Loving These; Photography Highlight

Tracker Sling Bag

Tracker Sling Bag

Instastory APP

Instastory APP

Photography is dear to my heart. It is only fitting to share my love of some photography inspired tools.

1} Photographerswithoutborders.ca
A not-for-profit organization. They connect photographers with charitable organizations around the world, promote works, share images globally, hold workshops and educate using photos as a voice in making a difference to many causes locally and globally. LOVE IT for all these reasons.

2} “Instastory” APP: Turn a photo into a story by choosing a template or build your own. You can build your story with stickers, text, layering and cropping photos into shapes. Once you’ve finished, your story can be saved in a number of ways including to email and in your camera roll. A story page is quickly made. A great app that I will use towards making invites, scrapbooking pages and photo gifts.

3} “Tracker” Sling style camera bag: I love the sling style because it doesn’t necessarily look like a camera bag, which can be great while travelling. It has many compartments for filters, cords, memory cards, lens, a drink and your keys and wallet. Along with being lined for protection against heat and cold, it also comes with a waterproof cover that is concealed in it’s own pocket. This is all I need.

4} The disposable camera that I found at Dollarama for $2! This is one thing my daughter will get for her birthday. I can’t wait to see her face when we develop her photos; who am I kidding, she’ll probably not realize that is what she took by playing with her camera that had all those buttons and cool sounds.

5} The Magnetic Sticker sheets @ Dollarama: I cut out pictures of family, shapes and animals. They keep her busy and out of the way when I’m preparing food. She always wants to be in there with me but can’t always help. Plus, no matter how often she sees family members, she can name every one. That is really special for them when we get together.

6} Our HP PhotoSmart C310 Printer and Continuous Ink System: Pictures turn out great; the touchscreen has many custom editing features, scans, wifi, direct links to colouring pages, greeting cards and games. The ink system we bought separately online and is a fraction of the price of single cartridges. Make sure you search for your exact model of printer and that the ink color reservoirs are in the same order as in your printer.

Although, I am no professional nor do I alter my photos, other than a bit of cropping, I am very practical and appreciate anything useful and time saving.
So that is my little piece of useful, time saving photography inspired two cents.

Take care and Happy April!


Happy First Day of Spring


Spring has arrived, although difficult to see. I have found life sprout up; and in all reality there has been much activity in preparation for change under our feet and in the air this whole time.

Beginnings, a renewed chance at …growth within a fresh cycle of being; rejuvenation.

This beautiful season is very much a reflection on human instinct; innate or otherwise. Every year billions of individuals decide, consciously or subconsciously, to better themselves; a renewed chance at growth within a fresh cycle of being. Our instincts mixed with outside influences; whether it be media, weather, culture or people in our circle, tell us how and when to adjust aspects of health and lifestyle. Each Spring it’s like our lungs breath air into our minds. We adjust in the way we walk, eat, exercise, interact with nature and other human beings.
Just as birds will migrate with the flock, sense danger, build nests away from danger or flee an area previously viewed as ‘home’ because a foreign scent has marked it otherwise.
Just as insects seem to come out from deep in the earth to build, rebuild, establish and harvest.

Sure, it’s not ALL due to Spring. Life isn’t black or white. Nevertheless, I do believe that there is a life cycle that begins with events which take place during March/Spring Equinox.

So, now what?
Well we will be finding it easier and safer to get around in our communities.
Time to sign my daughter up for soccer.
We will enjoy the fairs, kite flying festivals and local farms and markets.
We will watch closely, as we get down in the dirt, for bugs and other creatures busy at work.
But most of all, we will enjoy each other in making every moment special in it’s own way. Savour and embrace the simple things. Slow down enough to really feel and see.
Once that hand-woven hammock of ours goes up; I’m looking forward to the feeling of a warm, sun filled afternoon nap with my daughter and husband.

What does Spring mean for you?
What are you most looking forward to?

Spring Treasure; Home

Spring treasure; At home

Wednesday is the first day of Spring, finally. Some winters are longer feeling, colder or more devastatingly destructive than others, but I always find myself breathing out the same word, finally.

Not only should we recognize the needs and wants in our gardens, activities, routines, vacations and interacting; it is equally important to maintain and care for our homes. After a cold and unforgiving many months our dwellings are also ready for a bit of tlc.

I encourage and practice the following:
• Change furnace filters. This is especially important if you have allergy sufferers. I believe it is recommended to change them every 3 months. Like anything, this could depend on any pets, allergy sufferers, children, elderly living in the house; or maybe even the age of your furnace.
• Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
• Duct cleaning; before the windows breeze blows around. ‘Food for Thought’: When we got our house built and had our ducts cleaned; we found garbage, nails, and wood in the ducts.
• Check fire gauge on extinguishers.
• Wash garage floor before water restrictions. When it’s a little warmer, I will get out the pressure washer for the deck, patio, windows and siding.
• Look over the exterior of your house for debris in eaves trough or even ways to keep the cool in and heat out.
• Possibly re-seal the deck.
• Seal any holes or areas that might welcome wasps, ants or rodents.

Hopefully this has been helpful and hasn’t made you too busy to go for regular walks to see this season in bloom.

Spring Treasure; Bring on the beef!

Can you smell that??

We are in the last week of needing to put in our beef orders with the farmer before all his cows are accounted for and so he can set up what the butcher needs to do with all that meat! Pigs aren’t far behind either.

We usually get roasts, ground beef and steaks; t-bone, rounds, sirloin. Of course you can’t always choose how much of each unless you buy an entire cow. In the past we have ordered a half a cow or a quarter. The quarter was just fine for the year. Also, the beef is ready about a month from ordering, depending on the maturity of the cow, which is right when it’s warmer.

I recommend filling up your freezer, in this way, whenever you can. It tastes superior to store bought, saves a lot of money and gives you a year supply! I even marinate some steaks, assemble skewers and make meatballs or chili right when I get my order; so also a wonderful future time saver.

Make sure to try barbecued pineapple. Brazilian cuisine finishes each meal with pineapple skewers. It is refreshing, sweet and aids in digestion.

Wake up Mr. Barbecue!

Spring Treasure; Spring Ahead

This past weekend was daylight savings. The third sign of warm days and prolonged outdoor fun to come. The first, a melting thaw with fresh breezes. The second, finding fuzzy buds on tree branches.
It is just days from the First Day of Spring. The sun seems to have a renewed purpose as it shines brighter than ever. I’m finding more tracks in the snow than previous months. Just yesterday we heard migrating geese passing by. Are we really that close to walking around, in public, with tshirts and shorts??!

The first day of Spring is March 20th, the March Equinox, which is observed around the world by means of cultural celebration, religious events and historical tradition. I once worked with a woman who was from Iran. The Persian New Year, Nowruz, started in the March Equinox and lasted 12 or so days. She would get everyone in the family new clothes and clean the house from top to bottom. I remember her bringing in fantastic spiced lentil dishes for lunch.

The Spring Equinox is a fascinating time; globally, spiritually, culturally, traditionally and in a general sense of needing to take care of an earth that has provided in all aspects of life but is in trouble of not being able to sustain this healthy cycle.

In community guides and newspapers alike I am seeing trash pickup events, growing food seminars and conservation workshops. Earth day, which is observed on March 20th or April 22nd, was first observed in 1970.

I am going to see how tree planting goes with a toddler. Obviously our home garden will be a daily activity. The forest and conservation areas are great for learning, observing and teaching little people how to tread lightly in a fun way. I’ve got to find an Aquarium nearby. Plus, Local farms; here we come!

Let’s try to do our part in preserving the life of our world, creatures, plants, friends and family.

Spring Treasure; Sensory Play

For toddlers, sensory play is never ending and easy to compile. As adults it’s difficult sometimes to think so simple and uncensured in our imagination spectrum. It dawned on me during a warm Saturday afternoon walk… We were on a sensory play adventure.

From the moment we left the house our senses were tantalized with each step. The snow was crunchy and sparkling but when held we had little salt crystals; wait they melted into our hand. The water droplets plopped into a puddle. Ooww, a puddle. What does a toddler love about puddles? EVERYTHING! The sounds, reflection, splashes, they submerge part of your foot, a twig floats and this particular puddle turned into a stream. Let’s see where that twig goes!
So, we set off…

I started teaching my daughter how to cross the road a few months ago. When the grey squares stop and the black road starts we stop, then wait. “Do you hear any cars or trucks driving?”, asks mommy. “Let’s look all around the road. Do you see any cars, trucks or bikes driving? No, ok we can walk now.” “Go”, yells my little girl.

The sensory journey continues. The birds are chirping, yet we can’t seem to locate one until a few fly by and land on a budding tree branch. One of the branches are low enough to reach without “hurting” the tree. Sofia giggles as I tickle her forehead with the fluffy bud.

I notice how quiet it is. The air is so light, fresh and warm. It reminds of my 10 year old self; climbing trees, searching forest trails, sitting on the farthest rock in the river, skipping rocks and lying in the bushy field grass. All those beautiful feelings come back and all it took was a mild, sunny day in March.

SPRING is close! I can smell it. The wet dirt waking up from burial. The tree branches reaching to touch the soft breeze.

As we continue up the hill then down, Sofia takes notice to different textured bushes. We finish off our adventure in front of a neighbours house. Sofia watches tentatively as three older kids play street hockey in their driveway. The red ball rolls, bounces and goes into the net over and over again.

Hopefully, sooner than later, we can collect things on our walk like a treasure hunt. In the meantime I’m making a trip to the dollar store for items that pertain to this change of season. Plastic flowers, windmills, topiary foam, seeds, water play with squirt bottles and colours; that’s all I got off the top of my head.
Of course when we can be outside we will play in dirt, explore the forest and in the sandbox as well as go for picnics and picking fruits and vegetables at the farm.

What sensory play do you do with your toddler for spring?

Loving These; Ode to Food

fruitI am one very satisfied carnivore after a good meal or snack. Food can make or break your day, at times.

1} What’s cooking- Kraft recipe book: kraftcanada.com
Online you can search by product, ingredients you have to make recipes, type of meal and in many other features. Wonderful, quick meals and snacks with items I usually have in my pantry(soups, stuffing).

2} Crispy minis: Yet another trick. With brown rice and corn as the two first ingredients, these are a great snack. Mommy also has trouble finding caramel corn, so yeah for Crispy Minis Caramel Kettle Corn.

3} Aloe Vera drink (Paldo): Anything my daughter loves, I love. This drink is yum! It has actual pieces of Aloe Vera. Although it has quite a bit of sugar, I mix 2/3 water with it. Great way to get them drinking water.

4} Chili is our family’s staple winter meal: Sofia eats it with little toast shapes. I should invest in more cookie cutters. She might wonder why, in spring and summer, I am still giving her Xmas stockings and gingerbread men; although I think she would agree that gingerbread is fantastic and special enough to have year round.

Note: I usually only measure when I bake, so I will give approximates for some ingredients. Adjust to your familys’ taste. I also use whatever ingredients I have on hand.

2 lbs of ground beef or ground turkey
1/2 cup onion (green or Spanish)
• cook together in a big pot
• stir in seasonings
Turmeric, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, garlic powder
• stir until meat is covered (it’s best to mix seasoning in before liquid so the taste is throughout)
Add: vegetables (carrots, red pepper, zucchini) approximately 3 cups total
• cook and stir for a few minutes
• boil 8 or so yellow potatoes and 1 sweet potatoe(don’t tell my husband), diced cubes, in another pot.
• To your veg. and meat mixture add:
1 large can pasta sauce
1 can diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 box of chicken or beef broth
1 can black beans or any bean(lentils)
1 cup of frozen corn
Potatoes diced
• Simmer for 1 hour
• Season with salt and pepper and add any extra spice

LEFTOVERS- mix in with scrambled egg for brunch, top fries or rice, in a wrap with sour cream and cheese, blend it into a thick paste then add sour cream and a little mayo as a dip.

Now I’m hungry.