Thursday, January 29, 2015

Nor'easter on the Island + a Giveaway!

This week, Prince Edward Island was hit with a blizzard, some called it winter storm Juno. The US East Coast of the United States and Atlantic Canada experienced this blizzard. Wikipedia has an interesting page on the January 2015 Nor'easter and CBC News explains what nor'easters are and how they form. 

It arrived Tuesday morning on the island and gave us our first shut-down of the year. Prince Edward Island pretty much closes down during bad winter storms. Schools, government offices, and many businesses do not tempt nature and instead choose to keep everyone safe and off the roads. The Nor'easter winds were powerful during this storm and we had quite a bit of snow too. 

We all stayed home Tuesday, even my husband came back home midday from work. It was a quiet day filled with warm tea, reading books, and good doses of video games and TV for my teens and husband. Lucky for them, the power stayed on. 

The dangerous effect of winter storms like this one is the very poor visibility, as you can see in the photo below. We could barely see past our neighbour's yard. 

A fun and interesting tradition on the island and Atlantic Canada, when a big storm is coming, is to stock up on "Storm Chips". I had no idea about this until we moved here. The idea is that before a storm, essentials need to be organized like water and food supplies, batteries, etc...but many also stock up on chips! Huffington Post rounded up many twitter photos last year in an article about the hashtag #stormchips in the Maritimes.  Friends pointed out to me this week that one of my instagram photos (under lifeonisland) was featured in that article!

Potato Snacks for our "storm chips"

The blizzard gave us a lot of snow drifts. Wednesday morning, from our front door, the view was like this:  

Celeste and I went to fix the bird feeder and she loved playing in the snow drifts in our backyard. 

The Canadian Homeschooler has compiled great blog posts well worth reading from the Canadian Homeschool Bloging Team . A lot of great ideas there to enjoy the winter months with your family, many which can apply to all families, not just homeschooling. The Canadian Homeschooler is also hosting a great giveaway of Winter Learning eBooks from On the Mark Press.  I suggest making a nice cup of tea and visiting Lisa's great post

Homeschooling Through the Winter 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Rawtarian Raw Cleanse ~ My Experience

As part of my peace focus this year, I signed up with The Rawtarian to do a low-fat raw cleanse. I had originally decided to follow the cleanse for 7 days, but ended up doing it for 10 full days. It was that good and so easy to follow. It didn't feel like a cleanse at all! 

First, I need to let you know how helpful The Rawtarian website is! 

Once you sign up for the membership, all the e-books, recipes, podcasts and courses are available to you. There is so much to choose from! 

I explored the Raw Dehydrating 101 course, the Raw Food Diet Plan Course, and the Raw Baby Steps Program. I also downloaded a few e-books and listened to a couple of podcasts. The podcasts and many of the videos are available to everyone from what I could tell. Laura-Jane's blog is full of inspiring posts as well. 

If you are new to raw, this page is a great place to start, and it is accessible to everyone.

Many recipes are available to everyone, even without signing up so if you are interested in making something yummy and raw, you should go visit here. The raw lemon bars recipe is a must try, in my opinion! 

The Member Community is another great part of the website. Personally, I really enjoyed using the personalized journal section to record my progress and thoughts. Laura-Jane, the Rawtarian, pops in regularly and leaves comments and support to all members which is wonderful. 

My history with the raw food lifestyle 

I had dabbled into the raw food way when Celeste was a baby, so about ten years ago! A friend had introduced me to raw foods, juicing, and dehydrating. She also had taught me how to make almond milk from scratch. My husband and I had loved the experience. At the time, we had invested in the equipment necessary to follow a raw food lifestyle, mainly a food processor (Cuisinart Pro-Classic), a good dehydrator (this Excalibur Dehydrator ), and a juicer (this Omega Juicer). 

The dehydrator and juicer are great tools, but I didn't need either for this cleanse. A really strong powerful blender is the one tool we don't have, so a Vitamix is on my wish list. For this cleanse, I used my food processor a lot!  

Over the years, I have continued using juicing and dehydrating. It is not something I do every week, and sometimes months go by even. I do miss including raw foods in my regular routine, and so this year, I wanted to start the year with a raw food boost! 

My experience with The Rawtarian Raw Cleanse 

The raw cleanse was very well organized. I loved how steps were separated by modules, making it less overwhelming. It felt like the Rawtarian was with me every step of the way. Her instructions are very helpful and clear. A weekly menu, as well as detailed shopping lists and all the recipes were included. Some recipes also came with videos where Laura-Jane showed exactly how to make the raw food dishes. 

I appreciated that there were no "weird" hard to find ingredients and the recipes were simple to make. 

Besides the very first morning of the cleanse, I was never hungry during the ten days. I had to adjust the breakfast meal by adding protein with hemp hearts to the fruits. My body needed that. In the photos above, you can see my breakfast. I added hemp hearts and some unsweetened coconut at times too. 

My favourite meal was lunch. I never thought I would say it, but I love baby spinach salads with celery! The spreads that the Rawtarian uses in salads are tasty and add nutrition. The simple dressing of apple cider vinegar was perfect too. Here is an example, from the free recipes area: raw salmon salad pate.  My favourite by far was the celery spread, in top left photo below, recipe only available to members. 

The raw "egg" salad was really tasty too! It's the second one from the top left in my mosaic below. 

While lunch was my favourite, I also really did very well with eating three meals a day and two snacks. My body obviously needs this routine. I tend to skip lunch too often, and I rarely eat snacks. I have always had a small appetite and get so busy with life that I forget to eat. 

During the cleanse, I felt great, had energy, and mentally felt very clear too. I didn't have "mood swings" or any PMS symptoms like I usually do...sorry if this is too much info but the timing was perfect to test this! I usually suffer from bad PMS and I am often very weak and fatigued during and after my periods, but not this time. I felt wonderful. I have been doing daily yoga since the start of the year too, so this very likely helps too. Still, the food has been fueling my yoga practice very well. 

The two desserts from the cleanse were yummy too! The raw lemon bars (in the 3 photos below) were so tasty, especially with the coconut. The first week's dessert were raw brownies, these were super tasty on top of fruits (recipe for members only). 

What I have learned from this cleanse, besides being able to make delicious raw meals and snacks! 

♥ My body needs three meals and two snacks every day. 
♥ Planning ahead, making sure I always have fresh fruits, baby spinach, and nuts, is very important and crucial for eating well for me.  
♥ Always carry water and a simple quick snack like almonds with me (top right photo in the mosaic above)
♥ Eating raw lunches is a quick and easy way to make sure I do eat lunch. 

My plan now is to continue eating vegan, aiming for raw lunches, especially green salads since I am still not tired of eating those. Breakfast will be a rotating routine of raw and cooked foods like granola and warm porridge. 

Snacks can be quick and delicious. My favourite right now is two apples and a banana cut with some hemp hearts and unsweetened coconut sprinkled on. 

During my raw cleanse, I still had to make dinners for my family. Making two or three dinners, because we have 3 meat eaters and 1 vegetarian in our family, was my least favourite part. At least, most of my raw dinners were prepared in advance and separated in portions for a few days. This made it a bit easier as I only had to put my meal together at dinner. For some dinners, my husband took over cooking, which helped a lot. Still, this is not something I could keep doing for dinners, which is why I am choosing to eat raw for breakfast/lunch instead. 

Overall, doing the raw cleanse with the Rawtarian's help and support was truly a wonderful experience. If you are curious about raw foods, I would strongly recommend visiting her website. 

My experience was the perfect boost to kickstart the new year and get in the habit of including a lot more fresh raw vegetables, greens, and fruits to my daily meals. It also reinforced my belief that I do a lot better staying vegan. 

Raw 5-minute spaghetti (noodles are raw zucchini)

This review is based on my own personal experience. I did not receive a membership to the Rawtarian website or any compensation for this review post. I truly loved the experience so much that I wanted to share my thoughts with you. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Weekly Homeschool Report + Friday Link ♥

Celeste and I had another week filled with learning and friends! 

This week started with a full Monday morning of reading. It was a last minute change from our regular routine. Celeste started her day with reading, even during breakfast. She was immersed in her book "Ava and Pip" by Carol Weston She asked if she could keep reading and I said yes! We both read all morning and then visited friends in the afternoon. 

Homeschooling is wonderful for the freedom to switch things around some days, and to be free to read all the time! 

The rest of the week was filled with our regular routine. Math lessons were completed as well as language arts. Spelling is still going very well. 

Tuesday was poetry tea time. 

Wednesday, Celeste played word games (Rory's Story Cubes)  with her dad who was off work. 

We continued reading the Arrow novel for this month, which is "Where the Red Fern Grows". Celeste likes the story of the dogs, but not the hunting scenes. We are nearing the end of the book and are starting our work on the writing project. 

Celeste finished her report on the Aquarius constellation this week. We read more from this fascinating book "Stories of the Zodiac". 

In history, we finished learning about cathedrals. Celeste read to me while I coloured, role reversal. It was lovely! 

We read a sweet story book "Cathedral Mouse".  We also learned about the crusades and read another very interesting book "Saladin", by Diane Stanley. 

Celeste also started her next hands-on project for history, which is sculpting a little statue out of plaster of Paris. She will sculpt next week.  

In our USA geography study, we read about New Jersey. 

We volunteered at the library again this week. Celeste had finished her book by then and was so pleased to be able to recommend it! 

We've had a bit of an origami obsession going on lately. Celeste learns new origami techniques from a library program once a month, and is also playing around with new folds at home. It has been a lot of fun, and I've made a few things with her too. 

On Thursday, Celeste had a friend over for lunch and board games. We all listened to musicals songs at the same time. Lots of fun and laughter! 

Here are a few favourite links from this week: 

♥ Celeste and I created a YouTube playlist a few weeks ago filled with her favourite musicals songs: Fun Dancing with Musicals & Movie Soundtracks.

BBC Hidden Kingdoms. We watched all 3 episodes on Netflix Canada this week, we love these!  
♥ Great list of cool YouTube science channels for kids, by what do we do all day (which is a great blog to visit too)

♥ Did you know that Friday, January 23 was National Handwriting Day? I shared this interesting article from International Business Times on my Snail Mail All Year facebook page. 

I am linking this post to the weekly wrap-up post by Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers. 

Have a great weekend, stay cozy! 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Winter Vision Board & Yoga ~ Hibernate 2015

As part of the online workshop Hibernate from Beauty that Moves, I made a winter vision board using my winter wellness recipe. This workshop has already made such a nice impact on my life. I am really enjoying taking the time to slowly enjoy this season. 

I had cleared out the bulk of my magazines at the beginning of this year, but managed to find a few around the house to use for this project. I cut everything that I could find that related to my winter wellness recipe and then set out to place it all on my piece of paper. I used a blue sheet from 12x16 paper pad my mother-in-law had given me. I glued everything down and then used a little washi tape for more colour.

I really like this winter vision board. I remember playing around with making vision boards a few years ago. I didn't realize how I missed it! I think a seasonal board is a great idea that I would like to implement this year.  It is a fun process and a great visual reminder to see every day. 

I placed my winter vision board on my bulletin board, which sits above my desk, so I see it all the time and it's in our family room which means everyone else will see it too! 

As part of my focus on peace this year, I implemented daily yoga into my routine. I am following the 30 days of yoga with Adriene and loving it! I mentioned this in last week's homeschool report. Every morning that I practice yoga, I take a quick photo and post it on my instagram. Today, I made a little mosaic with all my photos so far. Yoga for me happens at 6:30am so the lighting isn't the best but I love it ♥.