Monday, December 5, 2016

Winter Books Giveaway and Review

It is time for another books giveaway with Raincoast Books! I had the pleasure of reviewing two winter themed children books. Reading children books is still one of my favourite things to do, even if all my children are much older! Celeste enjoys them too. The winner of this giveaway will receive a copy of both of the books I have reviewed. 

image from Raincoast Books

The Wish Tree is a story by Kyo Maclear with magical art by Chris Turnham. It is a beautiful story of kindness and helping others. Charles, the little boy in this story, is looking for a wish tree. His siblings don't believe he will be successful. On his quest, Charles meets several forest animals and helps each one, with Boggan his tobaggan. The end of the story is heart warming, a great tale for this holiday season and for all winter long. 

image from Raincoast Books

Waiting for Snow, by Marsha Diane Arnold with drawings by Renata Liwska, is a fun story with adorable forest animals. Badger is tired of waiting for snow to fall. He tries to bring on snow by banging on pots and pans. His friends try to help him out with their own unique ideas, from throwing rocks up into the clouds to dancing a snow dance. This is a cute children's story about friendship and patience.

Disclosure: I received a copy of these two books for review from Raincoast Books. All opinions expressed are completely honest and my own, based on my personal experience. Your experience may differ. 

Raincoast Books is providing this giveaway and it is available to Canadian residents only, ages 18 and up. Winner of the giveaway will receive the two books featured in my review. Enter the giveaway below! 

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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Magical Snowy Charlottetown

Victoria Row

Winter is truly magical on the island. Being able to experience all four seasons fully is one of my favourite things about living in Canada. This past week, we had a good snow fall and I left early one morning for work to enjoy a walk around the historical part of Charlottetown. 

St Dunstan's Basilica 

We often have winds on the island and when it also snows, everything gets covered in snow. I love how each branch of trees gets covered, which makes for beautiful white trees. 

Snowy trees in front of Province House 

Remembrance Day Wreaths at the Charlottetown Cenotaph covered in snow,
also in front of Province House 

I often "over-share" on my instagram, so if you enjoy these photos, come find me. I am "lifeonisland" on instagram. 

If you would like to see more of Prince Edward Island, you can head over to this page where you will find a list of all my blog posts related to our exploring of the island! 

NaNoWriMo 2016 ~ I Did IT!

NaNoWriMo is now over, until November 2017! I am so happy that I was able to complete the challenge of writing a 50,000 words novel in the month of November! 

Writing about my own life was by far the most challenging but it was also wonderful to revisit some of my favourite memories.  It felt like therapy in a way, especially when I was writing about some of the most difficult things that happened in my life so far. To say it was a roller coaster ride would be an understatement. 

It takes a lot of time to write 50,000 words and that meant that for most of the month, if I had free time available, I wrote. On days that I couldn't write, I tried really hard to catch up the following day. Somehow, it all worked out this time! 

I always have my bullet journal with me so writing the word count goals and then my actual progress in it was a great visual reminder. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Scandinavian Comfort Food: Embracing the Art of Hygge ~ Book Review

This past year, I have been intrigued by the idea of "hygge". This lifestyle concept comes from Denmark and is not easily translated into English. It is about an atmosphere more than one thing in particular. The atmosphere is a combination of not just the place, but the companionship and the situation. It could be your own home, but also a cafe, a walk in nature, a casual meeting with a group of friends, or even by yourself. 

Trine Hahnemann, the author of Scandinavian Comfort Food: Embracing the Art of Hygge inspires and explains in more details. Hygge or Hyggelight is an essential part of the Danish culture. A home that is hyggelight is "a home that feels lived in, a home that reflects who you are and tells your story." 

Hygge also happens at work for Danes, with simple rituals like sharing cake for all different types of occasions. Hygge is something that happens in every season, but winter can be pictured as more hygge filled season with details like candlelight to brighten the dark evenings. In the summer, eating outside with friends is a great example of hygge. I was very inspired while reading this book to take the time to include more hygge in our home and routines. 

Scandinavian Comfort Food is filled with recipes that will bring that cozy feelings that accompany delicious foods. The recipes are organized in sections that reflect the way the author cooks and eats. From her everyday recipes to family meals, soups and salads, and holiday meals. There are vegetarian recipes and many with meat. The chapters on preserves and breads are both amazing and that is what I chose two recipes from the bread section to make first! 

The first recipe was the Danish Flutes, which are similar to baguettes. I had never tried baking french baguettes before, but was curious to try Trine's recipe! It takes two days to make these but the instructions are very clear and simple to follow. The result was an amazing and tasty flute, with a crispy crust and a soft middle. I know I will  be making these again! The recipe suggests using a strong white bread flour but I only had all purpose unbleached white flour, so that is what I used. 

The second recipe was for meringue cookies called Walnut Kisses. With only four ingredients, it was another very simple recipe to follow. The result was a sweet cookie with a walnut crunch but that also melted in your mouth. I took a few with me to share with friends while watching the evening Christmas parade. One friend said she did not like walnuts but decided to give one cookie a try and ended up really enjoying it. The walnuts are chopped and give a nice contrast to the sweetness of the meringue. 

I will be trying two soup recipes next, the Mushroom Soup for myself and for the family the Chicken Soup with Herbs and Root Vegetables. These should be great for our late autumn weather we are having lately. 

Scandinavian Comfort Food: Embracing the Art of Hygge by Trine Hahnemann can be found at: 

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review from Raincoast Books. All opinions expressed are completely honest and my own, based on my personal experience. Your experience may differ.