Category Archives: life

Earthy Beet Greens Soup

DSC04948What is it about Autumn and Pumpkin Spice Latte’s? Or a cozy afternoon and homemade soup? That turn of the crisp temperature in the air is like Nature’s timer telling us, “It’s time to pull out your heavy sweaters and make that pot of tea.” Almost as if to give us fair warning that winter will come, and winter will be cold, but here’s a friendly reminder to make the most of it all.

I was never someone who had to learn to like beets. They are earthy, rich in flavor and simply beautiful. And whether it’s nesting for Fall or waste-not-want-not, I was inspired to actually use the greens (often mistakenly discarded!) from our beets this week and make soup to freeze for lunches and have for a warm meal on Sunday afternoon. This recipe is clean, Vegan, and, as all food should be, delicious.

E A R T H Y   B E E T  G R E E N S  S O U P adapted from It’s All Good

2 tablespoons olive oil (I always eye this by counting for 2 seconds)

1 leek diced (washed thoroughly)

1 onion diced

4 garlic gloves minced*

1 bunch of beet greens roughly chopped (washed thoroughly // stems & leaves separated & saved)*

1 apple peeled & sliced*

sea salt (I love using Celtic Sea Salt for soups)

black pepper

6 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock

Add olive oil, leek, onion, apple, beet stems, and garlic to a large pot over medium heat. Cook for 10 minutes until vegetables are softened.

Add stock, beet greens, a large pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, remove from heat (greens should just be wilted), and blend using an immersion blender (this is easiest and will give you a semi-smooth texture to your soup).

Serve warm or chilled with a buttered slice of baguette.

*produce from my weekly Organics Live box.DSC04944



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Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

DSC04103This is my semi-successful attempt at making homemade liquid laundry detergent. I tried this recipe here and turned my baking soda into washing soda from this recipe. I quartered the recipe as a first go, and it was just enough to fit into an old 4 liter detergent jug. My detergent turned out a bit gloppy, and it doesn’t look really pretty, but it does the job! DSC04077 DSC04102DSC04104 DSC04116 DSC04122 DSC04132 DSC04137DSC04144



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So Long, Excess.


Too much stuff. It’s an epidemic in our culture. I’m amazed at how much we’ve already accumulated from moving to a slightly larger apartment. But no more. In an effort to simply declutter and minimize in our lives, I’m starting with the closet (and the kitchen). Here’s a peek at my winter “capsule” wardrobe (25 items or less, not including undergarments, socks, etc). And it’s surprisingly more then enough! Minimalism may be trending right now, but I say be here to stay!




I have the luxury of working an ESL teacher which allows for fairly casual attire. So this wardrobe works for me. Many of my colleagues have lived overseas where it is perfectly acceptable to wear the same outfits repeatedly. The same is true for the cultures of my students. I like that. Less pressure.

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Our Home DIYs


These three DIYs are ones I have been wanting to do since before I had a home. I loved the simple look of a shaker coat hanger, but couldn’t find the one I dreamt of. So with a Google search and a Anthropology “W” hanger I have been treasuring since our engagement, I finally got to work and made our own. DIYs don’t always save money, but the time spent crafting something that was a design in your mind is pretty rewarding. Here are a few of our projects from the last six months.

Shaker Style Coat Hanger

Difficulty: Easy (the measuring was the most tedious)

Materials: Paint (from living room), Hangers (Home Depot, Anthro), Pine board (Home Depot), Screws

Cost: $22

Lesson Learned: measure twice ten times…hang once.


Copper Wall Pot Rack

Difficulty: Easy

Materials: See tutorial

Cost: $37

Lesson Learned: Copper is a softer metal which cause it to bend if weighed down too much. I don’t want to test its true strength and opted out of hanging a cast iron pan.


Side Tables

Difficulty: Moderate

Materials: Hand sander, Sand Paper, Stain Primer, Gel Stain, Wax Finish

Cost: About $40

Lesson Learned: Save your arms and strip the stain FIRST! Sand ALL THE WAY DOWN to the original wood! Don’t do this again…ever. 🙂

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset



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What Immigration Looks Like Part 5: Family Coming to Us

DSC03918That little girl I’m holding is our first sweet treasure. Eleanor is our first niece, Charlie is our one-year-old nephew and there are two more journeying their way into our extended family into the coming year! Such precious early years. So much happening so fast, and you don’t want to miss a single story, tantrum, toddler sound, infant coo, and utterly adorable two-year-old musings. So while I’m “land locked” awaiting immigration processing, my best friend and sister came from Connecticut to visit us in Ontario for Christmas!!! How blessed we were. Here we are walking on Christmas day around where we had the best day of our lives…our wedding. We’re 18 months further into the future from that day, and in the middle of a trying immigration process, yet thankful everyday for our faith in God and his good and perfect plan for us. It is blessed assurance, and I’m not sure what we’d do without His ever-guiding peace. {E’s face says, “cold” in each of these pictures…an expression that’s hard not to wear in these parts.} Laura, thank you for making unknown months of separation not just bearable but memorable. Give our little bears hugs from Auntie and Uncle. And Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4DSC03917DSC03909DSC03903DSC03896DSC03892

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Alas, I didn’t take any picture from our family Thanksgiving, and I’m glad for it. It took the pressure off of getting the right lighting or capturing the true moment. I, for one, am just not there with my photography skills, and it is nice to simply hold those memories in your mind and heart. It was a lovely time shared together.

Our life has been simple lately. Wake up, do our morning routine of shower, read, breakfast, make lunch, tidy. And then bundle up and head out the door, warm up the car, drop Jordan off at work, pick up a colleague to carpool. Teach for two hours, prep for two hours, run some errands or head home to make dinner. There is time in between and sometimes not. I do Pilates and cook, got out for coffee or am at church. Somehow the days are so very full and yet very flexible because of my schedule right now.


Since I was in middle school I’ve never had a rigid schedule, busy yes, hectic, at times…but never a rigid 9-to-5-this-is-what-I-do-everyday. My sister and I were homeschooled from middle school through to our senior year, and while we did our school work in the morning, we worked as babysitters and music teachers for the better part of our teen years. College was a blissful blur. I loved it and it killed me all at the same time! And now I am working part-time doing my dream job as a college professor. I feel very blessed. I’m very glad for time to journal and pray, to serve and be available for my husband, our church, friends, and colleagues.

Only ten days until my sister and our niece and nephew come, and I am thrilled to pieces! Time to deck the halls!


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American Thanksgiving Menu

DSC03570Last year we hosted our first American thanksgiving…in Canada. It was so memorable because to me it really felt like we weren’t just playing “house” any longer, but rather taking part in the blessing of hosting, dining, and sharing deeply in our own place. I wrote about it in this post.

This year my parents will be in town for the occasion (insert really happy emoji here). It is in us to be traditional some how, ins’t it? To eat dinner together each night, to find adventures, to walk hand-in-hand. Mini-traditions that point to the great Tradition of feeling safe, comforted and, the greatest, unconditionally loved no matter. That tradition our prayer for our home, for every visitor, brother or sister, friend or neighbor.

And on the menu…

Chicken Pot Pie with Butternut Squash, again

Smashed, Mashed or any kind of potatoes

Bacon and Brussels Sprout Salad

A couple added sides brought by friends!


Flourless Chocolate Cake

Apple Cheddar Tart

Pictures of our evening together to follow. I can’t wait to have everyone under one roof for the first time in months!



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No Better Time To Know My Maker

DSC03723Our home, our dear, sweet nine-hundred-ish square foot apartment. We thought you were beautiful in the summer and fall when the leaves glowed bright forest greens then blazed with autumn burgundy. But how good it’s been to share, and retreat, and grow, and host inside these new walls as we are greeted by this blustery winter wind.

I normally love to sit at our kitchen table. It’s where I go once I’ve made tea and breakfast, and I read my bible or journal before starting my work day. Usually I don’t sit on the couches. To me, they are a black hole. They are once-you-sit-down-you-won’t-get-up taunters. So I usually sit at the table be it morning, lunch or afternoon. But this afternoon I’m getting sucked in. With a restaurant memoir and the prospect of a comfort food dinner…because it’s my birthday. From these cuddly couches I now watch our white wonderland unfold, and I am grateful for another year to love and serve and know my Maker. DSC03719DSC03722Every year my birthday draws me to spend some special alone time with Him for the purpose of reflecting, praying and thanking. He, after all, created me and I love Him so. It grounds me each year to look back in awe and forward with hope, and more importantly to think of others on a day we are “allowed” to self-center. Many things change as we age and grow, loose and love, plan and do, but one of my prayers has not changed since I was fourteen. Each year it is: “Till I only dwell in Thee”. DSC03729


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What To Do With Loneliness, Literally

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 2.53.19 PMIt comes in different forms, doesn’t it? Loneliness. One woman’s joy, could be another woman’s struggle. I’m seeing it two ways: There are subjective experiences which can prompt loneliness…

…the empty nester

…..the stay at home mom with an infant

…….the independent young adult moved away from home

…………moving to a new city

………..the extrovert with an open schedule

And then there are objective experiences, which are across the board for most women…

…the loss of a spouse, child, friend

…..a spiteful comment

……..exclusion from community

……….the rebellion of a child

………..desiring children

…………long distance dating

…………..the ending of a relationship

……………a diagnosis from the doctor

But common to both subjective and objective loneliness is that we have all been there!

So, what to do with it?

The following are not my own words, but rather of a woman far more qualified. Elisabeth Elliot is a beloved author who herself endured many trials among which are losing two spouses, raising an infant in the jungle, and bearing the burdens of thousands through her ministry over the course of her life. Number IV and VII are my favorite. Here are her thoughts:

I. Be still and know that He is God. When you are lonely, too much stillness is exactly the thing that seems to be laying waste your soul. Use that stillness to quiet your heart before God. Get to know Him. If He is God, He is still in charge.

II. Remember that you are not alone. “The Lord, He it is that goes with you. He will never fail nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage.” (Duet. 31:8) Jesus promised His disciples. “Lo, I am with you always.” (Matt. 28:20) Never mind if you cannot feel His presence. He is there, never for a moment forgetting you. 

III. Give thanks. In my times of great loneliness I have been lifted up by the promise of 2 Corinthians 4:17,18, “For this slight and momentary trouble is preparing for us an eternal glory beyond all comparison.” This is something to thank God for. This loneliness itself, which sees a weight, will be far outweighed by glory.

IV. Refuse self-pity. Refuse it absolutely. It is a deadly thing with power to destroy you. Turn your thoughts to Christ who has already carried your griefs and sorrows.

V. Accept your loneliness. It is one stage, and only one stage, on a journey that bring you to God. It will not always last. 

VI. Offer up your loneliness to God. God can transform it for the good of others.

VII. Do something for somebody else. No matter who or where you are, there is something you can do, somebody who needs you, so that where there is loneliness you can bring joy. (I wrote more on this one here)

I return to this practical “guide” whenever I need it or know of someone who needs it. May it be a gift and tool for you as well!

from Passion and Purity; pgs.79&80

photo credit: here

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Weekend Viewing


A brief clip from Britian’s most qualified and experienced nannies, Brenda Ashford. I’ve just finished her biography A Spoon Full of Sugar… nothing short of a delight from front to back.

Deciding on some art for our living room wall. I keep trying to convinced my husband on this one. Please!

My favorite site for crock pot recipes. It’s a busy site, but if you know what you’re looking for (i.e. the hearty man’s chili I made yesterday), you find there’s something for everyone!

Because I have everything in the pantry for these pumpkin hummus quesadillas, they are going to be in my belly this weekend.

So excited for Robin’s Pre-Holiday Pilates!

Pumpkin Seeds, Three Ways. Yumm!!

My costume party look tonight, minus the Thoroughbred and black skirt.

Have a wonderful weekend, friends.

photo credit: here


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