Family Day 2018

Posted On: Wednesday, 7 February 2018 |
This weekend is Family Day and many school districts around BC also have a pro D day attached to make it a 4-day weekend. That's a lot of time to do some great things together.

Lucky for you there are lots of folks with GREAT ideas and here are links to the people in the know about all things fun. Many of these link to the communities you live in so you can find free and special things to do close to home.

Strap on the boards, the skates or goggles and have some fun!

Get Your Life Organized - Part Two

Posted On: Wednesday, 24 January 2018 |
Ok folks, you're working on de-cluttering and getting your home organized but there is a lot of life left that could be more in order. And it's not about creating some regimented life. I really don't believe in that. But I do believe it getting your **** together so you can enjoy your life, so you can play with the kids, cook a healthy dinner, get to yoga. You know you want to. Don't let physical STUFF or mental STUFF hold you back.

Here's a big one. Be on time. If you're that person that is chronically 15 min. late, that's not ok. Move your life ahead by 15 minutes. I know people like this and I think they are PERFECT at hitting the 15 minute late mark so why not set the bar just a touch higher?

Think ahead. When are the next 3 pro-D days if you're a parent? Look at the next one at least and start planning now. No need to scramble to find something for your kids to do with 16 hours before they are NOT getting up to go to school. "Be prepared!"

Under this same heading....I remember last Valentines Day and a friend of mine was on the phone with me saying she had to run, she was just outside the chocolate store and she's got to run in to get something for her kids. Valentines is on February 14th EVERY year. Just do it before. You'll avoid stressing yourself out and you'll enjoy the holiday more. THINK. AHEAD.

If you want to go really crazy: look at the next 6 months or year. Need doctor or dentist appointments? My daughter is graduating from her junior school in June and has a little ceremony and party so I'm going to book her a little haircut and blow dry as a treat NOW - not 2 days before when all the spots are booked and I stress myself and her out trying to do a thoughtful thing that turns into a monster. THINK. AHEAD.

The same could be said for vacations. We love booking a ways in advance because we enjoy the anticipation of a holiday. It's almost part of the holiday! What about carpet cleaning? Just saying.

Last but not least, let's talk food prep. On the nights I can stealth cook, everyone is happier. Stealth cooking in our home means I clean as I go instead of having a disaster to manage after dinner. When I can, I do. But what to make for dinner alone can be onerous. Should you create a schedule of 8 main ingredients and put them in rotation so you "know" what is for dinner:

1. chicken
2. pasta
3. steak
4. fish
5. vegetarian
6. hamburgers
7. pork
8. soup + surprise night (quesadillas, paninis, quiche?)

Here is a great link to someone on the same wavelength I just found AFTER posting this post so I'm editing it in! Check this out....more themes and templates...thanks

Routines simplify. The other option is to get help. Check out Lindsay Pleskot a local registered dietician that has an amazing 3-2-1 Method to meal planning and making it fun and healthy. Get 10% off using code ROUNDHOUSE10 until February 1st 2018. Yes....hear this whole spiel on Roundhouse Radio on middays with Jody Vance today.

I'm hoping there's a nugget here for you. Pick the one or ones that work for you and start small.
I'm working on better meal planning myself and so far so good. No more pulling my hair out trying to figure out what's for dinner. Having a plan makes all the difference.

Get Your Life Organized

Posted On: |
It's that time of year when many are already failing at New Year's resolutions.We are gluttons for punishment, making lists of things we really just wish could be changed with the snap of the fingers. Unfortunately, real change takes some work. I do truly feel that keeping your home NEAT is such an amazingly freeing thing that it's worth getting into a few habits that will get you there.

If I'm not convincing enough, pick up a copy of Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project. It's one of my all-time favourite books. She sets herself up to spend a year getting, you guessed it, HAPPIER! Would you believe that her first month is spent "de-cluttering." She is surprised how liberating and addictive it is. I feel the same way. The question is, how do you achieve it.

I do think a great exercise is to go around your house as if every flat surface was going to painted and clear everything off. Counters, shelves, tables, side tables...everything. Give it a good wipe while you're here, but then only put back 20%. How does it look? So many people have too many things clogging spaces and busy-ing up what should be less cluttered space.

Each day, here are some other things to do to keep your tidy space tidy and your give your mind time and space to do other things:

1. make your bed as soon as you get out of it
2. each evening, don't leave the living room until it is free of dishes, the pillows, etc. back where they belong
3. any clutter should be shuffled to the room it belongs in at the end of the day if it still laying around
4. any promotional items or unwanted gifts need to be purged or donated within 48 hours of when they arrive
5. keep your kitchen counters empty. Dishes in the dishwasher or sink, food should have a place and nothing else save a plant or a candle, hand soap should be kicking around
6. put everything away in your bathroom after you use it, leaving those counters clean too
Don't feel pressure to CLEAN. This is just a way to tidy which will leave you feeling less cluttered too.

Some other strategies you may wish to adopt:
If you're a person that does 4 loads of laundry and then it takes you 4 more days to get it folded and to  the right people in your house....just do one load at a time - FULLY. We are much more successful if we do these things in the morning, before 11 according to Rubin. If you have some things that need fixing, get a list together and call a handyman. Hit Craigslist - there are lots there. No excuses. In a crazy way, routines do simplify your life so even make a cute list and put it on your fridge to see each day.

We've all heard of HYGGE, the Danish comfort culture and LYGOM the swedish concept meaning not too much and not too little. I read that the next trend is WABISABI....the japanese philosophy of embracing imperfection. So take it easy on yourself and just do the best you can ;-)

Fun Treats To Make with Your Kids

Posted On: Wednesday, 13 December 2017 |
Most kids are out of school at the end of this week, so what to do? Have FUN with them, get messy and make memories! The internet is full of inspiration and ideas. This year, we are making a slew of great things to show Sunday on Global TV at 12:30. Until then, here are a few sneak peeks!

First up is a perfect balance between crunch, peppermint, chocolate and chew. They are Christina Tosi's delish cookie found here.

We are drinking a lot of warm cocoa here and one of our fave treats to make are these delicious stir sticks. Using a lollipop stick dipped in white chocolate or candy melts and covered in teeny dehydrated marshmallow are so yum. Tie a bunch up in a pretty cello bag for a great little gift too.

Another super easy twist on the same idea is to just decorate a marshmallow and put them on the end of a short candy cane that can hang on your mug!

These santa cupcakes My Lajolla Mom are easy and super fun. A coconut beard (or shaved white chocolate if you don't like coconut) and easy accoutrements to create a hat and trim and you're done. Great effect without a lot of sweat.

For something crazy delicious....

Mint melties make a lovely, rich treat and also a pretty little gift. They are easy to make as we found out using this recipe from Kraft.

No treat article is complete without a Kellogg's Rice Krispie treat. First off, it doesn't get easier as they are no-bake and there is a recipe on every box but here it is for you.  What if your baking could stir up magic for a child that is less fortunate? You can make magic a reality with the Kellogg's Rice Krispie Treats for Toys Program. Simple mix up a batch of Kellogg's Rice Krispie treats and shape it into a toy. Once you are done, if you post a photo of your creation to
or post it on social media with the hashtag #TreatsForToys before Dec. 22 2017, Kellogg's Rice Krispies will donate $20 to the Salvation Army to buy toys for less fortunate kids in Canada that might otherwise go without. It's a fantastic cause obviously but it's also a lovely teaching moment to have with your kids. The initiative is a great way to talk about giving and helping those less fortunate. For the 5th anniversary of Treats for Toys there is also a challenge to try to have a toy with a moveable part! It's not critical but an extra fun challenge. Here are a few tips to help you succeed:
1. when you are working with the mixture it gets super sticky. Just spray your hands with non-stick spray to keep the goo from sticking.
2. if you want to make an item with square edges, consider pressing the mixture into a rectangular dish and harden it in the freezer and cut it into the shapes you need
3. royal icing is a great way to create detail and decor (as well as sprinkles, candies, licorice and more) just remember it takes a few seconds to harden so you may have to hold things in place until it sets. The freezer is also a big help here!

Last year I had a few kids over for a Treats For Toys Party....a fun way to get lots of toys made and uploaded to help the kids!

Final idea... I saw this on Foodnetwork's Instagram. What a fun easy "snaft" (snack-craft?) No Bake Snowmen Thanks Foodnetwork + Target! SWEET idea! 

Taking a Lovely Gift - Hostess Gifts

Posted On: Thursday, 30 November 2017 |
Did you know that 70% of people arrive without anything for their hosts when going to a dinner or party? I find that shocking. Shame, people! Fortunately, I find that shocking because my friends and family are so generous and I hope I am too. I always love to bring fun things to thank my hosts for all the time and effort they have put into having us. As an avid hostess myself, I appreciate the work that goes in!

So here are some of my hostess gift faves (some great ideas that may just help you fill a space on your xmas list for someone too!)

Chapters/Indigo - this Canadian-owned merchant is a go-to for me. They have such a great selection it's a sure-thing. This year, the Oh She Glows Box Gift Set is a great choice or Jamie Oliver's 5 Ingredients. Another personal fave is Smitten Kitchen's latest!

If you are visiting an avid gardener, please head down to Southlands Nursery. The wonderful staff and atmosphere will put you right in the holiday spirit if you aren't already. You can pick up a lovely wreath but also some great garden themed gifts like this vintage looking dishtowel, soaps and more.

 Sure you can buy one of any zillion candles on the market, but the one that gets me EVERY time, is Whipped Cream + Pear from Anthropologie.

Maybe you're a traditionalist and your go-to is flowers....try "branching out!" (Pun intended!) Order up a beauty from Botany Living. These succulent arrangements are so simple and elegant. They match any decor and they last for months!

If you are heading to a home with kids, a board game is always a great way for families to enjoy each other. Speakout and Telestrations are some that will have you laughing for hours. Even the little box game of Anomia is hysterical!  Another great idea is to bring a gingerbread house for the kids to enjoy and decorate on another day. Michael's now has tiny sprinkle packets in all fun colours for just $1.50 per package so throw in a few fun colours!

Finally, if you are wanting to spread the LOVE this season but aren't sure how, head to Their iconic balls in all sizes and colours are a sure thing but they just launched super fun t-shirts and sweatshirts that are perfect for tweens, teens and adults. I've got you are wishing you were on my list!

What's for Dinner?????

Posted On: Monday, 27 November 2017 |
Who knew three words could make us so stressed out!? Apparently we spend more time worrying about what is for dinner than we do making it. I love to cook but I don't like Monday to Friday dinners. Bring me a dinner party any time! I've just joined Jody Vance with a regular Lifestyle segment on Roundhouse Radio sharing what I'm cooking, buying, making, decorating, organizing....general lifestyle stuff. We started the other day.... Tune in Thursdays at 98.3 FM in Vancouver! Here is a link to our first segment!

Easy Ways to Create a Swish Look for the Holidays

Posted On: Friday, 24 November 2017 |
You don't have to spend a fortune, heck you may have most of this stuff hanging around the house! With just one nice roll of wrapping paper and a couple of rolls or ribbon, I repurpose my staple holiday decor each year and create a colour theme that really pulls things together.  Check out my segment today on BT Vancouver.
Find a bold fun wrapping paper and use that as your jumping off point.
Use cake plates and clear vases to create centrpieces.