what we are accustomed to, our home is where we love to be. It's "home". Hubby and I work very hard, and though renovations may take years to complete, we are doing things little by little. People have said, "Why don't you just tear down your house and start anew? You can get those pre-fab houses and move in as is."

The thing is, though I sometimes complain...express my displeasure...say my house drives me crazy because it always needs some kind of work done, it needs another bathroom, or maybe even finish up the basement completely, I really, truly, honestly love it. It's got character. It's warm and inviting. It's a place where family and friends gather.


 Just a few kitchen pics.



Hopefully the end of this year's NaBloPoMo also brings the end of me living in the dark with regard to some of the things I've neglected to realize.

Burt's Bees is the Bee's Knees


I don't know about you, but every winter, I am plagued with extremely dry skin. I hate it. Dry, flaky, itchy skin. It only happens during the winter for me.

Thank goodness for Burt's Bees.

Burt's Bees offers natural personal care products and natural skin care products. What's best is that their goal is to create truly natural products and educate people on how truly natural products have a positive effect on us and on the world we live in. They have our well-being and the well-being of the environment in mind.

I discovered Burt's Bees a few years ago. Always on the lookout for healthy and safe products, a friend told me about them. I loved the fact that the products are natural and formulated to help heal, repair, and moisturize. I love their natural lip balms.

Soon after hearing about Burt's Bees, I started noticing them all over the place! They were in almost every store I shopped at. That says a lot about a product!

I was sent a variety of Burt's Bees products to review.

Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm:
Right up my alley! This is the kind of stuff I love! I don't wear lipsticks, as I love the glossy sheen of lip balms and glosses.
I was sent the tinted lip balm in "Hibiscus". When they say it makes your lips soft, moisturized, and conditioned, they weren't kidding! This is probably one of my favourite products and a now a "must have" in my purse at all times!

Burt's Bees Radiance Body Lotion:
Made with Royal Jelly and packed with 134 nutrients, this lotion nourishes your skin and enhances its natural glow. From a girl who is plagued by dry skin, I can attest to how soft and shimmering this lotion makes your skin!

Color Keeper Green Tea and Fennel Seed Conditioner:
High in antioxidants from the green tea, this conditioner keeps hair vibrant, while not weighing it down.

Anti-Blemish Purifying Gel Cleanser:
I don't usually have break outs, so I never really thought much about using anti-blemish cleansers. I did try this one and really like it. It makes my face feel clean and fresh. "This cleanser is clinically proven to help wash away blemish causing bacteria, excess oil and impurities without over-drying or irritating skin. Salicylic Acid, derived naturally from Willow Bark Extract, penetrates pores to help reduce blemishes and prevent future breakouts. Evening Primrose and Beet Root Extracts help care for troubled skin resulting in clear and healthy-looking skin, naturally. Dermatologist tested. Noncomedogenic." (from the Burt's Bees website)

Naturally Ageless Intensive Repairing Serum:
Now that I'm in my 30s (okay, as of mid-December, I'll be four years closer to 40!), I  have to admit that I am growing increasingly more concerned about my skin. I notice fine lines where there weren't any.  Eeek! This antioxidant-rich pomegranite and evening primrose serum helps diminish fine lines and wrinkles.

For more information, check out the Burt's Bees Story here and view their site for all their amazing products. You can also find them on Facebook and on Twitter.

I really like Burt's Bees products and would highly recommend them to friends and family. I feel good about using products that are natural. Again, one of my absolute favourites is the tinted lip balm.

Disclosure -  I was given the above Burt's Bees products for review purposes. All the opinions on this blog are honest and my own.

Some Great CANADIAN Holiday Gift Ideas!


We love supporting Canadian businesses and we try to buy Canadian whenever we can. For the special people on your list this season, we've found some fabulous gift ideas.


Today I Ate A Rainbow is the perfect tool for getting kids to eat a rainbow every day. A fun, interactive chart keeps them excited about adding some colour to their meals! It's a great present for kids and parents alike!

Simply on Board has great toy straps that are great for preventing your tiny tots favourite toys, teething items, or even sippy cup from falling on the ground. The straps attach with velcro and are machine washable. There's nothing that grosses me out more than Little One's belongings falling on the floor in busy malls or restaurants. Okay, I'm only slightly paranoid about where people's feet/shoes have been!

KIOKKO Bebe Couture is easily recognizable amidst all the other baby/toddler/kid blankets, bibs, etc. Each piece is made with lots of attention and care. I've been known to give KIOKKO Bebe Couture blankets, washcloths, and bibs to expectant mothers or for welcoming home a new baby. I absolutely love the mitten clips and have not only gotten some for Little One, but for some of her friends too!
Mabel's Labels is perfect for all your labeling needs! We use Mabel's Labels on all of Little One's favourite items. They're great in case we leave her things behind at play group or elsewhere or  just so friends don't accidentally take them home with them! I'm known here as the Mabel's Labels giver! I've given labels to all my nieces and nephews and to Little One's friends for their birthdays or at Christmas.



 
Jet Baby has a fantastic variety of cool clothes for cool kids. Little One had her first John Deere outfit from Jet Baby and has since gotten a Poison onesie and Bob Marley onesie. There are so many adorable outfits and tees to choose from. Not your run of the mill, boring, generic, cookie cutter clothing. Jet Baby also sells books, CDs, DVDs...and toys from when I was a kid! I'd love to get Little One the Snoopy Sno Cone maker or Fisher Price phone that I had when I was a kid. Jet Baby is definitely a must if you're looking for the perfect gift!
 

Wean Green has an assortment of glass containers for your child's needs. We have the Wean Cubes and have stored all of Little One's snacks in them. They're the perfect size to just pop into your diaper bag or purse and pull out for your wee one to snack from.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011

NaBloPoMo Day 29: Tofu Satay on Rice Noodles


Truth be known, my husband has an aversion to any recipe that does not contain meat. Oh, he'll eat whatever I serve him, if he knows what's good for him! Just kidding. He's pretty open-minded and will try anything and everything I serve him. Tofu just isn't one of those things. Though he likes how I season them and infuse certain flavours in the tofu dishes, he claims that that palatability is just not for him. Fair enough.

I grew up eating tofu on a somewhat regular basis. Since my Dad is Chinese Caribbean, we are no strangers to tofu. Tofu is a common ingredient in many Asian dishes. Also, as a vegetarian for most of my adult life, tofu was a mainstay in my diet.

Tonight, I was craving tofu for supper. A friend of mine from university (we were both vegetarian and involved in some environmental groups together) had this amazing tofu recipe that called for chili flakes and other ingredients I cannot remember. It was a sweet yet spicy tofu dish. Since I couldn't recall the exact recipe, I had to improvise.

First, I poured over some of my favourite cookbooks in hopes of finding something similar to the recipe I had in mind.
So many tempting recipes, but not exactly what I had in mind. I was left up to my own devices for this one.

For supper, we had Tofu Satay on rice noodles with steamed Bok Choy drizzled with sesame oil and Lychee milkshakes and chilled Lychee for dessert.

Please keep in mind that I rarely measure ingredients when it comes to cooking dishes (except for baking, where exact measurements are a must).

C's Tofu Satay on Rice Noodles
Ingredients:
1 or 2 packages of firm tofu, cubed (depending on how many people you're feeding)
1 sweet red pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 onion, chopped
cooking oil
Cilantro, chopped (to garnish)

Sauce -
vinegar
soy sauce
chili flakes
dash chili powder
onion powder
garlic powder
3 Tbsp peanut butter
After you've prepared your tofu and your veg, cook tofu in a pan with a little oil until slightly browned. Add your veggies and cook with sauce.

While you do this, you can steam your Bok Choy and rice noodles. This whole meal takes less than 30 minutes to make from prep to finish.

My non-tofu-eating husband said this was the best tofu dish he's had so far. He really liked the combination of sweet and spicy (sweetness from the peanut butter and heat from the chili).

On bed of rice noodles, place tofu satay. Sprinkle with chopped coriander to garnish. Drizzle sesame oil over Bok Choy and serve.
NaBloPoMo 
2011

This post is cross-posted here because I am super lazy tired to post on more than one blog today :)

"This Tofu isn't so Bad", Said the Non-Tofu-Eating Beef Farmer


Truth be known, my husband has an aversion to any recipe that does not contain meat. Oh, he'll eat whatever I serve him, if he knows what's good for him! Just kidding. He's pretty open-minded and will try anything and everything I serve him. Tofu just isn't one of those things. Though he likes how I season them and infuse certain flavours in the tofu dishes, he claims that that palatability is just not for him. Fair enough.

I grew up eating tofu on a somewhat regular basis. Since my Dad is Chinese Caribbean, we are no strangers to tofu. Tofu is a common ingredient in many Asian dishes. Also as a vegetarian for most of my adult life, tofu was a mainstay in my diet.

Tonight, I was craving tofu for supper. A friend of mine from university (we were both vegetarian and involved in some environmental groups together) had this amazing tofu recipe that called for chili flakes and other ingredients I cannot remember. It was a sweet yet spicy tofu dish. Since I couldn't recall the exact recipe, I had to improvise.

First, I poured over some of my favourite cookbooks in hopes of finding something similar to the recipe I had in mind.
So many tempting recipes, but not exactly what I had in mind. I was left up to my own devices for this one.

For supper, we had Tofu Satay on rice noodles with steamed Bok Choy drizzled with sesame oil and Lychee milkshakes and chilled Lychee for dessert.

Please keep in mind that I rarely measure ingredients when it comes to cooking dishes (except for baking, where exact measurements are a must).

C's Tofu Satay on Rice Noodles
Ingredients:
1 or 2 packages of firm tofu, cubed (depending on how many people you're feeding)
1 sweet red pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 onion, chopped
cooking oil
Cilantro, chopped (to garnish)

Sauce -
vinegar
soy sauce
chili flakes
dash chili powder
onion powder
garlic powder
3 Tbsp peanut butter
After you've prepared your tofu and your veg, cook tofu in a pan with a little oil until slightly browned. Add your veggies and cook with sauce.

While you do this, you can steam your Bok Choy and rice noodles. This whole meal takes less than 30 minutes to make from prep to finish.

My non-tofu-eating husband said this was the best tofu dish he's had so far. He really liked the combination of sweet and spicy (sweetness from the peanut butter and heat from the chili).

On bed of rice noodles, place tofu satay. Sprinkle with chopped coriander to garnish. Drizzle sesame oil over Bok Choy and serve.
Monday, November 28, 2011

GlassesUSA.com - Great Glasses Without Breaking the Bank!



When I was in high school, I got my first pair of glasses. I thought I'd beat the odds of ever having to wear glasses, even if my family members wore glasses. Back then (as a teenager), glasses just were not cool.

I actually had two pairs of glasses. I think the optometrist's office had a 2 for 1 sale on, because I had a red pair and a blue pair. They were not the most flattering things either. Big, heavy frames and Coke bottle-like lenses. They were awful...and expensive.

Because I didn't like them, I rarely wore them. The optometrist said they were only for distance (blackboard, TV, computer, and driving), so I only used them for that.

Thankfully, GlassesUSA.com has a wide variety of stylish prescription glasses that won't break the bank!
They've got everything from rimless frames, vintage styles, sunglasses, metal frames, Titanium frames, semi-rimless frames, and more!

GlassesUSA.com carries brands we know, love, and trust like Calvin Klein, Jones New York, and Diesel (just to name a few). If  you're going to wear prescription eyeglasses, you might as well look good in them and love them, right?

I now wear my glasses on a regular basis. I'm just glad to know that there are options out there for good quality, attractive, stylish, affordable glasses now.

With all the styles, colours, and designs available for eyeglasses now, it's easy to look good and still be able to see! I have some friends who really know how to change up their style with their glasses! Funky/fun one day, chic another. Casual, professional, sporty, classic...the options are endless!

It's truly amazing how a certain style of glasses can change your look entirely.

I'm actually quite partial to this for my next pair of glasses! Love, love, love!
Psssst! GlassesUSA.com is having an
Early Holiday Sale!
Take 20% off any frame in their iSee Eyewear collection and get free shipping within the US. Code: iSee20FS (you can find the collection here: http://www.glassesusa.com/isee-eyewear)
Take 10% off any order of prescription glasses. Code: Blog10
Order glasses!
Of course, before you order, make sure you understand what your prescription needs. Check out the helpful info for understanding eyeglasses and lenses on the GlassesUSA.com website.

Join in on the GlassesUSA.com conversation on Twitter and on Facebook!






Disclosure - This is a sponsored post. I am being compensated by GlassesUSA.com for writing this piece. All the opinions on this blog are honest and my own.

NaBloPoMo Day 28: Sharing the Love


NaBloPoMo 
2011

Every year for the past few years, I've been participating in NaBloPoMo. For National Blog Posting Month, gluttons for punishment bloggers challenge themselves to write a blog post every day for an entire month.

Me, being the once or twice a week blogger that I am, I find it quite challenging to come up with good content to post every day. I have to admit, that this year has been the toughest for me. So many other things have been keeping my mind away from posting every day. This said, I am the kind of person who has a guilty conscience and I always have to live up to my word. I've been posting every day, but the content has been quite shoddy. I cannot tell you how many times I've just come in under the wire with my posts.

Why do I participate in NaBloPoMo every year?

Well, I love challenges. There's a sense of accomplishment at the end. I can say, "Yeah, I did it. It was difficult, but I did it."

It's also a way for me to express myself. It allows for a creative outlet and my blog is a place of my own. Being a mom, wife, teacher, and many other things, I find I don't have anything that is my own anymore. This is something that is just for me.

I've also met lots of wonderful bloggers through the years via NaBloPoMo. Friendships have been formed. Support networks, contacts for work, and other blog/social media relationships have been made through blogging.

For all of you participating in NaBloPoMo, why do you do it?

Oh, I also received two awards this month! Actually, they're the same award, but given to me by two new-to-me bloggers I met while taking part in NaBloPoMo. I'd like to thank Steph from Educational Anarchy and Taylor from Goings on out in West Texas for sharing the bloggy love and giving me this:


"Liebster" is a German word meaning dearest and the award is given to up-and-coming bloggers with less than 200 followers.  

This is how it works:
1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.

2. Reveal your Top 5 blogs (with under 200 followers) and let them know by leaving comments on their blogs.

3. Post the Award on your blog.

4. Enjoy the love of some of the most supportive people on the Internet.

Here are my 5 picks:

* Dairy Daze - You have become such a special part of our lives. Sharing in our ups and downs from miles away, you've been such a great friend. Plus, being a "reformed city girl turned farmer's wife", you understand when I say how crazy the cattle can be and you can laugh when I tell you I'm all dressed up, make-up and hair done...and wearing my $h!t kickers when out to meet a friend!


* Always a "Good Day" at Casa Buendia - I am happy to have become friends with you through NaBloPoMo a few years ago. I love your honesty. Keep writing, and I'll keep reading!


* Cherry Extract - Even though you've been keeping us up to date more on Facebook than on the blog, I still wanted to give this to you. We "met" a few years ago through our blogs and got to know each other more through past NaBloPoMo challenges. Can you believe that was pre-baby for both of us? Time flies! Now I have a 3 year old and your little munchkin is growing fast too! Eeeek!


* Educational Anarchy - I don't know if I'm allowed to award you with a prize  you've already given me, but I am thankful that we stumbled upon each other's blogs via NaBloPoMo. I really enjoy reading your posts! Witty, funny, fabulous!


* Goings on out in West Texas - I have really enjoyed reading your posts and comments, and getting to know you. You are such a gem! Hugs!

Looking forward to following everyone's blog journeys.

Orkids.ca Sustainable Stainless Steel Mealtime Combo WINNER!


I know, I know. Many of you will be upset with me. Sadly, there could only be one winner for this very popular giveaway.  It makes me really happy to know that A) Many of you are concerned about the environment and are considering litter-less lunches/sustainable products for your families and B) You love supporting new, up and coming Canadian businesses like Orkids.ca!
Thank you to all who entered this giveaway. Cheers to Orkids.ca for sponsoring this giveaway. We really love working with you!

Without further ado, the lucky winner of the Orkids.ca Sustainable Stainless Steel Mealtime Combo is...
  • Name: Tara Elias
  • Option: Follow via GFC
The winner has been sent an e-mail. Please reply with your address so Orkids.ca can send you your amazing prize! Just in time for the Holidays!

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About the Blog Author


City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!
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Life on Manitoulin: Just a bunch of ramblings from a city girl gone country!

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