The Making of a Spider

spider costume

Halloween at our house is always a big event. As soon as October hits the kids are asking to decorate and even before that they are already talking about costumes and what they are going to be. In fact, there have been years when they have decided a whole year in advance what they wanted to be for next Halloween (and actually stuck with it).

Last year my daughter decided she wanted to be a spider. For me I prefer to buy our Halloween costumes if we can find what we need. As long as they are decent quality and not too expensive I find this the easiest and simplest. And there is quite the range and variety of costumes these days so this usually isn’t a problem. But in this case, I don’t know about you but I have never seen in a store a kids (or adult for that matter) spider costume – ever. So I knew that we had to make one.

Luckily, my very talented sister is in costume design and had already created a spider costume for herself years ago, so I didn’t have to start from scratch and I had a great guide to get the costume together. It did require a bit of work and gathering a few pieces, which can add up, but was fairly easy to put together.

How to Make a Spider Costume

This is a simple costume to put together. The most challenging part is doing the arms and legs and though not difficult requires some patience, especially if you’re not a sewer like myself!

Here’s what you need:

Long sleeved black shirtspider costume

Black leggings

2 pairs black panty hose or tights

Black gloves

Cotton batting

Black shoes or boots

4-6 Safety pins

Needle

Clear plastic thread

Black thread

Glitter hairspray

Black eyeliner pencil or facepaint crayon

1. The first thing you need to do is make the arms/ legs. Because you already have 4 limbs you only need 4 more to make 8 for the spider. Take the black panty hose or tights out of the package and measure the desired length of the arm. Do this by holding having the person the costume is for hold out their arm vertically. Hold up the panty hose leg to the arm. Have the person gently hold the end of the toes to make this a little bit easier. Measure to the arm pit and then back up a little bit and make it shorter. You want the length of the hose to be slightly shorter than the arm because when you pin it on it needs to be able to move and not be bunched together. This will make more sense when we get to step 4 – but if the panty hose is as long as the arm it will get squished and could be uncomfortable (as well as it won’t look right).

spider costume2. Once you have determined the length of the hose you need cut it straight across. Use this first piece of panty hose as your example and measure them up to the other panty hose legs and cut to make the right length. This makes it easy to get them all the same length.

3. Stuff the panty hose with the cotton batting. Use enough to make it full and round but does not need to be overstuffed that it’s pulling on the hose. Once the hose is stuffed sew the end closed using the black thread. Repeat with the other 3 legs.

This next step is easiest if you can have the child put on the rest of the costume so you can pin and line up the arms.

4. Have the child put on the black long sleeved shirt and leggings. Using a safety pin, pin one of the stuffed legs onto the hip of the pants. Pin it with the sewed end on the hip. Do the same with the second leg on the other side.

5. Next, pin the third leg on the shirt about mid way up the torso. Do the same with the fourth one on the other side.

6. Take your clear thread and attach it to the end of one of the legs that is pinned to the hip (simply just knot the end of the thread and attach it securely to the end of the leg. Be careful not to bunch the leg on the end. I did a once through, little loop and knotted, very clean.

spider costume7. Take the thread and go up to the leg attached mid way up the torso and attach the two legs together with the thread. Leave enough length that the legs are separated, hang nicely and not bunched together. You want enough space between them for movement. Attach it securely. Then continue with the thread up to the child’s wrist.

8. Create a loop around the child’s wrist. Again leave enough length between the mid torso leg and the wrist so that the legs hang nicely, have enough room for movement and are not all bunched together. Have the child lift their arm vertically to measure this and to ensure you have the length you desire. Secure the loop with a slip knot, so that you can easily open and close the loop on their wrist and make it easy to take off. Whew! Now that you’ve done the one side mastered – do the same thing on the other side.

9. Once you have both sides attached with legs, unpin the bottom legs on the hips, unloop the thread on the wrists and slid it gently off the wrist. leave everything else attached! This makes it way easier when you’re putting it on for Halloween or a Halloween event. Gently slide the shirt over the child’s head and place it in a safe place (where it won’t get disturbed or played with) until needed for Halloween.

Putting It All Together On Halloween

The legs are the hardest part but once you have those pinned and ready the rest is a walk in the park.

10. Put the black leggings on first. Gently assist the child with putting on the black shirt. Pin the two bottom legs to the hips and slid the loops over the child’s wrists. Put on the gloves and tighten the loops as needed.

11. Do hair as desired in whatever style you choose, then spray with glitter hairspray.

12. With the black eyeliner pencil or facepaint crayon draw a spider web one of the child’s cheeks (this is not a must but just add that little extra to the costume.

13. Put on black boots or shoes and voila! you have your little spider all set to go!

spider costume

 

 

Our Top 5 Favorite Fall Soups & Stews

fall soups and stews

One of the many things that is fabulous about Fall (it is my favorite season) is the harvest of all the wonderful fruits and vegetables that are available. Things like apples, squashes, carrots, corn, fresh pumpkins and more, abound in the stores and on the tables.

Not only are these abundant and delicious there is such an array of colors that I usually want to eat just about all of it. They do say you should eat the rainbow at every meal!

fall soups and stewsI also love this season as we start to have cooler days and bring out the warm cozy sweaters, start up the fireplaces and start to cozy up with our loved ones. And our bodies also naturally start to want heavier, heartier foods, warm and satisfying in our bellies, preparing for the winter ahead.

So it’s a perfect fit when we start to drift towards those yummy soups and stews, chilis and hearty meals, as not only is that what our body needs we also conveniently have an abundance of those foods fresh and at our fingertips. (This is no coincidence btw this is a natural rhythm of life as we are built to eat with the seasons, looking for the foods that are common and abundant in those seasons. This natural cycle of produce is perfectly designed to support our health and supports the body’s natural healing process. Think about how a fresh green salad can taste so good in the summer and is just what you’re looking for yet in the winter may not be as appealing).

I also love the variety in the recipes that come with these fall soups and stews, so many to choose from! And so many of them can be done in the slow cooker another bonus for those busy days when you just don’t want to think about what’s for supper at 5 o’clock.

Our Top 5 Favorite Fall Soups and Stews

Here are some of our favorite soup and stew recipes that we tend to drift to in the Fall (click on the names to be taken to recipe):

fall soups and stewsAutumn Turkey Chili – a hearty flavorful chili that has such a variety of ingredients in it. I love the addition of fresh apples and butternut squash.

Creamy Mushroom Soup – this recipe was an original submission in an issue of Clean Eating Magazine and is the best dairy free mushroom soup I have ever had. I love the variety of mushrooms and the addition of fresh thyme.

Butternut Squash Soup – a creamy flavorful soup with all my favorite Fall spices like cinnamon and sage.

fall soups and stewsBroccoli Cheese Soup – a classic creamy soup that’s perfected in a dairy free version. I love it extra cheesy so I’ll often add just a little bit extra!

Glorified Turkey – ok this is not really a soup or a stew but is absolutely one of my favorite fall dishes. Especially right after Thanksgiving when you have all those yummy turkey leftovers. The flavors of this dish are so simple yet so divine.

What are your favorite Fall recipes that you like to break out as the weather cools?

Back to School Smoothies – Tropical Green Smoothie

green smoothie

Green smoothies are an excellent choice for those back to school mornings as they provide a ton of nutrients to start the day and get the kids energized. A green smoothie though, is not always the most popular with kids. They take one look at the color and won’t even try it no matter what you tell them is in it. (This is one of the reasons why I like making other kinds of smoothies and adding in a little greens. You can literally hide them in there as it doesn’t change the color and they get blended up so they have no idea!)

One of the reasons kids (and some adults too) steer away from green smoothies is because often times they are this ugly dark green and aren’t very tasty or sweet. And even though I like my vegetables, when my smoothie tastes bland and like just a glass of vegetables, that doesn’t appeal even to me – why would a kid like it? That being said I have found a green smoothie that I quite enjoy and has passed the ‘kid test’. It is actually the favorite of my youngest son.

This green smoothie is sweet in taste due to the 3 kinds of tropical fruits, but not overly so, and a bright vibrant green. Stocked with 3 kinds of greens as well this makes for a very good combination. The nice thing is to if you need it a little sweeter you just add a little more fruit.

I have even made this green smoothie in my kids cooking classes (ages 3-12) and most of them liked it. In fact, for some of them it was their favorite smoothie as well!

Why do you want kids to have a green smoothie in the morning?

  • They are an easy way to get in those greens everyday (and right at the start). I don’t know about you but sometimes I find this difficult and get to the end of the day with no greens whatsoever. I feel good when I start my day with some greens.
  • Greens are rich in fiber, high in vitamins like vitamin C, K, E, and minerals and have many disease fighting benefits. And if you’re using a green like spinach, it’s high in iron ( supports brain function, muscle health, curbs fatigue)
  • Greens are high in antioxidants
  • They are high in folate which maintains a healthy heart, is needed for body’s cell division and prevents depression
  • Supports healthy brain function

Tropical Green Smoothie

1 c. spinach

green smoothie3-4 stems of parsley

1 sprig of fresh mint (I love mint so I might add a bit more, add yours to taste)

*1/2 c. papaya

1/2 c. pineapple

1/2 c. mango

**1/2 -3/4 c. apple juice or water

Put all ingredients in Vitamix blender. Start on low moving up to high. Blend on high for 1 minute or until smooth. Enjoy!

*I use orange or yellow papaya as I like it better and find it sweeter; but you can also use red papaya

**vary the amounts of fruit to make it sweeter or less sweet to taste

**I have found over the years that if I add a little more fruit then I can use water instead of juice and it still tastes yummy, sweet and delicious

Serves 1

Give this green smoothie a try this weekend and see how the crew likes it. If it’s a success you can start incorporating it into your back to school smoothie rotation in the mornings and kick off the day with a nice green healthy breakfast.

Back to School Smoothies – Classic Berry

berry smoothie

One of my favorite smoothies is when there is an abundance of fruit – and I mean a variety of fruits that I really love. Yes I know they all taste great on their own but I love putting them all together in one glass. Seriously for me it’s like a treat or a sundae.

This is why I love a classic berry smoothie. Not only do I fulfill my desire for more than one berry at once, I can also amp it up a little with some added ingredients that get disguised in the mix. So to the eye and palette very much berry, berry and berry, but to the rest of the body, lots of yummy nutrients that I need or am trying to get in!

This is especially good for kids who naturally love sweeter smoothies and will be all over drinking this. They will enjoy it and you will be happy that you got that other stuff in there (I feel especially successful when I’ve gotten some greens into them first thing in the morning). My daughter, in particular likes this smoothie and will gulp it down very quickly.

berry smoothieNow I know in the first post in this back to school smoothie series I recommended go easy on the fruit, as it can create too much sugar (even if it is natural) in the body first thing in the morning. The key is that with the other ingredients we are adding this quickly balances it out and stabilizes the higher sugars that you get from the higher fruit content. Plus because we are blending and not juicing you still get the fiber from the fruits which also helps to counter balance the sugars. And well let’s be honest, it tastes good! And every once in a while we deserve a little treat.

This is also a great smoothie if you are trying to introduce smoothies to your kids but not having as much luck as you had hoped so far. Because of it’s higher sweet content you may have more success, knowing that you did successfully get that spinach in there to, without them even knowing. Then later you can work on the green ones…

Classic Berry Smoothie

1 banana

5-6 fresh strawberries

1/2 c. blueberries

berry smoothie1/2 c. raspberries

1 1/2 c. non dairy milk (we usually use unsweetened almond milk)

*1-2 tbsp hemp seeds

1 healthy handful of spinach

Put all ingredients in the blender and mix until smooth. Now if you prefer more blueberry to strawberry or raspberry, feel free to adjust the amounts accordingly. You may also substitute chia seeds for hemp seeds, just be aware that with chia seeds they can make it much thicker especially if not drunk right away.

Serves 3

Perfect for the morning and to add that variety to the morning smoothie menu.

Coming up… a yummy Green Smoothie (honestly it’s delicious! and your kids will love it)

Create Success in the Classroom – Essential Oils for Back to School

essential oils for back to school

Create success in the classroom with these essential oils for back to school.

It’s that time of year again back to school and fall routine. Personally I love the summer schedule, the lazy days, warm summer sunshine and the freedom of being able to just play. Go anywhere at anytime and not have to worry about ‘the schedule’.

For some kids back to school can be quite challenging. They have a hard time sitting for longer periods of time, focusing on what’s going on or simply becoming overwhelmed by all the action and energies that are going on in the classroom. This can make things uncomfortable and definitely not fun for a child who feels this way.

child-830988_1920 pixabayI have always felt that children are uniquely different and that they each have their skills and talents and learn in different ways. No one child will learn the exact same way as another, which is why our school systems have changed in so many ways over the years. I still feel the system has a ways to go to reach all children, but it’s great to see some progress and specialty programs that can meet more children’s learning styles and needs.

That being said I think a majority of schools still teach to the average child, which is a small percentage of children in the class, while the rest fall above or below the line for various reasons. Little Johnny can’t focus so he misses out or gets in trouble a lot because he’s always fidgeting and moving. It’s not that he doesn’t want to, his body just needs a little support in doing so – and there’s nothing wrong with that.

In comes essential oils, an easy, simple and effective way to help support children (and adults too) at school and in their daily lives.

Keys to Success at School

essential oils for back to schoolIn order for children to have success at school they need to have a strong foundation which consists of these 5 elements

  • Good diet, nutrition and exercise
  • Proper rest (so they have enough energy for the day’s activities)
  • Boosted (strong) immunity
  • Emotional support
  • Mental clarity and focus

These key elements prep a child (and adult – we need this stuff too) to be able to function at their optimal level throughout the day. If even one of these is out of whack, it can affect their ability to focus, process or manage themselves emotionally.

How Essential Oils Can Help at School

Essential oils are great tools to add to a child’s wellness routine to not only assist and support them in these elements but to maintain a healthy balance. There are a number of oils that can support these. Here’s a quick overview of some of these oils to get you started.

Focus & Concentration

essential oils for back to schoolWe all know how hard it is to get things done and done well when we can’t focus! Try these when you can’t focus or need to.

In Tune – is a focus blend that helps enhance and sustain focus. This works wonders with my son who often needs support in this area. Roll this oil on the back of the neck or the bottoms of the feet. I have been using the InTune blend quite a bit this week myself, as I have been having trouble getting myself focused after my relaxed summer vacation! And it has been working like a charm. I feel like I’m on fire and have accomplished so much this week.

Rosemary – helps maintain concentration and supports memory. Apply topically under nose and across forehead.

Immunity Boost

essential oils for back to schoolOnGuard – this blend is my top go to when boosting immunity. It supports healthy immune function, respiratory and circulation, support’s body’s natural antioxidant and is energizing and uplifting. You can diffuse it, add it to a spray bottle with water for a natural hand sanitizer or spray on your counters to clean and sanitize surfaces.

Ginger – commonly known for it’s aid in reducing nausea, ginger also has strong antioxidant properties, inhibiting the growth of bacteria and stimulates blood circulation (which means more oxygen is getting to your tissues to help remove toxins and viruses).

Calm & Balance

We all know how difficult it can be when we are riled up, anxious, overwhelmed or upset. Who can concentrate, focus or even function when our bodies are in that state? Essential oils can cross the blood brain barrier and therefore act quickly in providing the needed support; supporting the child in moving back into balance quickly and easily. Feeling better in their bodies and able to manage what is happening around them and do what they need to do, whether it be at home or school.

Balance – is one of my favorite blends which we use frequently at our house. This blend calms and balances emotions, reduces stress and anxiety. It also has a lovely scent which I could sniff all day!

Frankincense – is known as the King of Oils, is a grounding oil and supports emotional balance.

Healthy Digestion

digestzen-15mlStarting with a healthy breakfast in the morning is only part of the equation. Ensuring our bodies are digesting properly and absorbing the nutrients we need is key. This is why using essential oils to support digestion can be of great benefit.

Lemon – we start with a glass of lemon water in the mornings – 1-2 drops of lemon essential oil mixed in a glass of water, which flushes the system, hydrates the body, boosts immunity as well as improving digestion. The advantage of using the essential oil over fresh lemon is it does not cause deterioration of the enamel on our teeth or damage the gums.

DigestZen – is a wonderful companion to aid in the digestion of food, soothe occasional upset stomachs, and reduce uncomfortable gas and bloating. When my daughter has a sore tummy we apply this topically on her stomach and she feels more comfortable within minutes. 

Restful Night’s Sleep

essential oils for back to schoolWe all know a good night’s sleep is key for anyone to function well during the day. Lack of quality sleep can affect mood, focus, concentration, memory, weakened immunity and overall health. Diffusing calming oils overnight can help balance and process days events as well as support a restful night’s sleep.

Breathe/ Easy Air – is a wonderful one for sleep as it supports the respiratory system and opens up the airways therefore allowing more oxygen to enter the body and creating a more restful sleep. Often can reduce or eliminate snoring as well.

Lavender – a common one used for sleep as it promotes calming and relaxation. One thing to note with lavender is for some children and highly sensitive people lavender can have the opposite effect and instead of calming it can energize. Experiment with this one to gauge what the effects are and perhaps choose a citrus oil instead.

The beauty of essential oils is that there’s not just one oil with the support you’re looking for. Many of the oils share similar properties, so if the one you choose to try first doesn’t work for you, then there is another one to try!

Give some of these combinations a try and let me know how it worked out, either with yourself or the kids.

Interested in what other oils could support focus, immunity, sleep, etc.? Would you like to give some a try? For the month of September I am offering Back to School Essential Oil Kits to support these different elements. Check them out here.

essential oils for back to school

And this month Enter to Win Back to School Essential Oils until September 30th.

Back to School Smoothies – Peanut Butter

peanut butter smoothie

Peanut butter smoothies are a staple for my kids at our house. Even though I recommend changing things up and giving the kids variety, they go for days if not weeks in a row where they only want this smoothie.

I really like the peanut butter smoothie because it is a super quick and easy recipe – with simply peanut butter, banana and milk. It is a nice thick creamy smoothie that is high in protein, filling and a great way to start the day!

We tend to add in a few other ingredients to this smoothie like dates and oatmeal for a little added sweetness and nutrient boost. Dates are high in fiber and a good source of vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium, zinc and Vitamin A. They are also high in natural sugars which provide an immediate and sustainable burst of energy (sustainable because it also has the high fiber content).

If you’re not a peanut butter fan or have an allergy, it is easy to substitute any nut butter in this smoothie or you can use Wow Butter, which is a soy based product (but does have added sugar) that has similar taste and texture to peanut butter.

Peanut Butter Smoothie

1 bananapeanut butter smoothie

1 tbsp. unsweetened or natural peanut butter

2 c. non dairy milk (we like almond but choose your favorite)

2 medjool dates, pitted

1/3 c. dry oatmeal

Put all ingredients into a blender and mix until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve immediately.

Serves 2

Coming up… the Classic Berry Smoothie

Back to School Smoothies – Apple Carrot

back to school smoothies

Mornings can often be a rush and a challenge to get everyone a good balanced breakfast and out the door on time, it’s one of the reasons I love Back to School smoothies. They are a quick, easy way to pack a bunch of important nutrients into one glass and start the day right.

If you’re like me you have a love – hate relationship with this time of year. I love that the kids are occupied elsewhere during the day and I can focus on other things, the golden late summer sun and promise of fall in the air. I do not like having to make lunches or get up in the mornings and rush out the door, I prefer a slower pace and making lunch later.

As a result I get up in the mornings with the shortest amount of time I possibly need to get us all fed and out the door (I can do it in about 30 minutes), which often means prepping things the night before and getting creative with breakfasts (this is also why I love overnight oats).

You know what they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day! and I agree a good breakfast sets you up for a good, productive and successful day. This is why smoothies are a great solution. There are all kinds of varieties and combinations so everyone can have something they like; and I can easily make them night before (in it’s entirety or packing the blender and adding the liquid and blend in the morning). They are also portable, so if we’re running short on time we toss the smoothie into a to go glass and take it out the door and no one misses breakfast!

Tips for Making a Healthy and Balanced Morning Smoothie

It’s important to make a smoothie your child likes but it’s also important to keep in mind IMG_1593these few tips to make it a balanced, filling and energizing smoothie.

  1. Don’t make it fruit heavy – make sure it’s more than just fruit and milk
  2. Steer away from the juice – use non dairy milks, coconut water or just water itself to blend your smoothie
  3. Add in some protein – things like chia, hemp and flax seeds are all excellent sources of protein and when blended into the smoothie are not even noticeable. This also helps you feel fuller longer.
  4. Add in some greens if you can – I know some kids watch what you do like hawks and if they see one green thing going in there they won’t drink it even if they can’t see or taste it! If you can, adding a handful of greens like spinach, will give them that extra boost for the day.
  5. Change it up – have a few smoothie recipes on the go for your back to school mornings. Variety is good and keeps kids interested. It’s also helpful as the seasons change and what’s available in season in the grocery stores.

To get you going and inspired, we’re going to share some great Back to School smoothie recipes here on the blog over the next two weeks. Today we’re starting with my Apple Carrot Smoothie, which is a beautiful use of many of the things that are currently being harvested (like the sweet delicious apples from our apple tree).

Apple Carrot Smoothie

3 applesapple carrot smoothie (2)

1 stalk of celery

2 carrots

1 handful of spinach

2 tsp. hemp seeds

Water or *coconut water

Put all ingredients into you blender and mix thoroughly til smooth.

Enjoy!

Serves 3

*coconut water is high in carbohydrates, potassium, magnesium and fiber. It has a sweet nutty distinct flavor so test it with your kids (a small sip in a separate glass) before adding it to the smoothie

And smoothies aren’t just for kids or breakfast! These are great for adults too and as snacks or a pick me up during the day.

Coming up next… the Peanut Butter Smoothie


150 Reasons Why We Love Canada

reasons to love Canada

I love Canada, from it’s gorgeous majestic landscapes to it’s iconic beginnings and famous people that we have produced. From coast to coast there are so many things to see do and experience. People to meet and enjoy and experience and appreciate the differences and uniqueness that make up our country.

I love all the accents and dialects of the different regions and the pure joy and friendliness wherever you go. So in honour of Canada’s 150th year I’ve (with the help of many friends) compiled a list of 150 Reasons why we love Canada and I hope it inspires you to come see us and experience Canada for yourself.

  1. Peggy’s Cove in Nova Scotia – this has to be the most beautiful placereasons to love Canada
  2. Universal Health Care
  3. Our delightful obsession with maple
  4. Stuart McLean and his Vinyl Cafe
  5. This Hour Has 22 Minutes
  6. Our plethora of National Parks (over 40)
  7. The Rocky Mountains
  8. The Prairie Skies
  9. Our eloquent (and frequent) use of ‘eh’ in a sentence
  10. We touch 3 oceans!
  11. Bryan Adams “Summer of 69”
  12. Tim Horton’s
  13. Canadian Bacon
  14. Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedomsreasons to love Canada
  15. Gorgeous landscapes
  16. Our ‘go with the flow’ mentality
  17. Terry Fox
  18. The Covered Bridges of New Brunswick (there are 60)
  19. The Great White North
  20. The polar bears of Churchill, Manitoba
  21. The Little Church in Drumheller (it seats 6)
  22. Bob and Doug MacKenzie
  23. The Badlands – I love this landscape and the discovery of so many dinosaurs in this area
  24. Beaver Tails – a delicious yummy sweet treat
  25. The Bluenosereasons to love Canada
  26. Fresh Atlantic seafood
  27. Gentle Patriotism
  28. Birthplace of Hockey
  29. The Calgary Stampede – the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth (love this 10 day celebration of cowboys and our Calgary beginnings)
  30. Kejimkujik National Park
  31. We never give up
  32. The Kids in the Hall
  33. Poutine
  34. Donairsreasons to love Canada
  35. Our ski hills – they are not hills they are actually huge majestic mountains! unless you are skiing Martock in NS, but let’s not talk about that
  36. Michael J. Fox
  37. The Canadarm – remote-controlled mechanical arm with NASA’s Space Shuttle Program, the robotic arm deployed, captured and repaired satellites, positioned astronauts, maintained equipment, and moved cargo.
  38. Anne of Green Gables – the beloved story of Anne Shirley an orphan girl who goes to live with Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. Has sold more than 50 million copies and been translated into 20 languages.
  39. We always say sorry – even when it’s not our fault. We are polite and caring, when we bump into someone by accident we are always the first to apologize
  40. Our tolerance and acceptancereasons to love Canada
  41. The National Film Board – has always made lovely and delightful little cartoons and vignettes
  42. Ogopogo – our resident sea monster in the lakes of the Okanagan
  43. The Cabot Trail – Nova Scotia
  44. Hopewell Cape Rocks – these look like giant flower pots and are pretty cool – New Brunswick
  45. The Caesar – yes we invented it by restaurant manager Walter Chell of the Calgary Inn
  46. Keifer Sutherland
  47. Loius Riel
  48. We invented the telephone – by Alexander Graham Bell in Baddeck, NS in 1876
  49. Our giant moose – and other cool wildlife here
  50. Invention of Basketball by Canadian James Naismith
  51. Jim CarreyAnne of Green Gables
  52. We invented insulin courtesy of Fredrick Banting
  53. Santa Claus is Canadian – it’s true he lives in the Canadian North and officially has a Canadian passport
  54. Hawaiian Pizza – created in 1962 by Sam Panopoulos in his pizza joint in Chatham, Ontario
  55. Trick or Treat is ours – the Halloween phrase “trick or treat” was first used in the hamlet of Blackie, Alberta way back in 1927
  56. The Bunny Hug – if you live in Saskatchewan it’s not a hoodie
  57. Big country, small town feel
  58. Winnie the Pooh – During the first World War, troops from Winnipeg (Manitoba, reasons to love CanadaCanada) were being transported to eastern Canada, on their way to Europe, where they were to join the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade. When the train stopped at White River, Ontario, a lieutenant called Harry Colebourn bought a small female black bear cub for $20 from a hunter who had killed its mother. He named her ‘Winnipeg’, after his hometown of Winnipeg, or ‘Winnie’ for short.
  59. Superman – co created by Joseph Shuster and has had many Canadian actors such as Erica Durance and Margot Kidder play our favorite Superman characters
  60. Newfoundland (and Newfies) – there’s just nothing like the rugged lands of Newfoundland and the colorful people with their big welcoming smiles and accents. It’s often said that Newfoundland is in it’s own little corner of the world they are so unique to the rest of Canada
  61. The many many abundant and beautiful lakes we havereasons to love Canada
  62. We have our own desert – South Okanagan, British Columbia
  63. The fruit of the Okanagan – peaches, cherries, blueberries, strawberries and more!
  64. We have a town, Oliver, BC, that has over 100 wineries within 50 km
  65. We started the NHL – at it’s inception had 4 teams all in Canada
  66. We have a mile zero at each end of the country (east and west)
  67. We experience all 4 seasons
  68. Niagara Falls
  69. Freedom of speech
  70. Freedom of religion
  71. We invite, embrace, train and absorb immigrantsreasons we love Canada
  72. The right to protest peacefully
  73. The Trans Canada Highway connecting us from coast to coast
  74. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) – The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) was formed in 1920 by the merger of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police (RNWMP, founded in 1873) with the Dominion Police (founded in 1868). The former was originally named the North-West Mounted Police (NWMP), and was given the Royal prefix by King Edward VII in 1904. Much of the present day organization’s symbolism has been inherited from its days as the NWMP and RNWMP, including the distinctive Red Serge uniform, paramilitary heritage, and mythos as a frontier force.
  75. The RCMP Musical Ride – a spectacle known around the world the RCMP Musical Ride is performed by a full troop of 32 riders and their horses. Their performance consists of intricate figures and drills choreographed to music. These movements demand the utmost control, timing and coordination.
  76. Alexander Graham Bell – though born in Scotland, lived the majority of his life inreasons we love Canada Canada and became a Canadian citizen who invented the telephone
  77. The CBC radio and television
  78. The Northern Lights
  79. Takakkawa Falls – Canada’s second highest waterfall
  80. PEI Confederation Bridge
  81. Laura Secord – Canadian heroine of the War of 1812
  82. The Wonderbra – made in Canada by Moses (Moe) Nadler
  83. The vast amount of open space and wilderness in our country
  84. Nanaimo Bars – invented in 1952 by E. MacDougall for the Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary, British Columbia
  85. L’Anse aux Meadows – first Viking settlementreasons we love Canada
  86. St. Anne de Beaupre
  87. The Fortress of Louisburg
  88. The Habitation – Port Royal
  89. The Churches of Mahone Bay
  90. The goalie mask – Jacques Plante was the first goaltender to create and use a practical mask in 1959. Plante’s mask was a piece of fiberglass that was contoured to his face. This mask later evolved into a helmet/cage combination, and single piece full fiberglass mask. Today, the full fiberglass mask with the birdcage facial protector is the more popular option because it is safer and offers better visibility.
  91. The large number of volunteers we have in Canada
  92. The invention of the Imax – Ivan Graeme Ferguson, one of the inventors was born in Toronto on October 7th 1929.
  93. The Log Driver’s Waltz – my favorite Canada vignettereasons we love Canada
  94. Nellie McClung – Canadian feminist, politician, author, and social activist.
  95. John Candy
  96. Our plethora of Birch Trees
  97. Quebec Winter Carnival and it’s International Ice Sculpture Contest
  98. Lake Louise
  99. The red sands of PEI
  100. Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park – shared between Saskatchewan and Alberta, Canada’s first and only
  101. Revelstoke Railway Museum – presents the history of the Canadian Pacific Railway inpotato boats the Columbia Mountains as well as the role the railway and it’s workers have played in building Canada as a nation.
  102. The Enchanted Forest – set in one of British Columbia’s beautiful old growth forests, it’s a magical place where visitors can see, touch and step into the homes of fairytale heroes, villains and creatures that hold so many memories for all of us!
  103. Writing on Stone Provincial Park – set in the prairie grasslands and along the spectacular Milk River this area contains the largest concentration of First Nation petroglyphs (rock carvings) and pictographs (rock paintings) on the great plains of North America.
  104. The various modes of transportation – we have the opportunity to travel by car, boat, train, plane, bicycle and more
  105. William Shatner – such a fantastic colorful man and the actor who played the infamous Captain James T. Kirk in the original Star Trek series
  106. Jann Arden – native Calgarian and Canadian music artistreasons to love Canada
  107. We have two official languages – French & English
  108. The CN Tower – when built in 1974 was the world’s tallest communications tower
  109. Our wonderful zoos – Toronto and Calgary being the two largest in Canada
  110. The Vegreville Ukrainian Egg
  111. Buchart Gardens in Victoria, BC
  112. Vancouver Aquarium – an Ocean Wise ® initiative, is home to thousands of incredible ocean species and amazing aquatic life. It’s also Ocean Wise headquarters, where our scientists, educators and conservation experts do their work, not only to protect our oceans but to inspire others to join us in our mission.
  113. Rugged and wild coast of Tofinoreasons to love Canada
  114. Granville Island -a peninsula and shopping district in Vancouver, BC, filled with charm and features a farmers market, an extensive marina and local artisans
  115. Prairie thunderstorms – watching the lighting literally strike across the prairie
  116. A real walled city – Quebec City is the only fortified city north of Mexico whose walls still exist. Plus it’s on the water.
  117. Top summer vacation spot in the world – Muskoka Cottage Country is the best. Lakes and waterfalls weave through 17 historic villages, where canucks gather to hear the nightly wolf chorus.
  118. The adorable slang phrases you ever did hear – need to run to the biffy or bring your two-four?
  119. Butter tarts – are a distinctly Canadian treat. Some articles have traced their origins to pioneer cookbooks published in the early 1900s. However, a 2007 Toronto Star article suggests they date back to the mid-1600s and the arrival of the filles de marier, or imported brides, from France.
  120. lanse-aux-meadowsOld Montreal – once enclosed by stone walls the oldest part of the city is a charming and beautiful area, where you’ll find Notre Dame Cathedral, stone warehouses and residences bristling with Victorian ornamentation. Also a wonderful spot for an old fashioned horse drawn carriage ride through the magical streets of the old city.
  121. MEC – Mountain Equipment Coop, a Canadian consumers’ cooperative, which sells outdoor recreation gear and clothing exclusively to it’s members founded in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1971 and noted to its commitment to environmental causes.
  122. Casa Loma – a Gothic Revival style house and gardens, lasting architectural and historical legacy in midtown Toronto, Ontario. Constructed by Sir Henry Pellatt in 1911 it took 3 years to complete at a cost of 3.5 million dollars. Featured in movies such as XMen, Chicago and Twitches Too.
  123. reasons to love CanadaThe Edmonton River Valley – is the largest largest urban park in Canada, with more than 160 kilometres of maintained pathways and 20 major parks, a natural wonder with unparalleled opportunities to connect with nature.
  124. Largest producer of potash in the world – Saskatchewan
  125. Tunnels of Moose Jaw – tour the underground tunnels where Al Capone was said to have used in his bootlegging days and explore the history of the Chinese Immigrants
  126. Caves of Vancouver Island – Vancouver Island has the largest concentration of caves in North America. Nearly 4% of the island is ‘karst’ which is a landscape formed by the erosion of soluble rocks. (That’s limestone, dolomite or gypsum.) These landscapes are characterized by sink holes and caves, which is the reason why Vancouver Island has more than 1,000 recorded caves.
  127. Has two official sports – winter sport is hockey and the summer sport is lacrosse
  128. First lighthouse in Canada at the Fortress of Louisburg
  129. reasons to love CanadaSignal Hill – 1901 when the famous Guglielmo Marconi made communications history at Signal Hill by receiving the first ever transatlantic wireless signal.
  130. The Spiral Tunnels – built on the most difficult piece of the Canadian Pacific Railway track so trains could safely climb the ‘Big Hill’ safely and is a fascinating sight to view (looks like the train is literally going in two different directions)
  131. Magnetic Hill – Moncton, New Brunswick – drive to the bottom of this world-famous hill, take your foot off the brake and your car will roll uphill in total defiance of natural law, even as your brain is telling you it’s simply not possible!
  132. L’Ile de L’Anticost – a wild and enchanting island bathed in the transparent light of the North in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and a National Park
  133. reasons to love CanadaAnne Murray – first Canadian female solo singer to reach No. 1 on the U.S. charts, and also the first to earn a Gold record for one of her signature songs, “Snowbird” in 1970
  134. The Tragically Hip – Canadian rock band from Kingston, Ontario
  135. Gordon Lightfoot – Canadian singer-songwriter who achieved international success in folk, folk-rock, and country music, and has been credited for helping define the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and 1970s.
  136. Rick Hansen – is a Canadian Paralympian, activist, and philanthropist for people with disabilities. Most famous for his Man in Motion tour.
  137. Springhill Miners Museum -The coal mines of Springhill, Nova Scotia were huge, some of the deepest and most extensive in the world. The museum encompasses the lives and stories of the Springhill miners including the story of the Springhill Mining Disasters in the 1950s which were two of the worst mining disasters in Canadian History.
  138. reasons to love CanadaThe Acadiens – descendants of the French settlers who came to Canada and mostly lived along the shores of the Bay of Fundy.
  139. We were the major port for the rescue and recovery for the Titantic – Halifax, NS was the closest major port when the Titanic sank and played a key role in rescue efforts. Cable ships were sent from Halifax to recover the bodies of the dead and many of those people were buried in the cemetaries in Halifax. There’s also an extensive exhibit at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic depicting the Titanic disaster.
  140. Joggins Fossil Cliffs – Explore one of nature’s most inspiring creations, where the highest tides in the world reveal the most complete fossil record of the “Coal Age,” 100 million years before the dinosaurs.
  141. The Second City – though the first one opened in Chicago the Second City in Toronto has found memories for me and is the home of many great starts for famous Canadian actors such as John Candy, Mike Myers, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Dan Aykroyd and has a special place in my heart because my sister Leslie Seiler works there! It has since grown to become the world’s premier comedy club, theatre and school of improvisation—with live shows every night.
  142. churches of mahone bayNeil Young
  143. Tom Cochrane
  144. We invented the Walkie-Talkie -The walkie-talkie as we know it today was produced by Canadian inventor Donald Hings in the 1930s. He created it for his company CM&S in British Columbia and it was originally known as a “packset.”
  145. The Cape Breton Highlands – one of Canada’s most enchanting places, where the mountains meet the sea. Wind through lush, forested river canyons carve into the ancient plateau, edged by rust-coloured cliffs and keep your eyes peeled for moose and bald eagles.
  146. The Salmon Run of British Columbia is a wonderful natural spectacle you have to see with your own eyes to experience the full brilliance of this colorful event.
  147. reasons to love CanadaThe Champlain Boulevard Walkway – kilometres of walkway along the beautiful St. Lawrence River
  148. Maple Syrup Pie – traditional French Canadian pie (Tarte au Sucre)
  149. The Micro-breweries of Quebec – home to more than 150 microbreweries and over 30 hop producers offering high-quality products, Québec beers stand out from the majority of U.S. beers through their long fermentation.
  150. The farmers – that is where our roots come from. That is how this great nation started and many families continue in this industry today to bring good quality food to our table.

reasons to love Canada

Canada is a wonderful, beautiful, diverse place and even though I would say that I explored and experienced many parts of this great country there is so much more to see as I have really hardly scratched the surface. This list of what we love was super fun to put together and I learned quite a bit.

Thank you to all the people who contributed their thoughts and ideas to this list without you I’d have been sitting here for months to get to 150. And I love the diversity their contributions created.

What do you love the most about Canada?


How to Grow Your Instagram with Instagram for Success

instagram for success

This post may contain affiliate links.

Some of you may have heard me raving about Instagram lately and how important it is to use as one of your social media platforms. Instagram is the social media platform with the most dedicated engagement so it makes sense to use it as a part of your business, blog or even personally. Plus it’s pretty, lol. I love all the gorgeous pictures that get posted there and often scroll through just to enjoy the beauty.

But until recently, I had heard of Instagram but really knew nothing about it. It wasn’t a social media platform I used. I didn’t understand hashtags, I got frustrated with finding and keeping followers and I didn’t think that I could in any way shape or form come up with the gorgeous photos that I was seeing posted by other people. Plus it felt like work to add one more thing to my social media plan and because I didn’t understand it – so I needed someone to convince me that it really was worth my time and effort.

In comes Helene Sula of Helene in Between. I had connected with her in one of my Facebook groups (as I am an avid worker of FB) and she was talking more and more about her program Instagram for Success and how you could use it to drive traffic to your blog and even make money! She referred to the fact that Instagram was the most used social media platform, that there was a huge reach and tons of potential. She also talked about her personal success with Instagram and how her success on this platform allowed her to move to Germany and live her dream of travelling while still generating an income. This intrigued me.

Her online course Instagram for Success, is being relaunched this week and you can join the course now until July 26, when the doors close. This online course is a go at your own pace with lifetime access. It includes 33 videos and 16 worksheets and downloads, not including the bonuses. Plus you receive the updates as they come out, straight to your inbox! And as a course participant with lifetime access you automatically receive any updates to the course and new content or changes. There’s also a 30 day money back guarantee, so if your not happy with the course she guarantees your money back.

I don’t know about you but I like the words online, own pace and lifetime access. This totally takes the pressure off to get it done – and then I find it fun and move through the course because I want to, I like it and I’m excited about it.

What is Instagram for Success exactly?

Instagram for Success will help you grow your followers, engagement, make money, learn how to edit like a pro, and so much more. It is a very comprehensive course where you’ll learn everything from how to set up your account and create an engaging bio, to finding your own voice and style, how to gain followers, decipher the Instagram algorithms, finding your ideal followers, mistakes to avoid, how to make the best use of hashtags (how to find the ones that fit for you) and how to take and edit great photos (this was the best piece for me!)

This course is for anyone (whether you are a beginner or an Instagram veteran) who wants to have more of a presence on Instagram and make money. Whether you’re a blogger, website, store or business the techniques you’ll learn in this course will benefit you and create more success on your Instagram.

instagram for success

I also love Helene she is such a vibrant, alive and passionate, fun person that you can’t help but like her. She tells it to you straight but also really encourages you to make your Instagram account your own. She shows you how to create your own voice and style to make your account stand out from the rest and not some cookie cutter recipe that makes your account look the same as everyone else’s. Yes she gives you general tips and guidelines to get you started but they are a template that you start with and create yours from there. This I found invaluable as I don’t want to be another cookie cutter.

She’s also super helpful and responsive. If you have a question, you can email her and she’ll answer you fairly quickly. I love this about her as I hate it when I take a course and have questions but can’t find anyone to answer them. I like having the support of the community and the instructor at my fingertips.

How I Was Successful With This Course

I was in a space where I was ready to take my blog to the next level (as well as working as a VA). I was curious about Instagram and I really wanted to move the blog out of the hobby phase to a spot where I could generate an actual income. (Cause honestly I love to write and share but it takes a lot of time and work and I would love to do what I love and make a living too). I also knew this knowledge would really benefit me as a VA and could be another skill that I could add that would benefit my clients.

I was a complete newbie to Instagram. I knew absolutely nothing. I didn’t even have my own account yet, but I took the leap and signed up. And I was not disappointed.

I grew my Instagram following, found hashtags with ease and have a very good understanding of how Instagram works and how to make it work for me. I have had great success in growing my own account as well as the accounts of many of my clients. We’re getting tons of engagement and growth all around and it’s very exciting!

The other thing that’s really improved is my photos. I learned tips on how to take a better photo (without the fancy camera, just my phone) and how to edit them to make them even better. I learned the art of creating flatlays – I find those quite fun – and love playing with different layouts. It gets my creative juices flowing and now I’m always on the lookout for flatlay ‘props’ and ideas. It’s allowed me to step up my game in a way I never thought I could and to do it easily. Yes I said easily, cause honestly who wants it to be hard? I’m all about ease.

When I first heard of and started with Instagram I felt really lost understanding how it worked, but with Helene’s course she provides lots of details on how to do and find stuff, tips and tricks to make it smoother, easier, faster but still professional and creating the kind of engagement that you want. She also makes it fun, which is another reason why I love doing Instagram not only for myself but for my clients!

When you sign up, you’ll join hundreds of Instagrammers just like you, ready to grow. And you’ll find a community that will support you and help bolster your Instagram. Following her method you’ll have wonderful success and engagement and you’ll have fun doing it to. Register before July 26th and take your Instagram to a whole new level. Don’t miss out!

Top 10 Uses of Peppermint Essential Oil

peppermint essential oil

Peppermint essential oil is one of the most commonly known and used essential oils yet many people do not fully realize the benefits of this fabulous oil. Personally I love peppermint, well all things mint really, I’ve always loved the freshness of it and the invigorating smell that peppermint provides. I’ve used peppermint in many things from smoothies to chocolates but until I embarked on this journey learning about oils I honestly thought that that was about all it could do. Sure it smelled nice but that was it right?

Wrong! Peppermint has many uses and health benefits to support us in our health and wellness, plus the smell is fantastic! In fact, many of them I now use daily to support my own health (can we say muscle tension after sitting all day at the computer?)

Benefits of Peppermint Essential Oil

  1. Invigorating and energizing – if you’re experiencing that afternoon slump or just need a pick me up, peppermint essential oil will do the trick. Place a drop in your palms and rub them together then loosely cup your hands over your mouth and nose and breathe deeply. Within moments you’ll feel energized and refreshed. You can also diffuse peppermint with wild orange to enhance the effects and keep you energized all day.
  2. peppermint essential oilSupports digestion – add a drop of peppermint into your water to support healthy digestion. This is also very effective if you’re experiencing digestive discomforts to alleviate those as well.
  3. Reduces heartburn – eliminate the discomfort of heart burn within minutes. Put a drop on your hand and lick it off or add to your water and drink.
  4. Alleviates headaches – place a drop on the back of your neck or on the temples to assist in eliminating headaches. Be careful when placing it on your temples not to get it too close to your eyes.
  5. Relieves muscle tension and stress – ok I didn’t think this one would work but my shoulders were feeling so tight one day I tried it. Put a drop on the area that is bothering you and give yourself a nice little massage 🙂 not only will you immediately notice the cooling sensation which is nice in itself, but it will start to release and relieve muscle tension (my shoulders say thank you).
  6. Supports breathing – peppermint clears the airways and opens things up for good clear breathing. I have a friend who’s having some breathing issues, having a hard time taking a full breath and constantly coughing. She started drinking peppermint tea on a regular basis (1 drop peppermint oil in the bottom of your mug, then add hot water and approach the mug respectfully) which has reduced her cough and opened up her airways so she can breath more deeply.
  7. Freshens bad breath – add a drop on the tongue or to your toothpaste for fresh clean breath.
  8. Improves mental focus and clarity – place a drop in the palm of your hands, rub them together and then cup your hands gently over your nose. Breath deeply, this will bring you back to a place of focus and a clear head.
  9. Natural insect repellant – there are many bugs who do not like peppermint. Ants, spiders, ticks, mosquitos and even lice will be repelled.
  10. Allergy relief – because it is highly effective in opening up the nasal passages it can clear out the muck and pollen during allergy season. Taken in combination with lemon and lavender essential oils this can be a very effective method of clearing allergies during allergy season (In fact, we recently went camping and soon after we arrived at the site my daughter got red itchy eyes and her face started to puff up. I gave her the lavender, lemon, peppermint combination and within 20 minutes she was clear and comfortable).
  11. Anti itch – any time my kids get a bug bite we immediately put on a drop of peppermint and lavender which cools the redness and soothes the itch.

peppermint essential oil

Ok so that was 11 but I thought I’d throw in a bonus one. I also use peppermint essential oil in my homemade chocolates as well as many of my smoothies. It works great in a pinch when I don’t have any fresh on hand (be aware though one drop is likely all you need).

We love peppermint and use it daily in supporting our health and wellness. Give it a try and see how peppermint essential oil benefits you and your family.

*One thing that is important to note is that not all brands of essential oils are safe to ingest. Not all oils are created equally and many store brands have synthetics and fillers in them. If one brand gives you a headache this could be why, so try another brand.

Make sure that your essential oils are 100% certified pure essential oils. I trust the doTERRA Brand Essential Oils because they exceed the highest quality standards and many of them are safe to ingest. They are clearly labeled and indicate whether or not you are able to use them internally. They are also highly potent oils because they are 100% pure and of such high quality – so you will be using less oil for the same effect compared to other brands.

Want to learn more about essential oils but don’t know where to start? Check out the Top 5 Essential Oils for Beginners.