Life Hacks I Love #12: Is your skirt too short?

I have a few summer dresses that I wear out and about all summer and feel perfectly comfortable in them, but feel that they are slightly short for work or serving with the 2 year olds at church. I wanted to wear this dress to work yesterday, but when I put it on, I felt it too was not quite long enough.short dress

I was a bit miffed about the situation and not sure why, but I decided to try to “lengthen” the dress. I found my plain black cotton skirt and pulled it up over my waist and wore it below the dress as you would a slip. The end result was a layered look. I was a bit unsure about this combination at first because my skirt was tapered and longer at the back, but the dress was cut to one even length. (I think tapered over tapered and straight cut over straight cut might be better.) This was not meant to be a blogging topic, but rather just a strategy for getting away with wearing a short skirt to work. I was still feeling a bit self-conscious about my little concoction, but ended up getting a few compliments on the dress throughout the course of the day. Go figure? I’m not suggesting this is the be all end all in the fashion industry, but it did seem to work at least to some extent. See what you think and consider it an option next time you’re faced with a similar situation.

plain black skirt layered dress



Still Alive After 5! (Okay, 2)

Let’s not mess around with semantics and cut to the chase….I’m horribly out of shape. I never thought I would see the day when my daughter would be encouraging me, when it came to working out and athletics. Eden has always been involved in activities and sports, but she’s not what you would call an aggressive competitor. She was the kind of kid who would get off her bike and walk it up a hill with a 10% incline because her legs hurt or stand by and watch the soccer game ensue around her, holding back so everyone could have a turn.

This spring her school started a running club which she was adamant she would not be joining. She “hates” running and always complains about sore legs when we do anything “strenuous” including lots of walking. So, you can imagine my surprise when she came home from school a few weeks back and announced that her teacher had convinced her to join the running club. Yay! Joining didn’t actually mean she liked running, only that she agreed to take part. She complains about running club all the time, and yet has asked me to go running with her more than once in the past few weeks. I can’t say running is high on my interest list, but I totally believe that an active life style is essential and it’s my job to display that for my kids. I literally could not say “no”.

Not only am I currently in poor shape, but I also hate running. I have done a bit of running in the past and even took the Running Room’s Learn to Run program several years back. A former colleague and avid runner once told me it takes 6 weeks to get hooked on running. It’s a lie. I stuck with it much longer than the suggested 6 weeks and still hated every step. I continued to run grudgingly and only stuck with it because it seemed like the simplest and most cost effective way to get in shape at the time. However, it didn’t seem to take that long before I quit altogether. I just don’t like it.

Despite my lack of interest in running, I really feel that Eden needs a good role model and I am so proud that she not only joined running club, but is actually showing an interest in pursuing running in her free time. So, when she asked me to go, I got myself up and ready, and off we went. Eden has some kind of an App to track your running distance and time. So I know for a fact that I was already dying at a 1/3 of a mile. At this point, it wasn’t so much the cardio,as my legs. By about 7/8 of a mile I was at least 20 paces behind Eden. I managed to continue running to the one mile mark and then had to walk for a minute. After a short walk and a one minute break, we began running again. It was hilarious. It was a total role reversal. Eden was encouraging me and telling me to stick with it and even slowing down to wait for me. I honestly never thought I would see this day. So, we continued on with her mostly running and me doing shorter spurts of running followed by longer distances of walking in between. In the end, we did 5 miles, but I’m sure I didn’t actually run much more than 2!

Eden and I

Eden and I about 45 minutes after our run ~ my face is still very red. Ugh!

My neighbour, Lisa, thought it is was kind of a special “first” and insisted on taking a picture of us after our first run together. You’ll notice how red my face is. The embarrassing thing is that this photo was taken about 45 minutes post run. I am now sitting here, about 2 hours after my run, and I think my natural colour has finally returned. I must say, I do feel better now, but I definitely needed some recovery time. I can’t say I enjoyed the run, but it was great to be out with Eden and I’m so proud of her. I told her that she could be my “personal trainer” and if we ran 3 times a week all summer, she could help get me back in shape. I found this winter to be one of the toughest ever and quite honestly had no motivation to do any form of exercise. Channel surfing was pretty much the extent of my physical activity this past winter. I love the idea of her and I going running together. I am not even going to suggest that we’ll be committed to this as that is way too premature, but it would be a great way to get back in shape and enjoy the beautiful weather we’ve waited so long for. I’m cautiously optimistic!

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Tenders

Bacon Wrapped Chicken TendersWe had company a few weeks back and decided to try this recipe from Divas Can Cook. I’ve had great success with Monique’s recipes and this was no exception. This is actually super easy to make, but looks like lots of work with the bacon wrapped around it.

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Tenders

Author:Divas Can Cook


  • 1 lbs. chicken tenders (about 10)
  • 10 strips bacon, sliced in half length-wise
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ⅔ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Mix the salt, paprika, black pepper, onion powder,italian seasoning, and garlic powder in a small bowl.
  3. Sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over both sides of the chicken tenders, completely coating them with the spices.
  4. Wrap two sliced bacon strips around the chicken tender. Tuck in the loose ends. I didn’t worry about putting a toothpick or anything in, once cooked they seemed to stay.
  5. Mix together brown sugar and chili powder.
  6. Sprinkle this mixture generously over bacon wrapped chicken, top and bottom. Press the sugar mixture into the chicken to pack it on.
  7. Place the chicken on a greased grill pan.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is done and bacon is crisp. You can broil for the last few minutes if desired to crisp up the bacon more.

I think this would be excellent cooked on the barbecue as well. Can’t wait to try it on the grill. I was also thinking that I might like to substitute the Brown Sugar and Chili Powder Mixture for the topping used in the Island Pork Tenderloin Recipe I shared some time ago. In this recipe, you mix the following three ingredients together and then apply in the same way as this recipe suggests. I would love to try this combination in lieu of the original just to see what it’s like. I absolutely love this on pork tenderloin.

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 tablespoon fresh garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon Tabasco sauce

Happy cooking!

Footprints in the Sand

Our Thoughts Are With YouLast night, I received the very sad news that my Auntie Lynn passed away. Auntie Lynn always took the time to call and chat or keep me in the loop with family events and circumstances after I lost my mom. I always loved our conversations and was so thankful that she always thought to include me on her list of family to call in my mom’s absence. I enjoyed our visits on the phone and we’d often spend close to an hour “catching-up”. I was so sad to hear of her sudden passing. I lost my mom several years ago, but still have my dad and he is very healthy and a vibrant part of our life. My cousins had already lost their dad and my Aunt’s sudden passing makes the situation that much harder. My thoughts and prayers are with all who are touched by her loss. She was a strong woman with a generous heart and always put others before herself. She was loved very much and will truly be missed.

Everyday Lunch Salad

SaladWhen it comes to packing my lunch for work, I am pretty lazy. I pretty much have the same thing almost every day. In order for this to work, you have to find something you really like. For me, it is my salad. I’m not saying I don’t occasionally change things up, but I would say I ate this salad about 75% of the days this year. I know that sounds boring, but its very simple to make, healthy and delicious.

My Everyday Salad:


  • greens (I use either baby Romaine or Spring Mix)
  • 1/2 chopped avocado
  • red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 an apple, cored and thinly sliced or 1/2 a pear, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup or more of raw pumpkin seeds (excellent source of protein)

I make this every morning and it takes me about 4 minutes. I place the ingredients in my salad container in the order listed above. The order is important because the red onion prevents both the avocado and apple from browning. Seal the container.

Lime Agave Vinaigrette:

This dressing recipe is taken from Lyn Genet-Recitas’s book called The Plan. It is one of my very favourite homemade dressings. It is light and “citrusy” and has great flavour. I usually mix up a batch on Mondays (takes me no more than 3 or 4 minutes) and it generally lasts me the week as I only use about 1 1/2 Tablespoons per serving.

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 cup water (I often only add about 1 Tablespoon)
  • 1 Tablespoon of agave nectar (I always use agave, but I’m sure you could use honey if you don’t have any agave on hand)
  • 1 Tablespoon of Herbes de Provence
  • Optional: 1 clove of crushed garlic (not optional in my books, I always include the garlic!!)

Combine the ingredients and store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to one week.

I love this salad. I can honestly say that I never get sick of it. It always looks delicious with the purple onion and deep green pumpkins seeds and avocado. This is delicious enough to serve to company and yet simple enough to eat every day. One of my all time favourite recipes.


Refresh Your Towels

towelsWe have primarily white towels in our house. When we got married, I decided that white would be the best option because they can fit with any colour scheme and can always be bleached to get out tough stains. This proved to be a great strategy and now 17 years later, we still have “whitish” towels. Of course, some have been replaced over the years, but generally speaking, they’ve really held up well. Having said that, they certainly aren’t the vibrant white they once were.

I was intrigued by this “pin” on how to recharge your towels and knew I would have nothing to lose. I actually don’t have before/after pictures for this post as I didn’t think of it at the time. I chose to do one load of older towels that were definitely looking more of an off white/greyish colour than the pure vibrant white they once were. I followed the instructions and was pleased with the results. I think this would work awesome on towels that weren’t quite so old, as I can’t say I noticed much of a difference in the colour after the treatment, but I found that the towels seemed very clean and fresh and I will absolutely do this a few times per year to freshen up older towels and help keep the nice bright colour of newer ones.


The original instructions on Two Little Frills suggested washing the towels twice without any detergent.

  • Using hot water, add 1 cup of vinegar to the load and wash.
  • When the cycle completes add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the second cycle and wash again.

*This can also be done with a front load washer by adding the vinegar and soda directly in the drum (not in the dispenser). Remember to do it in two separate cycles. The poster says this works well on clothes and coloured towels as well.

This was a great tip and I plan to do it again, unless perhaps my next test works better. I found another post that claims to eliminate the nasty dish rag/towel smell forever. I’m completely all over this. Don’t you hate washing your dish cloths and towels only to have them emerge from the dryer as stinky as before. I absolutely hate that and it burns me when I have to toss out what would otherwise be a perfectly good rag. I’m waiting for the perfect stinky load of rags to test this method against the other post I found. I’m actually looking forward to finding the swimming towels rolled up in a ball in the bottom of the swimming bag, just so I can test these two theories out. Three cheers to clean and fresh!

Birthday Bites

Last summer, I started using my Facebook account primarily as a means to share my new blog. It would be a bit of a stretch to say I’m “on Facebook” because I rarely check it, but I have to say I was quite surprised by all the birthday wishes I got yesterday. Thanks to everyone that sent me warm wishes and sorry to everyone that I have never sent birthday wishes to. It did feel nice to get all those notifications yesterday.

The kids and I had a really busy day. I took Shay to his soccer game for 9:30, dropped Eden off at her recital at 12:30 and then headed back for the 1:30 show. Eden did really well and had lots of fun performing. I took my dad with me and when they broke for the intermission after the first half, we decided to ditch the rest of the show. I’m normally not one for leaving a performance early, but the first half was an hour and a half and I figured – hey it’s my birthday and I don’t want to spend it sitting in a concert hall watching other people’s kids perform. We were front row on the balcony, but the distance was such that I actually pointed the wrong kid out to my dad and for the first part of her performance we both had our eyes riveted on the kid. Way to go mom! Has anyone else noticed that short hair is not very in these days? Honestly, I am guessing 95% of the girls had long hair! Never really notice that before, but I was also trying to pick out a few of Eden’s friends, but found that from my distance they all pretty much looked the same. Oh well! So, my plan was to sneak out and come back an hour and a half later to pick-up Eden as I didn’t expect she would be able to go half way through. As it turns out, she spotted us and was glad to leave as she was bored silly sitting around as well. To me this was a gift in itself. Happy birthday to me!

The kids and I then went out for dinner. I picked 4 places that I thought the kids would like and that I would be okay with (none of which I would choose if I was going out with Tim, but rather nice kid friendly restaurants.)  They both wanted to go to Mongo’s Grill, so we went out for dinner and then I voted for Piazza de Nardi for dessert. This ended up being perfect because I had one of their delicious red velvet cupcakes and the kids opted for Gelato, so everyone was happy. Finally, we decided on a movie.

Godzilla Review:

Let me start off by saying that I had zero interest in seeing Godzilla. I really just not a Godzilla kind of girl, but when I suggested a movie the kids both wanted to go to it and I thought what the heck….it really doesn’t matter what we see, I’m sure we’ll have fun. Shay is 10 and although he really wanted to see the movie, he was a bit nervous about seeing the 3D version. He’s a bit sensitive to loud noises and thought that the volume and 3D might be a bit much for him. When we arrived at the theatre, the 3D one worked better for us and so we decided it would be fine. I sometimes find myself living in a bit of a bubble and hadn’t even seen the trailer for the movie, so I was a bit surprised to discover this huge reptile emerging from the ocean, when my mind was expecting to see a big furry gorilla holding up a screaming girl….oops ~ wrong movie! Yep, totally got King Kong and Godzilla mixed-up.King Kong

I went to this movie expecting that the kids would enjoy it and I would think it is okay, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Absolutely not a movie I would have ever put on my “things to do” list, but I really enjoyed it. I thought the story line was good and it was action packed. This movie would be a great family movie if your kids are a bit older. Shay loved it and wasn’t scared at all, despite being a bit anxious before it started. It would also make a great “date night”, if you “date your kids”. We don’t do this nearly as much as I would like, but we do try to do one on one “dates” with each of the kids as often as possible. They absolutely love that alone time with a parent and this movie would be perfect as both my kids really loved it.

My great day ended with my neighbours Kelli and Lisa popping over with cake and staying for a few games of “Upwords” (one of my favourite word games). We had a great visit and lots of laughs. Thanks to all for a great day!

Dollar Store Hack Meets Soda Can Upcycle

I’m single “Momming” it this weekend. My hubby is away and I’m lucky enough to celebrate my birthday on the hottest day so far this year! Yay for sunshine! It’s not that I’m not looking forward to seeing Eden’s 3 minute dance number today, I’m just not so thrilled about the other 177 minutes I have to spend in the stuffy concert hall watching other people’s kids perform when the sun is shining and the heat is on. Ugh!  Oh well. I plan to take the kids out for dinner and order a great big fattening piece of something for dessert to celebrate. I’m sure the marathon dance recital will be long forgotten by the time I take my first bite of heaven!

Dollar Store Glassware Upcycle:

As you know, I love the dollar store, but I’m also particular about what I buy. Glassware is usually a pretty safe purchase and you can easily kick it up a notch with a few embellishments. I thought I would expand on the soda can garden markers from earlier in the week and show you how aluminum can be used to dress-up a simple dollar store purchase.

  1. Use scissors to cut the top and bottom off of an empty pop can. Ensure it is clean and free of sticky pop.
  2. Curl the tin the opposite way so that it will lay flat.
  3. On the printed side, trace out the desired shapes you want to cut out. Cut out the shapes.
  4. Add words or “embossed” designs using an embossing tool, dull pencil or dried up ball point pen on the printed side of the tin. (Text needs to be printed in mirror image on the printed side.)
  5. Use a hole punch to make holes through the metal so that you can tie it onto your finished project.
  6. I also used a crimping tool to crimp my tin. The aluminum is so thin and easy to work with, you can even use a punch to create a desired shape. This is especially great for circles.

These little upcycle projects would be great for a hostess gift, thank you gift or to add a little something to the vase when giving flowers. Have a happy day!

PS Three cheers to all the single moms out there or moms with husbands that travel with work on a regular basis. I honestly don’t know how you do it!

Pineapple Smoothie #2

I’m determined to find a pineapple smoothie that can be my new “go to” breakfast drink. I tried out another recipe this morning and so far it’s ranked number one. I liked it more than the first, but I’ll continue to try out a few more.

Pineapple Strawberry SmoothiePineapple Strawberrry Smoothie #2


1 cup frozen pineapple

1/2 cup fresh strawberries

3/4 cup coconut milk (1.5 grams of protein)

1 to 2 Tablespoon of chia seeds (2 T. is 4.4 grams of protein)

Dump the ingredients in a blender. Mix well and serve. The coconut milk and chia seeds add some protein to the shake. I really enjoyed this smoothie. It was lighter than the first recipe which included both banana and yogurt.

My Thoughts:

I think I’ll continue to play with a few more recipes, as I feel like I still need more protein. Although I enjoyed this version more than the first, I was quite hungry by mid morning.

An egg has 6 grams of protein and my favourite breakfasts are usually 2 poached eggs on one slice of whole wheat bread (about 15 to 16 grams of protein) or a 3 egg omelette (18 grams of protein). I find that a high protein breakfast really sets me up for the day and I’m definitely missing this in my shake. I know I could throw some protein powder in, but my preference is to try and get the protein more naturally. When writing this post, I actually pondered the idea of tossing a raw egg or two in my shake just to boost the protein. I thought I’d look into it a bit and found this great article on Mark’s Daily Apple that suggests the protein in eggs is actually more digestible when the eggs are heated. The thought of raw eggs doesn’t really turn my crank, so I think I will continue to look for other sources and stick with cooking my eggs.

I love peanut butter and would even consider eating a Tablespoon of it along side my smoothie to knock my breakfast protein up by 4 grams. My daughter often adds peanut butter to her smoothies, but I only like peanut butter combined with certain fruits. A chocolate peanut butter smoothie sounds wonderful, but it also sounds more like dessert than a healthy breakfast shake.  I’ll keep you posted as I continue to test out more recipes.

Upcycled Pop Can Garden Markers

A few years ago I did a couple of recycling projects with pop cans. I have to say that I was surprised to find that the aluminum is actually not that sharp when the edge is cut with scissors. It seems that the scissors actually somehow finish the edge in such a way that it’s no longer dangerously sharp. I can’t find the original blog tutorial I used, but I’ve found a few others that give step by step instructions. Check out the tutorials on Little House in the Suburbs  and Veggie Delight for great instructions for making garden markers. I wasn’t blogging at the time, so I don’t have step by step photos of my project, but I made little markers for my herbs. Mine were more similar to those on Veggie Delight and hung from twisted pieces of metal cut from an old wire clothes hanger. Cutting the hanger was actually the most difficult part of the project.

Herb Garden Markers:

garden markers

This was whipped up in about 5 minutes just so I’d have a picture to post. I made it for my tulips because that is the only evidence of life in my garden right now.  I added a little touch of permanent black marker to the raised lettering just to add a bit of dimension and make the lettering stand out a bit.

Basically, all you do is cut the top and bottom off of a clean pop can. Trace out your shapes on the outside of the can (printed side) and then cut them out with scissors. One post suggests using an old ball point pen, but I used my embossing tools. I think that a dull pencil would also work well. You just want to make sure that you don’t poke a hole through the aluminum.

If you want to get the “border look” around the edge, what you want to do is trace your shape and then instead of cutting on the traced line, cut about 1/4″ outside of the line you traced. When tracing the lettering, you will need to do so in reverse (mirror image). The easiest way to do this is to print the lettering on clear cellophane and then lay it on the cut out shape in reverse, so that when you trace it on the coloured outside of the tin, it will appeared raised on the opposite side with the plain metal. Another option is to find a font you like and print it off on your computer at the exact size you’ll need. When you go to print, select the “reverse” setting on your printer. You can then set the paper over the back and trace over top of it.

The dots around the edge can be made the same the lettering is done using an embossing tool, old pen or dull pencil.

These look great in your potted plants or marking the rows in your garden, but also make a cute little addition to a plant that you purchase as a gift. This is a simple project, but the result is really cute. Get creative and see what you come up with!