Tidying

Spring Cleaning the KonMarie Way

 

Last year I was smitten by the teachings of tidying guru Marie Kondo and I’m not the only one. KonMarie (nickname) is an international phenomenon and if you haven’t heard of her by now you’re in for a treat.

I started my tidying journey based on KonMarie’s principles last October. After reading her manga book even my husband was convinced.

I wasn’t completely faithful to KonMarie’s step- by step approach. I couldn’t dump my entire wardrobe on the floor to sort in one day as she recommends in her book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up   because depending on the season, at any one time, half of my wardrobe is stored away in a unit in the basement.

As I mentioned my husband, Vaughn, is into it too. His sock drawer is now neatly arranged with everything folded into thirds and standing at attention. KonMarie correctly states that we can get more in our drawers when the vertical space is maximized, plus you can see what you’ve got. It’s not buried underneath other stuff, sadly forgotten.

Here’s our kitchen spring cleaning before and after photos. Vaughn is great with the storage drawer! As KonMarie recommends haul everything out and determine if it “sparks joy” and then place it back, or discard / recycle.

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We also emptied out our kitchen pantry / hall closet:

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Here’s the after, removed my winter coats and jackets so now our closet has space and breathing room (you have to read KonMarie to get this!)

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As my parents always said, “A place for everything and everything in its place!”

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Food, Healthy Lifestyle, Restless Retiree, Retirement lifestyle

What’s for Supper?

 

Supper, or dinner, is probably my least favourite meal of the day. Usually I’ve spoiled my appetite and I have to force myself to eat something nourishing otherwise it’s an evening of snacks – not good!

I eat fish at least once a week and tonight it’s cod and trust me, I really need to have an appetite to enjoy a chunk of fish when the cookie jar is calling me.  For example, I made these oatmeal cookies on Monday and they’re all gone now!

cookies

On Tuesday, I stopped in at Granville Island after a bike trip on the newly redesigned False Creek Seawall South. They’ve done a great job separating the bike and pedestrian paths. It’s a beautiful stretch along the creek between Science World and Granville Island, but there are sterile patches without any trees as the old Cherry Trees were deemed too fragile & got the chop!

bike ride

I picked up a pound of cod at my go-to fish monger, Seafood City. I forgot that Tuesday is cruise ship day, but the crowds weren’t too bad. It’s awkward when your local grocery store is also the #2 tourist destination in the city (Stanley Park rates #1). I smeared the cod with Oyster Sauce, it can stand up to the cod’s texture and natural flavour. Bake it in a hot oven & it’s done in thirteen minutes.

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I thought some fresh veg would go nicely with some couscous as I’m potato’ed and breaded out. No leafy greens on hand, just cuke, red pepper, green onion and parsley mixed with a lemon, sour creme, yogurt, mayo and olive oil dressing.

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Meanwhile the couscous steams in boiled water. Pretty easy, I prefer whole wheat couscous but it’s not always available.

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Mix it up with the veg and it’s ready to meet the cod!

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Add some organic steamed carrots and it makes a satisfying dinner ready in under 30 minutes!

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I did break down & have a pre-dinner snack: an appetizer of focaccia bread, heated up in the oven it’s pretty yummy!

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Enjoy, see you next time!

 

 

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Food, Healthy Lifestyle, Restless Retiree, Retirement lifestyle

“What are You Having for Breakfast?”

“What are you having for breakfast?”

In the April 18, 2018 St. Lambert Journal (my home town), columnist David Leonardo references a 1961 editorial in the Sherbrooke Record. He says it caught his attention because it illustrates the breakfast menu of 50 and 100 years ago.

”Here’s what was on the breakfast table in the early 1900’s — oatmeal, bacon and eggs or pancakes, apple pie, doughnuts, cheese and milk. Then, of course, there were loaves of homemade bread and heaps of butter. But even these meals of fifty years ago faded into obscurity with the accounts given by the great Samuel Johnson, (a writer born in 1709), of the early morning snacks enjoyed in his day. One mouth-watering menu offering: Oysters, shrimps prawns, boiled eggs, mutton cutlets, beeksteaks, kidneys tongues, ribs of beef, turkeys, squabs, teal, game, pies, muffins, baked potatoes, rice and cheese. Many reasons may be advanced for the decline of the heavy breakfast — desire to hold down weight, the belief that heavy meals are the cause of numerous ills, nervous tensions etc., — but probably the chief cause is the lack of help.”

How about you, what does your breakfast look like?  Here are my go to breakfast favourites:

  1. Terra Bread whole wheat toast topped with crunchy peanut butter and finished off with jam. I prefer home-made when I can get it, if not Bonne Maman will do.

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Sometimes I make my own bread but it takes most of the day, which isn’t really a strain now that I’m retired and can set my own schedule! I’ve also started to use a bread hook and bread flour to speed up the process. There’s also an artisan bread I recipe found recently I’ll share in a future blog.

Here are two of my loaves, looking good!

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  1. Fruit salad: If I just have toast after an hour or two I’ll have a snack, usually some fruit. Right now mangoes seem to be in season. I bought these and some mandarins on West 4th at a small green grocer.

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I like to cut up my fruit and serve it in a pretty bowl, here’s a mango & orange salad:

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If I’m adding bananas or apples, I’ll mix up some lemon or lime with some honey, yummy! That way the fruit keeps its vivid colour. We eat with our eyes too!

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  1. I also like to cook oats, but that is more effort as I prefer slow-cook and those can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour of stirring on the stove top depending on the type of oats. I know you can microwave but I can’t bring myself to do that… yet! I like to cook over-ripe bananas into the oats for a sweet flavour & I use water & 2% milk in the mixture, stirring frequently for a creamy consistency:

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Before serving I add cinnamon and I like to top it all off with more fruit. In winter I keep bags of frozen fruit, like blueberries, in the freezer. For a final voila, add some yogurt!

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  1. A fourth option is some sort of baked item. I like to make breads & muffins myself, that way I know exactly what’s inside. Even when I buy store-bought that lists just basic ingredients it rarely tastes as good as mine. This is an oatmeal muffin I made topped with a nut & fruit mix:

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I made a banana bread recently with ginger & nutmeg:

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Finished loaf ready for breakfast tomorrow morning or a late-night snack!

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I hope you can enjoy a tasty satisfying breakfast every morning!

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Biking, Healthy Lifestyle, Restless Retiree, Retirement lifestyle

Biking the Seymour Valley Trailway

According to the Vancouver North Shore things to do website, “The Seymour Valley Trailway is a 10km paved path that winds through a diverse forest. The Trailway features five picnic sites with outhouses, picnic tables and garbage cans.”

http://vancouversnorthshore.com/things-to-do/parks/lower-seymour-conservation-reserve/

I think this is a great pathway, it’s all paved with smooth asphalt. Early April was a perfect time to try out this moderate trail ride on our bikes. We took advantage of one of the few sunny days we’ve had in weeks. Vaughn strapped our bikes onto the car and off we went!

After a quick trip over the Iron Workers’ Memorial Bridge we followed Lillooet Road up to the end-of-the road and started our adventure by 2pm. Here’s Vaughn unloading our bikes.

The path is great, nice and smooth and because it was a weekday there were only a few other cyclists and very few walkers. The no dog policy is also a plus when you’re biking, no worries about dogs darting into your path.

The ride up had some steep, long climbs but I managed without having to get off my bike and push, granny gear did the job for me!

At 9km, Stoney Creek picnic area, I decided I’d had enough so we passed on the last 2kms up to the Seymour Dam Lookout and headed back down. We always like to leave a reason, some motivation, to come back again!

 

Cycling back down was a bit easier than the ride up. I started to get into the groove of racing downhill to gain momentum for the next uphill climb.

We arrived back in the parking lot at 3:30 and decided to head back over the bridge to home before the afternoon traffic rush started.

Overall the Seymour Valley Trailway is a great fitness activity and now I’m ready to tackle the Grouse Grind!

 

 

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Restless Retiree, Retirement lifestyle

Reinventing Myself in Retirement

Even though I’m retired from my corporate job I plan to stay current with trends and I enjoy attending business functions and networking meetings so I like to have a name card. Here is a card my husband made up for me with three different poses.
Thanks to all the media and image training I’ve had over the years I was able to get the pictures done in about 15 minutes. My husband was amazed, he thought it would take a couple of hours!
It’s very liberating to be my own woman and not have to answer to any boss or corporate policies! I can choose the look I want to say me without having to worry about representing my corporate handlers.

Pose #1: This version gets the highest ratings: it’s professional and approachable. The leather jacket gives it some edge, I look confident and in control.

Pose #2: This version isn’t bad, it’s favoured by the creative types.

Pose #3: This one is the least favourite. My hair stylist said I look short. Someone else said it looks like a Junior Miss Modeling course pose!

I added in this final pose, what do you think?

Here’s what the layout looks like. Someone mentioned they liked the overall look but asked, “What do you do?” Good question!  I’m a work in progress, stay tuned!

 

I listened to one of Elaine Benoit’s Maturepreneur podcasts last night featuring Notes from a Stylist blogger Sara Delaney and they both agreed that your first attempts at blogging should make you cringe when you look back. I’m confident my blogs will cause me much cringing!
https://www.maturepreneurial.com/080-sara-delaney-notes-from-a-stylist/

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Restless Retiree, Retirement lifestyle, Study Tips

Top 5 tips on how to help your child keep focused on school for the second half of the school year:

New Year’s goals for families

Education consultant Leslie Keelty, featured on Global News Morning, with tips to help your kids stay focused on the rest of the school year.

It’s a new year and what a great time to assess our current goals and start planning for new challenges. For parents, you’ll want to help your children develop the skills they’re going to need to be successful in school and in life
Here are my top 5 tips on how to help your child keep focused on school for the second half of the school year:
1. MAKE TIME MAKE SENSE
Help your children become aware of time.
For little ones you can help ease them into this by introducing time statements into your day. For example, instead of saying, “It’s bath time” You can say, “It’s 7 o’clock time for your bath”.
For older children get them into the habit of timing their daily homework assignments and that way they can learn how to manage their time and they’ll be able to get all of their homework finished on schedule. (And here’s a tip for parents: Take a look at your child’s report card and look for comments like “incomplete work” “late or missing assignments” and you’ll want to take action now to ensure that your child has a strong finish for the school year!)
2. CREATE AN IN-HOME STUDY CORNER
If you don’t already have one, it’s is a great idea to have a designated study space for your child. This could be at the kitchen table, or at a desk in the child’s bedroom. But whichever the family decides, it should be consistent.
And keep distractions to a minimum, this means the TV is off and the laptop’s shut unless it’s needed to complete a homework assignment.
3. USE A FAMILY PLANNING CALENDAR
Post a calendar in your kitchen or family room and include all of your families’ academic and extracurricular activities so everyone knows what’s going on.
Make it a habit of adding things into the calendar and discussing what’s coming up, and pretty soon your kids will learn to do it on their own.
Or, some families may want to use online or cell phone calendars
4. GIVE YOUR KIDS A VOICE
Kids are people and they get stressed out just like the rest of us. This can make it more difficult to get things like homework done efficiently.
If your child is struggling to focus, try asking them to share their concerns. Feeling heard can lessen the anxiety they may be experiencing and help them to be more productive.
And you can also reach out to your child’s teacher or school principal and find out if there is anything happening at school that should you should be aware of and that way you’ll get the support that your child needs.
5. SET A BEDTIME
There are 2 key things parents need to know about sleep:
#1 is how much sleep children need: According to The Sleep Foundation, children ages 6 to 13 need between 9 and 11 hours of sleep per day – hopefully all at once!
It makes sense that a well-rested child can focus better than a sleepy one. So try your best to set a bedtime and stick to it.
And #2 is to getting ready to sleep: So prior to sleep, we want our brains to deactivate and in order to do that you need to put away the devices, power off the tech and try something relaxing like reading a book or writing in a journal.

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Restless Retiree, Retirement lifestyle, Study Tips

5 Tips to Avoid the Summer Slide

What is the summer slide?

I originally shared these tips on Global News in my role as Education Consultant at Kumon Canada.

Click on the photo to watch the segment:

There’s been a lot of research done on the summer slide, also known as summer learning loss, but most educators agree that taking 2 months off without any math or reading instruction, is not a good idea. Over the summer break, children can forgot a lot of what they’ve learned and they may struggle to keep up when school starts in September. Whereas children, who’ve practised their skills and maybe learned some new concepts, feel confident and ready for their new school year. So it’s a good idea to keep learning during the summer vacation.

To get a description of  my tips on Kumon’s website click here:

5 Tips to Avoid the Summer Slide.

 

 

 

 

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