Get out…and stay out!!

I mean that in the nicest way 🙂 

The rain has finally (fingers crossed) subsided here in southern Ontario and although some trails are still closed because Lake Ontario is bursting at its seems, the sun is shining again and we are itching to get out!

Val is on the move hiking by the river close to her house everyday and enjoying the sun and the wildlife that is making new homes for the summer there.  I am finally mobile after 3 months of rehab for a ligament injury (insert whining here), but I have to say on a side note, that Physiotherapy works.  Seriously.  Abide by the therapist and you can’t go wrong!  Anyhooo…I won’t labour on about that…it is FINALLY time to get out into the trails!

I don’t know who is more excited…me or my dog!

Something I learned from nursing this injury and making my way back into the trails in a sort of running/walking/hiking way, is just how much I missed being outside.  I rehabbed a lot in the gym, for which I was grateful to have use of, but wow did I ever miss outside.

The trails are awesome for exercise as well as state of mind.  The ground is naturally cushioning.  The trees provide some shade if the day is hot or even rainy.  The rolling hills of the trails get the heart rate pumped up to give you a great cardio workout.

We tend to make things very complicated with our fitness.  We need the gadgets and the gizmos to feel like we are doing something worth while.  The simplicity of getting out into the woods and hiking can not only get your heart pumping but also fill it with the joy of being out surrounded by nature.  Our minds can slow down and take in all of the beauty that is around us.  The results are incredible.

So here’s the challenge.  No matter where you live, check out some outdoor space for your next ‘workout’.  Don’t worry about the watch or the fitbit!  Just put the shoes on and go and enjoy what surrounds you. It could be woods, trails, beach, or boardwalks.  You won’t be sorry.




A Fond Farewell~Westdale Theatre

“Of all the arts, movies are the most powerful aid to empathy, and good ones make us into better people.”
― Roger Ebert

Last night we said good bye to a dear old friend.  Well, actually a few old friends, but one old girl in particular that we will hold close to our heart for all time.

We said good bye to Westdale Theatre as we know and love it. She was purchased recently by the Westdale Cinema Group, whose hope it is to give her a face lift and breathe new life into her bones.

The day the theatre was listed for sale, after operating since 1935, our city was at risk of losing its last operating movie theatre of its kind.  One by one, over the years, the theatres of our youth, and my parents’ youth have closed and turned into other businesses or torn down completely.  The chance that this gem would turn into a restaurant or retail outlet or worse, bull-dozed, was enough to make us feel sick at the very thought.

As thankful as we are for the new life she will see, and the fact that she will still be showing some great independent films in her next life, we are faced with saying good bye to her past in order to say hello to her future.

This wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.

The Westdale Theatre is in walking distance of our home.  We have enjoyed movies there for about 20 years; ever since we moved into the area.  Showing mostly independent films, we were exposed to so many that we would not have known about if it hadn’t been for the theatre screening them.  Checking to see the latest screen offerings for the week is  a ritual that will be missed.  Sometimes, well, most times, we didn’t even know what the movie was about, we would just pick a night and go see it.  More often than not, we would walk home from the theatre flooded with a gamete of emotions.  The films we viewed there moved us, elated us, saddened us, and got us talking.

I like to think that the impact these movies had on us, wasn’t just from the films themselves, but because of where we were when we saw them.

We saw two movies this last week.  Maudie, with Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke, which was a sweet, heartwarming movie about Maude Lewis, the folk artist from Nova Scotia, and Le Havre, a French film from 2011, for the final film of the Westdale Theatre’s life this time around.  At first I wondered why Le Havre was picked as their final film, and for whatever the real reason is, I like to think it encompassed all of what we loved about the Westdale Theatre.  It was quirky, weird, independent and made you smile.  Exactly how you would describe the old girl.

So they say change is inevitable.  They also say change is good. I am hopeful the new keepers of this somewhat sacred place will not venture too far from her purpose as a place to screen movies to those who love independent film.

To the Theatre, you are forever etched into our memories as one of our most cherished places in Hamilton.  Thank you for showing us life in so many different genres.

I would be horribly remiss if I didn’t say how incredibly thankful we are for the staff that kept the old girl going all these years.  We will truly miss you all and wish all staff, past and present, a wonderful future.

I’ve shared a few pics from our last emotion filled evening at the Westdale Theatre.

Roasted Sweet Potato, Pomegranate & Quinoa Salad



RSP-P&Q Salad!

Ok.  The name doesn’t roll off the tongue, but the salad is amazing!

With the sunny skies and warmer weather becoming more prominent we all look for something fresh and full of flavour to eat.

The Roasted Sweet Potato, Pomegranate and Quinoa Salad is so full of deliciousness that you will be going back for more.


  • 3 large sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 2 small red onions, cut into wedges
  • 3 cups cooked and cooled quinoa
  • 1 fresh pomegranate, seeded
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp pink sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • Lemon wedges for serving



  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Be sure to rinse the quinoa with cold running water and strain through a fine sieve until water runs clear. Set aside quinoa, let cool completely before using.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 F and line a tray with parchment paper. Place onion wedges on one side and the sweet potato cubes to the other side. Drizzle the onions and the sweet potato with 2 tbsp of olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 15 minutes until the onion is soft. Remove the onions to cool completely and allow the sweet potato to cook another 10 minutes or until tender. Remove the sweet potato and allow to cool completely.
  3. In a large serving bowl add the quinoa, vegetables, pomegranate seeds, lemon, olive oil, sea salt and pepper to taste. Adjust seasonings to your taste. Gently fold ingredients until evenly blended.  Serve with lemon wedges.



Roasted and cubed mixed bell peppers and or eggplant are wonderful additions to this colourful, nutrient-rich salad. You may serve this with chick pea falafel and tahini dressing for a satisfying and delicious meal. You may substitute the basil for fresh finely diced parsley.

Let us know if you give it a try!  It’s officially salad season and they don’t have to be boring!

Apple~Strawberry Crisp

Apple~Strawberry Crisp made Gluten Free and Vegan!

One of my all time favourite desserts to bring to a get together is Apple Crisp.  With Strawberry season on the horizon, I couldn’t help but include them in my recipe this time.

With vegans and gluten-free individuals, it is a super easy recipe to make both vegan and gluten free.  Using the Only Oats gluten free oats and vegan margarine (we use Earth Balance), this recipe still tastes amazing and actually makes a great breakfast too.


  • 9 small to medium sized apples
  • 2 cups frozen sliced strawberries
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (for the fruit mixture)
  • 2 cups of Only Oats oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup hemp hearts
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour plus 1 tablespoon for fruit mixture
  • 1/2 cup sugar for topping
  • 1/3 cup Earth Balance Vegan margarine


  1. Slice up apples ( I didn’t peal them but you certainly can)
  2. Put the apples into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Put in the lemon juice and 1/3 cup of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
  4. Mix to coat the apples.
  5. Add the 1 tablespoon of brown rice flour.
  6. Add the strawberries and mix again.
  7. Put the mixture into a 9 x 13 glass pan and heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  8. In a smaller bowl, put the oats in, the 1/2 cup of brown rice flour, hemp hearts, 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/3 cup of margarine and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
  9. Cover the fruit mixture with the topping and completely cover the fruit.
  10. Pop in oven for 45-50 minutes on 375 degrees.

Serve hot for the most delicious dessert and maybe some ice cream on the side 🙂

And if there happen to be any leftovers, like I said, it makes a delicious breakfast….hey it has fruit…and oatmeal…right?


Local(s) Extinction

Whoa…that’s a heady title..

I know this may not fall in the realm of ‘Crave-Life’ and what we normally post, but I felt the need to share my thoughts on something that is happening in my city.

I live in Hamilton, Ontario.  For most of our readers, they may not be familiar where it is.  Hamilton is about a 45 minute drive to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, which mostly everyone reading has heard of in some context.  You may have family there.  You may be a sports fan and know of our Jays, Raptors, or Leafs.  You may have visited or may be some of our Canadian readers who know and love or loathe Toronto.  😉

I like Toronto…or the Six…or T-Dot (that one ages me).  But what ever you call it, I do enjoy Toronto.  I enjoy visiting and going to events like concerts or sporting events there.  I even like to go for dinner.

Hamilton was put on the map from its history as a steel producer.  Steel City.  The Hammer.  Those are just a couple of the nick names it was labelled with over the years.  I know there are few others that are more insulting but I won’t validate those by posting them.

I love my city and I wouldn’t do that to it.

Born and raised here, myself,  in the Hammer, save a couple of years of moving for work, we chose to raise our kids here.  I won’t go into a “why Hamilton is a great place to raise a family” rant so don’t click away yet.  There are enough of those articles around if you want to read them.

My city is changing and I am torn about this change.

As much as I want to be happy, I feel this angst welling up in me that wants to say “put on the brakes!” as we are careening towards the guard rail and off the escarpment.

I love to see people enjoying our city…finally.  For years we were the butt of many a joke.  We were seen as the smelly kid in the class that no one wants to invite to their birthday party.

Not now.

Now we are the preppy new kid that both boys and girls are vying for their affections.

We see you batting your eyes at us wanting us to pay attention to you now. You want us to invite you to the prom, don’t you?  We are eating at the popular kids table, and we are loving it.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t happy about this.

I would also be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about this.

As an admitted chronic worrier, add this to the list of many.

I worry that we will be unrecognizable one day, like the girl you called plain in high school that shows up at the 10 year reunion with a killer body and hair extensions.

I worry that our beloved locals who have called Hamilton home for generations through the neglect will be pushed out;  the locals that lived where no one else wanted, the locals that know their neighbours and knew their neighbour’s parents, the locals that kept neighbourhood businesses going for decades.

They will pay the price for this ‘progress’

Are we ok with this?

I honestly don’t know if I am.  Like I said, I am torn.

On one hand, with this progress comes a renewed sense of Hamilton pride, which is at an all time high.  People don’t wince when you tell them where you are from. (and believe me, they used to).  Many Torontonians are exploring Hamilton and some relocating to Hamilton because of the obscene price of real estate in Toronto.  We welcome you with open arms, truly.

On the other hand, the increase in our real estate here, mirroring Toronto’s, is pushing people out of homes where they built their lives. Some businesses are finding rent unaffordable as landlords find themselves in the driver’s seat, able to ask an ever-expanding increase in their monthly rental fees.

Perhaps this is naive of me to suggest that we owe it to the legacy locals to ensure they can continue to call Hamilton home.  It is their genuine love for the city and perseverance that gave Hamilton the confidence to undergo this transformation.  They were the ones living here, working here, and fighting for improvements long before the Tapas bars and Wine Lounges were lining the streets.

I recognize the complexity of this situation we find ourselves, with no simples answers to appease everyone.

My hope for my city is that as we emerge out of the rust, we ensure those who kept its heart beating can still call Hamilton home.

We owe them that.

I would normally apologize for the heady post, but I would be lying if I said I was sorry.

I leave you with a short poem that ended up with this post being written.


Rusty steel mills transforming,

Turning into Tapas bars and Wine Lounges

Encouraging the money to visit,

Leaving behind the legacy locals

To scurry from the rising condos.


I better get back to baking!

Isn’t she….pretty in Pink..

Daily Prompt – Pink

Pretty in Pink 

This John Hughes movie came out in 1986.  I had just turned 20.

We had all been introduced to Molly Ringwald in 1984 with Sixteen Candles and then in 1985 with The Breakfast Club.  Her character of Andie, a poor girl who ends up having to chose between a rich, preppy guy and her equally unique childhood sweetheart, is still one of my all time most relatable characters.  Not because I grew up in poverty, or that I had to chose between the affections of anyone, but because she was what I aspired to be.


Her non-traditional looks may have been categorized as ‘different’ or ‘unique’ and probably to some as ‘not attractive’, but for those of us who never fit into the mould of ‘traditionally pretty’, she was our hero.  Molly and her character Andie, smashed the stereotypes of the time, and one may argue, that still exist today.  She wasn’t blond and tall, or raven haired and exotic.  She didn’t try to fit the style of the times, she made her own style.

In the movie, of course, she even shirks the original story line by ending up with Blane, the rich preppy guy that usually goes for the model types, over her quirky, lovable bestie, Duckie.  Even though our hearts broke for Duckie at the time, we all secretly hoped her relationship with Blane would end soon after and she would see the error of her ways and go running to the Duckman.  One can dream when there is no sequel. 😉

When I saw the daily prompt, my mind went immediately to Pretty in Pink.  I don’t know how many times I’ve seen the movie (too many to count) and I had the soundtrack on cassette back in the day and now it is part of my Spotify list.  Sure, nostalgia comes into play but I think we could use with more characters like Andie in life.  Her desire to not fit in gave us fellow so called ‘weirdos’ a queen of our own.

I thought I’d give you a few fun facts about the movie, Pretty in Pink.  As I was reading IMDB about it, there were definitely things I didn’t know so I thought I would share them with you guys!

Five things about Pretty in Pink

  1. The highschool scenes were shot in the same highschool as Grease. (I know!!)
  2. The original ending had Andie ending up with Duckie 😦
  3. James Spader (Stef) was first offered the role of Blane but he liked to play a villain instead.  Yeh, he totally worked as Stef.
  4. Molly hated the pink prom dress she had to wear.
  5. The book Andie hands to Blane when he comes into the bar, Trax is “In his own write” by John Lennon.

There are so many more cool trivia facts about this movie, you could spend the day on IMDB.  I have included the link to the page if you click on  Pretty in Pink. and if you haven’t seen this movie, it may be 30 years old now, but still has the heart it did in 1986.


via Daily Prompt: Pink

Coconut Onion Rings – Veganized

Well I promised you would see the result of my attempt to veganize The Hungry Elephant‘s Coconut Onion Ring recipe.

They turned out pretty darn good!

Now, I wil probably guess they weren’t as crispy as hers.  I got the coating to be crispy but the overall ring was a little wiggly.

Here’s how we did it if you want to give it a go!


  • A large spanish onion – cut into rings
  • 1 cup of unsweetened, plain Almond Milk
  • 1 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup of brown rice flour
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil


  1. Cut your onion into rings and separate.
  2. Mix your almond milk and olive oil and whisk to combine.
  3. Mix your coconut and rice flour and whisk together.
  4. Take the rings, one at a time and submerge into the almond milk mixture, then into the coconut mixture.  Now, I did a few just one pass through this sequence, but I found the ones that turned out the best had another go around, so do this twice and I think you’ll find they coat a little better.
  5. Heat up some oil in a fry pan.
  6. Once you have coated a few, and the oil is hot, put the rings in single layer in your pan just long enough to brown a bit on each side.
  7. Then put them onto a cookie sheet where you slide them into the oven on Broil.
  8. I broiled them and they really browned up nicely with a crispy coating on them.

We had fun eating them too!

Thanks again to The Hungry Elephant for the inspiration!

Spring/Summer Goals for 2017

Setting some Blog goals for 2017!

Well we are coming up on TWO YEARS that we have been sharing and blogging and chatting and reading with you all.

We have made some amazing gains here as far as our readership goes and we would love to share some of our goals over the next few months with you guys.  We would also love your feed back on any changes you think we should make and also if there are any recipes or fitness items you would like us to focus on too!

Well the first three months of our blog back in 2015, (June, July and August) saw 1472 visitors to our blog.  The same three months in 2016 saw 3864 visitors.  That means we had another 2392 visitors the over the same time period, which is a 62% increase!


We have just a short list of 5 things we would like to do over the course of the next three months and PLEASE let us know what you think or if there is anything you would like to see.

  1. Increase visitors over the next 3 months by 30% from last years numbers.  That would mean another 1159 visitors.  I think we can accomplish this one by bringing you some great recipes and some interesting articles.
  2. Take more photos!!!  I love visiting blogs where the pics are so bold a beautiful.  We definitely want to add more visuals to our posts.
  3. Post at least 2 times a week.  I would love to do 3 so we will try to do that but I think minimum will be 2.
  4. Spend at least 20 minutes per day purusing the blogs we follow.  This one won’t be hard for me as the blogs we follow are awesome and I can easily get lost in them 😉
  5. Guest blog posts!  This is something we would love to do.  Not just a reblog but a ral guest spot would be awesome.

Well, this is our little list of goals to make for our blog.  I will be posting my veganized coconut onion rings we made last night!  Spoiler…they were delish. 😉


Coconut Onion Rings~Hungry Elephant

Had to share this!

Kalie over at The Hungry Elephant has been posting some amazing recipes this year and if you haven’t strolled over to her blog or YouTube channel, What are you waiting for?!  Seriously good stuff.

Coconut Onion Rings!

Ok…a few years ago I tried Coconut Onion Rings from a Food Truck here in Hamilton and fell in love.  So good!  But sadly, the food truck is no longer in business 😦

They were always in the back of my mind to try to make but then….The Hungry Elephant read my mind and boom!  There it was!



I am going to give this recipe a try with a few slight alterations.  This recipe is made keto, which means no flour, which is great for gf option.  I will use some almond milk as a binder and try to go vegan with these too.   I am going to add a little rice flour to mine and try to broil them and then bake.  I really hope this works!

I’ll post the final result…good or bad tonight!

Thanks to The Hungry Elephant for reminding me of these yummy guys and for posting the video!

Instagram Recap!


Spending some time purusing Instagram this week and thought we would share some of our fave accounts with you guys!


 Going from Top going Left to Right ~

  1. The Burnt Tongue – Local soup restaurant here in Hamilton.  Not only do they make an amazing variety of soups that cater to vegan and gluten free people as well as for the omnivorous, they have killer french fries.
  2. Henry Brown’s Small Batch Ice Cream  – Local small batch ice cream shop that resides in the Hamilton Market.  Delicious ice cream with some vegan options too!
  3. The Hamilton Farmers Market – Running since 1837, the Hamilton Farmers’ Market will give you just about anything.  Locally sourced, straight from the farm produce and made baked goods, cheeses and meats.
  4. Donut Monster –  Almost no explanation necessary.  Local Donuts available Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at a number of different locations throughout Hamilton.  Vegan options available every week.  Best part of the week 😉
  5. Royal Botanical Gardens – The RBG is a 2700 acres botanical garden and nature sanctuary located in Hamilton/Burlington.  Beautiful trails and gardens to explore.
  6. PieBird Farm Sanctuary – A warm and wonderful spot in Nippissing, Ontario.  Enjoy the Bed and Breakfast or cottage rental while exploring this vegan animal sanctuary.  Yan and Sherry are the most amazing hosts.
  7. Green Bar Hamilton – The pic is of their vegan version of the Starbucks Unicorn Frap!  Best smoothies in town and the food is fantastic too!  We go probably once a week for lunch or dinner 🙂 DEEEELISH!
  8. Esther The Wonder Pig – Is there any explanation necessary for this diva?  Esther and her Dads live on an animal sanctuary in Campbellville, Ontario where they house many other rescues.  We have volunteered a few times on the farm and are planning another ‘farm day’ for June!
  9. Merrys_end_of_Life – This instagram is a celebration of life with pictures taken and curated by Merry, who is dealing with the challenging disease of COPD.  Merry is a local legend and her photos and positivity inspires us to live life to the fullest and enjoy the flowers along the way.

We hope you enjoy the little gallery of Instagram accounts we have put together for you!

Check some out and give some a follow if you like what they have to offer!  AND while you’re at it, click on Crave__Life and give us a follow too!




Mango Summer Smoothie Bowl

I couldn’t help but re-blog this one. I’ve had mango on my mind lately and just look at this smoothie bowl ❤ beautiful.

If you get a chance, check out this blog Stunning photos and lovely recipes.

T h e C o o k b o o k L i f e

It’s officially summer – Mangoes are in season! Treat yourself to this cold and creamy smoothie bowl perfect for a hot summer’s day. A naturally sweetened tropical blend of mangoes and coconut to kick start your mornings, a hint of fresh mint and that splash of coconut water to keep you well hydrated. Top it up with a bunch of fresh fruit and granola and you’ve got yourself a quick and healthy breakfast in no time.

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Minimalism and the Sentimental Mind

While on the evening commute yesterday, I listened to one of the latest podcasts from The Minimalists. If you’re unfamiliar with them, I encourage you to check out their podcasts as well as their documentary, Minimalism, on Netflix. It was their podcast, ‘Clutter’, that inspired me to write about my own experience with one of the aspects that they touched on; what to do with items you inherit or will inherit when you’re trying to minimize your own life.

I have lost both of my parents. My Mother when I was 26 and my Dad 7 years ago, so I am faced with items in my home that were theirs. When my Mom passed away at a young age, I felt the need to have as many items of hers as possible. One thought that kept racing through my mind was “I would be living my life from 26 years old without my Mother”, and I had to have something that was tangible to make me feel like she was there with me. I kept some sweaters, a coat she always wore, a long purple velvet dress I remember her wearing to any fancy event they were going to, a kilt she bought on holiday to Nova Scotia, and some jewelry. My Mom’s jewelry consisted of a couple of broaches, a few pairs of earrings, string of salt water pearls and her wedding rings. These items alone, were manageable, but once my Dad moved out of our family home and into assisted living, the need to possess as many items from my childhood was an unstoppable force. I was grasping. Grasping for something to remain the same in my world that had kids growing up at the speed of light, my Dad getting older to the point of not being able to care for himself, and the empty hole that was there since my Mom passed that I had lived with for so many years. Changes were fast and furious and maybe just having these items around would slow down time.

When my Dad moved out of his home, our home inherited more stuff. We ended up with a wall unit (admittedly I wanted this because my Mom had bought it just before she died), my Grandmother’s china and crystal, silver plated serving dishes, a coffee table, hall table, a few knick knacks, like Dalton figurines, and an old Singer sewing machine (you know the wooden type that fold down to resemble a desk). We also ended up with novels; lots of novels as my parents were avid readers (my Mom was a librarian). I also took a sweater that my Mother had knit my Dad that was way too big for him now and a couple of watercolour paintings that were hanging in his home that she had painted the last few years of her life.

The stuff that we brought (ok, I brought) into our home were carefully rationalized. The lack of time I had with my parents, especially my Mother, had to be filled somehow. She hadn’t seen my kids grow up and arguably my Dad wasn’t really present after she died either, so the day she died marks the day I lost them both to some degree. The idea of having their stuff surrounding me and my family somehow felt comforting and gave me the illusion of them actually being there. Their stuff made it easier for me to talk about them to my kids.

My husband and I had three kids. Our oldest was about 18 months old when I lost my Mom, so all three of them never knew their Grandmother. I wanted them to know her through her things. My Dad was never quite the same after she died. He tried for a few years to be engaged in our lives and his own, but depression and loneliness won out over the desire to go on. We (my siblings and I) tried to keep him interested in our what was going on with ourselves and our kids but his patience for living, or I guess I should say living without my Mother, was too much to deal with. The last few years of his life were probably the most engaged he was during that time in our lives. A short 10-15 minute visit was about all he would allow, but it was met with smiles and inquiring questions that seemed to be genuine. Our kids got to know him as much as he would allow and although they don’t have stereotypical ‘Grandpa’ memories, I think they knew he loved them in his own way.

My Dad has been gone now for 7 years, this year. It also marks the year our oldest child, turns 20. Although, as any parent would tell you, that fact doesn’t necessarily mean you are an empty nester. Our oldest is 26 and I think we can safely say he is on his own (well, living with the love of his life) and happy after a few back and forths. Our middle child is home for the moment while finishing his Masters degree. I am sure he is itching to get out again after living 6 hours away for four years during his undergraduate. Our baby, the near 20 year old, moved out last year for her second year of University with friends and will be doing the student house living probably for the next couple at least. In no way am I complaining that some of them still keep a bed here that they sleep in every now and again. Nor am I upset when they pop in for food or laundry facilities. They really are great kids to have around and have grown into adults that I like to sit down and have a coffee (or a beer) with. But again, as any parent would tell you, the visits will become fewer and further between as time goes on and they grow into a life of their own. Your mind can’t help but to go to a place where you look at your home and think, “Do I really need all this stuff?” The typical ‘downsizing’ predicament. You know that you don’t need that 2000 square foot, 4 bedroom house anymore, but you have this stuff. In order to downsize, some of the stuff must go.

Two years ago we decided to do a basement renovation. Not necessarily for the extra space but for the purpose of putting in another bathroom as we have to renovate our old one and it is the only bathroom. We also now that when the time comes to sell our home some day, having that second bathroom will only increase the value in our home. Prior to and during this year and a half long process (when you can do the work yourselves, it takes longer, but you save money), we had no choice but to face the boxes and get rid of some things. I thought I was ruthless in my purging efforts at the time as we ended up with 3 good trips to the dump, to deliver items to Value Village (our Goodwill) and giving away some items to our kids. Little did I know that there was still so much that I had kept that I would have to revisit.

This past year, after watching Minimalism, the documentary, I decided to revisit those boxes that I had closed up thinking that I had only kept the essentials. It is probably not a surprise that there was still so much stuff left we had held onto. Admittedly, it took a few passes through the boxes with the kids’ school work, art projects, old favourite t-shirts and toys for me to finally whittle them down to a few boxes per kid. I am sure there is still room to go but mentally I am not there yet to do it. I may leave some that up to them once they have to take possession of these boxes of memories. Going through the items that I felt held memories in them, specifically the memories of our children and their milestones, was a difficult task. I had to keep reminding myself that they may not care that they have their grade 3 creative writing journal. As hard as this task was to work through, it paled in comparison to the idea of ridding myself of my parents’ items we had been living with for at least the past 15 years, but it was good practice.

I decided to begin with my closet. There were a couple of things that had been hanging in my closet that I knew I would never wear that were my Mothers. I allowed myself 3 to keep. Three was a completely arbitrary number, so there is not science behind this, but I had to have a limit, a guideline. I kept her velvet dress, her Peacoat and her kilt. The sweaters and other jackets went to Value Village for donation (but I can guess they were bought by a vintage shop and then resold because they were surprisingly back in style). The act of letting these items go that I felt held me closer to my Mother that I hadn’t seen since 1992 was not easy, but it was not as difficult as I had imagined. The three items I let myself keep now hold more meaning because they are now the only items I have.

Next up on the docket was the china cabinet. The china I have is actually my paternal Grandmothers. Let’s face it, people don’t use china like they used to. I kept the china but use it for whenever we have a family dinner. We don’t save it for ‘special occasions.’ We use it because isn’t that the whole point of having it in the first place? Also in the china cabinet were plates that my Mother had displayed on a plate rack in her kitchen. She was a sucker for any kind of blue plate. They were pretty but I don’t have a plate rail in my kitchen, nor do I want to hang them up on my walls. The stack of plates were stored in my china cabinet still wrapped in tissue from one of our many moves and never looked at again. I got them all out. Unwrapped them all and started sorting. I stopped about halfway through when the thought occurred to me to just use them, like the china but for everyday dishes. I washed them and put them in my dish cupboard for us to use on a daily basis. They are all mismatched but I kind of like that about them. I was able to rid myself of some items from the china cabinet though. I had carried around a set of dishes from my Mother’s step-mother. Yeh. I know. Why? They have been donated. The silver plated serving dishes (screaming 1970’s) were next. I will never use silver plated serving dishes. Ever. If I don’t use them, chances are, my kids are not going to spontaneously have a need for silver plated serving dishes. They have been donated. The items I chose to give up out the china cabinet were easier than the clothing. They were definitely items I didn’t use anyhow, nor would my kids ever use them. The dishes I kept, I make sure they get used to create more good memories for our family and friends. Maybe my kids will want them when I am gone, maybe they won’t, but the memories will be there regardless if the dishes are not.

The novels my parents had have been released from their boxes they were housed in for many years and are now on a bookshelf for us to see and to read. The books were also sorted into ones that I would actually want to read and books that there was no way I would ever find readable. The unreadable books were given away and the books we kept are now being read. I am making my way through the collection my parents curated and enjoying them more because I feel like they were picked just for me.

There are still some things that I have yet to part with that belonged to my parents. There is a certain pang of guilt when the thought crosses my mind. My Mother had a couple of Royal Dalton figurines that were given to her and I have two of them. She also had a box of broaches, earrings and some necklaces. I have given a few broaches to our daughter and she wears them since she is lover of vintage clothes and accessories. The engagement ring is packed away and her wedding band I wear and have since she died. The humongous wall unit is in our bedroom and is currently used to house our sweaters but if I was to be honest, I hate it. So why do I keep it?

The process of giving away, giving up or releasing ourselves from not only our own stuff but stuff that was inherited or given to us is ongoing. We of the Generation X (I know the Boomers have already started this process) will be faced more and more with the angst and joy of ridding ourselves of things we no longer need in our lives. Traditionally, the generations before us would just hand everything down to their children, hence the predicament we find ourselves in now. As the Millennials age, we are faced with the fact that they just don’t want the stuff. To be honest, we didn’t want our parents’ stuff either but I would argue we were guilted more into taking it. The way most Millennials want to live is very much in line with Minimalism. They have seen the life of excess and they don’t want any part of it. Millennials have made the connection between wanting or ‘needing’ stuff and paying for it in one way or another. This is not to say they don’t want to work but know that there is way more to life than working to pay for or collect things. They want to experience life, not just get glimpses of it along the way.

So the duty now falls on us as parents of Millennials to do a few things.

First, keep only the few items you inherited from your parents that hold real meaning to you and share them with your kids. Tell them about the items and put them on display or use them daily to get the absolute most out them. Second, don’t burden your kids with the expectation that they are to keep all these items once you can no longer house them or when you are gone. This generation is onto a good thing, as far as I am concerned. They are looking at life in a way I wish I had at their age. They are not caught up in the consumerism of previous generations and if we have any chance as a society, we would allow them to be able to say no the excess of stuff and use their lives to create, serve others and work to make the world even more beautiful. Lastly; they don’t want your magazine collection, but they may want your records. My meaning by this is that the stuff we may have gotten joy out of in our lives, may not be what they find meaningful. So ask. Once they are old enough and if you are in the process of downsizing or even pre-downsizing, ask them what they may want for their own. It may surprise you to know what they want and equally surprising to know what they don’t want. Things are only sentimental to those who have the memories behind them.

We are only at the beginning of our Minimalism journey; and I use the word journey as I think it is just that. We will be constantly reevaluating what we have in boxes or in drawers or on shelves. We may find joy in things today but not tomorrow. Our kids will be left with things to go through our stuff some day but let’s hope we have left them more good memories than stuff they feel they need to keep.


Hello May!

Ok…I know…it’s not May yet, but we are excited that it is on the horizon!  May in Ontario means that the weather is getting better, we can get outside more and explore some awesome foods, places, and activities.

So in May, we are going to bring you some Salads and Smoothies!

I know that Salads may not sound too exciting but we hope that these salads will turn any salad hater into a salad lover.  :).

Smoothies…no explanation necessary.  Who doesn’t like a smoothie?  On that note, I did have the most awesome smoothie yesterday at our local smoothie place, The Green Bar, in Hamilton.  Their feature smoothie is PB and Jam smoothie and YES it is exactly how you would think it tastes.  DEEEELISH!!!

One other thing we want to write about this summer is where we like to explore.  Exploration can mean so many different things but I think if it is just somewhere you have never been before, no matter how close or far, you’re exploring!


I mentioned that it is Canada’s 150th birthday and we are very lucky to have such a beautiful country to explore in.  Parks Canada is also giving anyone who wants one, a season’s pass to any Parks Canada.  So we have our pass and we want to hit the road.

One trip we have all booked is a trip to Pie Bird Vegan Santuary in North Bay.  Can’t wait to share this experience with you guys.


We are cleaning off our bikes too and hitting some trails that we hope to share along the way.

Summer also means….

Concert Season!!!

A great line up of concerts in our area is building and it is actually hard to chose!  As we explore live music, we’ll be sharing our experiences along the way and hope you guys enjoy it too.

Can’t wait to get this summer started 🙂

YouTube Thursday-Canada’s 150

Oh Canada! You look great for 150 years!

You may or may not be aware (but if you’re living in Canada, chances are you know) that Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday on July 1, 2017!

We felt it necessary to share some videos on our YouTube Thursday that show the awesomeness of our beautiful country.

Val and I have travelled throughout our home land and there are still so many places left to see.  If you’re Canadian, we encourage you to discover what is in your own ‘backyard’ this year.  If you’re not, (we know you wish you were 😉 ) we hope you’ll come and visit one day!

This first video is produced by the NFB (National Film Board) It shows the expanse of our country and the diversity of people we are proud to call Canadians.


This next video is from the CBC’s Amanda Parris.  It is 150 second of Canadian facts.  There are wayyyyy too many to mention to just take 150 seconds but it is fun video to watch.  

This video is from the CBC’s show, This Hour has 22 Minutes.  If you’ve never seen it, the show is a mock of news and current events that are centred around Canadian politics and life.  Not sure if the comedy translates to everyone, but if you’re Canadian or Canadian at heart, you will find this one funny. 

The clip is of ‘John Cabot’, the explorer, meeting with the King and Queen after he discovered the new land.

Now, we know it is only April, but we wanted to do a little promo to give you guys all time to make your plans for the summer!  Come on over…You’ll be glad you did!

Banana Coconut Pancakes-GF

You put the Banana in the Coconut and mix it all up!

And you get….

Banana Coconut Pancakes…Gluten Free!

Val was busy today making a beauty recipe for some Banana Coconut Pancakes.  They are gluten free too!  In fact, they are flour free 😉

Check these out!


  • 3/4 cup desiccated coconut (finely ground coconut)
  • 1 cup Almond meal
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 medium ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • coconut oil for cooking
  • Optional: wild blueberries, whipped coconut cream, cashew cream or yogurt for serving


1. In a medium sized mixing bowl add the coconut, almond meal, cinnamon, sea salt and baking powder. Mix until well combined.

2. In a high speed blender or food processor add eggs, maple syrup, bananas and vanilla. Puree mixture until batter is light and fluffy.

3. Pour batter into the dry ingredients and blend until combined.


4. Lightly coat a pan or griddle with the coconut oil on medium heat. Use a 1/4 cup measure to scoop out batter for each pancake. Cook the pancake until bubbles appear on the surface then flip over and continue cooking for another 1-2 minutes or until golden. This batter is more delicate than regular flour based pancakes, so handle each pancake with care. Don’t be tempted to make them larger than 1/4 cup at a time as they are hard to flip over without breaking. Add oil to the grill or pan as you finish cooking the remaining batter.

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5. Keep warm and add fresh berries, cashew cream or yogurt & maple syrup before serving.

*I had frozen wild blueberries that I added to a few pancakes for variety.