Category Archives: Creative Corner

Recommendations for a Very Good Bath: Finding Your Chill Zone

Jennifer

I’ve gained a reputation (in my house) as someone-who-takes-baths-very-seriously. I wasn’t always a serious bather; I showered almost exclusively from the ages of 12 –25, but the bath has recently become the most important part of my self-care routine. I’m on a one-bath-per-week minimum these days, and it’s an actual ceremony. It’s ~a dance~

Bath GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

I flip the laundry basket upside down and drape a towel over the hard plastic so that you can’t see the hard plastic (ambiance is Very Important). I strategically place my computer on top so it’s at the right height to watch in the tub, from where I’ve watched all of the classics: Gilmore Girls, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the Grinch (in season). I have a book too, or instead, probably something with feminist undertones, really. If I’m reading, the 8tracks playlist hastags like ‘Chill’ ‘Jazz’ ‘Winter’ ‘Relax’ or ‘Piano’.

 

I have a Very Big mason jar full of icy lemon-water or green tea, set in the front-left corner of the towel that’s draped over the laundry basket. I pull out one or two essential oils – maybe rosemary, then lemongrass, or maybe lavender, then bergamot – and I put them on the edge of the tub where they wait for me until I’m ready.

I flick the lighter and light the end of a Balsom Fir incense stick from a box that I was gifted by a friend at Christmas two years ago. I take a second to reflect on the almost-empty box. I know I’m going to miss the smell. It’s woodsy and it makes me feel like I’m outside. I light a candle or two, too.  I drop in the special combination of essential oils (the rosemary and lemongrass or the lavender and bergamot) at a rate of 10 drops per oil, and I hop in. For the next hour I inhabit a territory that I like to call a “chill zone”.

 

Chill•ŸZone noun The mental and/or physical space or state in which you are most comfortable, relaxed, zen, clear-minded, and peaceful.

 

Ideally, an act of self-care will allow you to spend time in your “chill zone”. I’ve bestowed this name upon a room before, but it isn’t always a physical space. It could be sitting on a bench taking deep inhales and exhales of fresh air. It could be drinking black coffee and starting a new book. It could be drawing in your journal while sitting beside a Vanilla scented candle. It could be watching a movie with your cat. Maybe it involves using something that a loved one gave you as a gift. Maybe it’s eating a big bowl of spaghetti bolognese with lots of Parmesan shaved on top while you listen to Amy Winehouse. Your “chill zone” is your own space and it’s up to you to find it and spend time there. For me, it’s a Very Good Bath, and I suggest that you give it a try.

 

 

Creative Corner: Homemade slip n’ slide

written by Sam Graves

One of my favourite summer memories was building our own homemade slip and slide. Not only did we have fun using it but we enjoyed making it as well. With summer coming to an end, I am looking for an activity that will be favourite memory for all. This blogger added another twist and created a DIY Water Balloon Slip & Slide – www.hallmarkchannel.com/home-and-family/how-to/tanya-memmes-diy-water-balloon-water-slide . I can’t wait to try this with my niece & nephew on our next summer sleepover.

Creative Corner – Summer Hacks

Summer is in full swing and the sun is HOT! I hope you all get a chance to enjoy the sun, do some swimming, and enjoy the summer whether you are on vacation or not! I know I am looking forward to my camping vacation next weekend. I thought I’d share with you some “Summer Hacks” to make your summer easier! This way you can spend less time doing those annoying things and more time having fun!

 

Creative Corner: Coffee Recipes

Ah, coffee. If you are like me then you are obsessed with coffee, and look forward to drinkin’ that delicious cup of joe every morning. In the summer, I am especially obsessed with iced coffees. Oh goodness, I could drink 10 of those a day (but they ARE loaded with sugar and cream, so best to keep it as a special treat!). My favourite is the iced coffee from McDonald’s (and hey — only a dollar for a medium! I love Dollar Days!).

You may be thinking, how creative can this blog post be if it’s just about coffee? Well, I found an article on Buzzfeed on 14 Refreshing Recipes Every Coffee Fanatic Needs to Try. And the recipes are delicious and coffee-licious and I am going to try some of these (specifically the coffee toffee) and have endless amounts of energy! You should too!

Drink on, coffee lovers!

Creative Corner: Hummus!

If you’re anything like me, you love hummus. You could eat hummus with EVERYTHING. I am just such a big fan because eating vegetables raw and on their own is the healthiest way to go.. but I hate it. I don’t mind eating vegetables with dip, but more often than not, I’ll be dunking my vegetables into dips that are jam packed with fat, preservatives, sugar, and sodium. Enter, HUMMUS – or better yet – homemade hummus to the rescue! Hummus is wonderful because it contains lots of fiber, antioxidants, and calcium.

So, if you’re bored of the classic way to eat hummus, click here for an amazing list of different hummus recipes to try! It’s super easy: all you do is combine the list of ingredients (only 5!) and blend. Optional: you can make your hummus thinner by adding water to the mix (one tablespoon at a time until you’re happy with the consistency).

Creative Corner: Watermelon Shark

I was having trouble thinking of a Creative Corner for this beautiful Monday in July. I searched through DIY sites for a fun summer project, but nothing was catching my eye. Then I stumbled upon a  “make your own watermelon shark”. Yep, a watermelon carved into a shark. Well, I love watermelon and I’m pretty sure July is the month of Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, so I thought, why not share this with you all?

It is summer after all and watermelon is a delicious and easy snack for everyone to enjoy! But maybe just cutting it up into triangular slices isn’t enough anymore. Why not get extra creative and carve your watermelon into a shark for your next family BBQ?

Check out this article for the step-by-step guide on how to make your own Watermelon Shark (http://makezine.com/2015/07/11/make-shark-fruit-bowl-watermelon/)!

PS: If you want an extra treat, run to Bulk Barn and get some little candy fish and throw them in there! Yum yum yum!

Creative Corner: Fresh Homemade Salsa

One of my best friends came up to visit me this weekend and we had everything planned out – dinner at Burrito Boyz when she got here, Beechwood Doughnuts for breakfast, lunch in the Falls the next day, and sushi for dinner that same night. It was then that we realized… that’s a lot of eating out, which generally means less consumption of healthier food and vegetables! Our solution? SALSA. It’s a great snack to have when everything else is closed at night and it’s guilt-free! So, as soon as she got here, we went to the grocery to pick up our ingredients: tomatoes, white onion, green bell pepper, and lime. I’m sad to say that I totally forgot about cilantro (but it still tasted amazing). We decided to whip up a batch of salsa to snack on before getting dinner. This is what we used:

  • 3 cups of tomatoes (diced)
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 cup of onion (diced)
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper

Note: You can add more salt and/or pepper if you’d like!

We skipped jalapeno peppers because neither of us can handle spicy foods and as I mentioned before, we forgot to pick up cilantro!  All you have to do with your fresh, tasty ingredients is put them altogether and stir. We tried it right away, but decided that it needed to sit in the fridge for a bit. I figured it would help set in the flavours a little better, while my friend was a little worried that it would get really watery. We both were right – the flavours were bold and fresh, but it definitely got very watery. The plus side was that the liquid was jam packed with, yes, FLAVOURS. It was absolutely delicious.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and tomatoes are in season during the summer months! It’s a great way to enjoy and add a variety of vegetables into our diet.

One final note: if you have any leftovers, try putting your salsa (strained) into a frying pan with two or three beat eggs. It makes a delicious omelette!

salsa

Creative Corner – Giant Jenga

Happy Monday Everyone!

I hope you all had a great weekend! If you live in the Niagara Region you know that the weekend was full of rain, lightning, thunder, and grey skies! For me that meant doing some shopping, some cleaning, and binge watching Mad Men! But, I’m hoping Canada Day and next weekend will be hot and sunny because I want to play some outdoor games! Two summers ago I took it upon myself to make a backyard game for my friends and I. I decided I was going to make “LIFE SIZE JENGA”! Now, it’s not actually life size, just big. After some researching and an awkward trip to Home Depot, Giant Jenga was ready! My friends absolutely loved it and it we have some pretty hilarious memories of us playing it at the cottage!

Here is the tutorial of how to make Giant Jenga yourself:

http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2013/08/make-this-giant-jenga.html

I went to Home Depot and bought and cut the wood there. Unfortunately I didn’t do the math right and all my pieces were an inch too long! So my friend let me use her table saw and I cut an inch off every single piece (don’t make the same mistake as me, or just tell Home Depot what you’re planning on doing!). I didn’t bother sanding the sides but if you have kids this is an important step. Slivers aren’t fun!

Mine was bigger than this and stood about 5 feet tall from the ground (you can make it any size you want). The fun thing about this project is you can be creative with the blocks. In the tutorial, they pained their blocks different colours. I painted different rules and challenges on my blocks (example: do a cartwheel, only use your left hand, etc.) to make it really interesting. I guarantee your friends and family will love this game!

Have fun!

Creative Corner – DIY Water Blob

Yes, you read correctly. I said Water Blob. You may be wondering, what is a Water Blob? I wondered the same thing myself. I won’t keep you guessing any longer. I give you, the WATER BLOB:

If you don’t have a pool but are still looking for a fun way to keep the kids (and maybe even yourself) cool and entertained, you may want to check this out! Maybe your kids are tired of little kiddy pools and want to upgrade to the latest trend in backyard fun! Here is the link for the tutorial on how to make this awesome blob, from Homemade Toast.

http://www.homemadetoast.com/2013/07/how-to-make-leak-proof-water-blob.html

It looks pretty simple. It also looks really fun once it’s all done! Here is a video of a how-to and the finished product: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=034S8Uri7fY

Does it remind you of the days when your parents had a water bed?! Happy blobbing!

Creative Corner-Father’s Day DIY Ideas

OK, Father’s Day is this Sunday, and it’s time to stop procrastinating!  All ri
ght, I may be projecting, but I can’t be the only one out there who tends to leave gift ideas to the last minute. I found this great site via Pinterest (of course), which offers some great DIY ideas, and links to printables. For the traditionalists, there’s even one for a tie! Go forth and craft!

36th Avenue