Easy and Quick Christmas Butter Cookies

I have a confession to make, I’ve never done Christmas cookies with my children when they were younger. They are teenagers and this is the first year that I made Christmas cookies from scratch. It was a lot of fun for me to watch my daughter and her friend decorating the cookies, and decide on their own to spread the cheer and share some with the neighbours. Loved it!

I know my way around the kitchen but I’m not a baker, I’m good at a handful of baked goods but cookies were not among them. This year with COVID and all the restrictions I needed to make the season a little bit different create new traditions to replace the ones we can do anymore. So searched up a few recipes, here is a tip if you search up recipes online, compare a few to make sure the recipe is actually correct 🙂 I didn’t compare my recipe first and ended up improvising to make it work, which actually turned out to be great.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1  1/8 cups unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 medium-size eggs (room temperature)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Direction:

In a large mixing bowl beat the butter and sugar first at low speed and then at high until it turns light and creamy. Beat the eggs at a low speed one at a time, add vanilla, beat at high speed until you get the creamy texture back. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour and mix with the baking powder, then add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Mix at a low speed until all ingredients mix and you have a soft dough.

Divide the dough into two or four pieces, roll them into a cylinder shape, wrap in plastic or place in an airtight container, leave in the fridge for an hour or so. If you are planning to leave it in the fridge for longer you need to wrap the dough in plastic to make sure it won’t dry and crack.

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F

Remove the dough from the fridge let it sit for about 15 minutes or so, on a clean and dry cutting board cut the cylinder into discs of 1/4 inch thick. Place them 2 inches apart on a non-stick baking sheet, bake in the middle rack in the oven for about 12 minutes or until the sides are slightly golden.

 

Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack, when cold decorate with icing.

This is the fun part there is no wrong way of decorating the cookies just have fun!

 

A Tradition Worth Keeping 

Canadian Makers Market (CMM) was created out of the pure joy I feel from helping others! This year especially, I wanted to help others have a better holiday season so I pursued an idea that had sparked in September. It was one of those grand ideas; you know, those ideas that become so persistent in your mind that you have to act on it? CMM was that for me. So, you see, every September when the kids go back to school it feels like a new year for me; I sit in my meditation chair and reflect, look towards the rest of the year, and tasks I have on the go for myself. During reflection, it hit me that this year there wouldn’t be any in-person markets, and the thought of small businesses losing their holiday market income, weighed heavily on me. Believe it or not, there are businesses whose majority of income is generated in the one and half months of holiday markets.

With the Pandemic hitting our communities hard, we’ve had to come together and stand stronger as we help one another. While some families have been affected more than others, and some even losing loved ones, we’ve had to gain comfort from the power of the phrase “We’re in this together”. We may not be sharing the same space, but we are together in spirit and action.

We can continue to help one another by making a conscious choice on supporting our communities and businesses by shopping close to home. Choosing Canada-made can make a big difference to those small businesses who rely on their holiday sales each year. Let’s stand together to make a small business owner and their families happy this season.

Canadian Makers Market has been just that, a platform where Makers and supporters can come together. If I hadn’t acted on making CMM a reality, we wouldn’t have the thriving and supportive space that CMM has blossomed into. With the help of my team, we have put together a social media campaign to provide our Makers the training and exposure they need to be able to sell online. While you and our communities have come together in this Facebook group by supporting, and I’m truly grateful for that.

Thank you for your continued support for Canadian Makers Market and our Makers! We wish you a happy and safe holiday season.

 

Anahita

 

Happy Thanksgiving Canada!

Thanksgiving-2020-gogoBags

This year has been a challenging and rather interesting year. Every Thanksgiving, I have a dedicated time to sit in silence and think of the things I’m thankful for in general and especially this year.

Sometimes it’s hard to see the blessing, especially if you were hurt. I know many have been hit hard by COVID. People have lost loved ones, jobs, and more. In general, as a community, we lost the mere stability which we took so for granted.

This year has been challenging, but we should know that growth always follows challenge. This year, we grew as a global community. For once, every country is dealing with the same issue and is united to help solve this global pandemic.

On a smaller scale, we grew personally and within our community. We know our neighbours better; help each other out more. We explored our neighbourhood and our own province for leisure, and we keep supporting our local economy. I am grateful for all the lessons this microscopic virus is teaching me and us every day.

Most importantly, I like to thank you, our beautiful reader, for your support during these unprecedented times. Every like, comment, follow, and purchase meant a lot to us; we did a little happy dance for each one 😀

Your trust and loyalty had touched our hearts, allowed us to be of service to our customer team members and create jobs when people needed it the most.

I am forever grateful for your valued support!

I hope that we could bring peace of mind, comfort, and a little bit of hope for a brighter future for our planet and humanity to you.

What are your grateful for this Thanksgiving? Spread the joy and share your gratitude in the comments.

 

Wishing a beautiful Thanksgiving for you and your loved ones!

eco-friendly-living-gogobags-vancouver

5 Socially Distant Father’s Day Activities

This blog post seems to be the most difficult one I’ve ever written. How do you show appreciation for a lifetime of wisdom and sacrifice? I’ve been struggling with this for a few days now. I know what to do for my husband, but for my dad, that’s something else. I have trouble deciding on this in normal situations, let alone in COVID time.

I know if I would ask him what he wants he would say just come sit with us for coffee or a drink. I do that, but I want to do something larger, something that can say ” hey dad, I see you, I know how much you sacrificed in your life for me to get me to where I am now, and I’m grateful for that.” Is there a gift for that? Didn’t think so.

So what do you do in the time of crisis that we are in right now? Thankfully I can go visit my parents. I can go sit with him have a cup of coffee or a few drinks 😉 but I was thinking of people who could not be with their dads and it breaks my heart. Would a video chat be enough????

Here is a few simple ideas that come to my mind. Before continuing I have to say that none of them are ideal, nothing beats the good old hug, but hear it goes. Oh and these ideas are for the elderly dad in your life with grandkids, some could work for younger dads too though.

1) Have An Online Feast

It takes a little bit of planning. Order a delivery of their favourite food to their house and yours at a certain time and eat together via zoom or one the apps that’s lets you see the other person. Share memories and enjoy his favourite food together through the power of interweb.

2) Go For A Nature Walk

In some areas, you can meet your family in an outdoor setting. If possible you can arrange a nature walk and a nice picnic after. This will give you the quality time you need with dad while social distancing.

3) Take Him To Memory Land

You’ve got the time. Print some of the old and newer photos and create a scrapbook with fun notes and memory jots. I love scrapbooks especially when you add your personal and fun memories to it. It can fill up dad’s time with good memories. You can even send it ahead of time to him and ask him to open it with you online. So you can go through the book and laugh and have fun together. Memory lands are always fun

4) Create A Family Celebratory Video

Create a video for him with every member of your family and your sibling’s family if you have some. Everyone participating in their own way with funny memories and comments. Grandkids are the joy of life and I’m sure grandpa, your dad will appreciate seeing their faces and funny comments. Most times each grandkid has a special bond over something with grandpa, imagine gathering them all in one place for him to enjoy for days to come.

5) Start Your Own Book Club With Him

It’s so amazing to sew how much wisdom our dad can still give us, even when we are parents ourselves. I’ve created a joint audible account for my dad and I. We listen to the same book and discuss that whenever we can. It’s the best thing ever, so amazing to see how different or similar we think of one subject. It also gives us something more to talk about. I generally don’t like to talk about politics or news and how much can you talk about grandkids. Having something different and common to talk about gives us the quality time we need.

 

There you have it, a few socially distant activities for this year’s father’s day, until next year that hopefully we go and hug him so dearly.

Oh and if you decide to get him a practical gift, check out our shop. Our kitchen products are perfect for elderly parents to preserve their vegetables for longer especially when they don’t get to use a whole lot of lettuce all at once.

 

Back to basics with simple pleasure of life in isolation

Back to basics with simple pleasure of life in isolation

These days I’m trying so hard to set an example for my children. I want them to see how we can be complete, get back to basics with simple pleasures of life in isolation. We are so used to this fast paste life, it’s hard to slow down and just be present.

Once I mentioned that the reason we chose 100% cotton for the inside of our reusable bags was that we felt we need to go back to the basics. 10 years ago when I was researching food safe fabrics to use for the inside of our sandwich bags there was no exact science behind it. I couldn’t get a single person in Health Canada to reply with confidence that the ripstop water-resistance fabric I was planning to us was actually food safe. Until one day one of the chemists there asked me if my kids were fine using that bag, that the chemical inside the bag was the same as something very scary that I don’t remember now. I remember this because I was in my car talking to this person, it was mid-October and I remember I felt a terrifying shiver going down my spine. Am I making my kids sick by helping heal the planet? Being me I always ask what my mom and her mom and her mom did. What my great grandmother did when there was no plastic? Simple they used to wrap their bread in a cotton cloth. Back to basics, that’s what I did then and that’s what I do now.

Back to basics with simple pleasure of life in isolation

Getting back to basics in isolation

It’s Easter long weekend. And because of COVID 19, all you can hear in the news and everywhere are begging people to stay home, stay close, don’t travel to remote and small communities now is not the time to travel. These are the days that we need to go back to basics and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Back in my great grandparents’ time, they had to travel by mule so they would stick to their own village. Most were farmers so they would stick to their own farm and maybe not see their extended families for months. They would go out of their farm if there was a good reason for it not just to fool around and have fun.

But they had fun they would enjoy each other’s company and simple pleasure of life. Sitting in the sunshine, walking, singing, creating a good meal, crafting something beautiful for their home. We need to get back to the basics and enjoy simple pleasures of life until it’s safe to go out again and be with others and meet in places.

 

We are still a community, we just need to be a virtual one until things get under control. Here are a few simple pleasure of life I enjoy

  • Reading a good book
  • Gardening
  • Organizing and making my house look better
  • Making Birthday Cards for when I need them
  • Coloring
  • Cooking – Baking
  • Singing
  • Dancing
  • Family movie nights
  • Family game nights
  • Long walks around the neighbourhood, 6 feet apart from everyone else.

What are your simple pleasures of life these days?

 

Inequality Amongst Women

Women’s Day

This upcoming Sunday will be International Women’s Day. This year’s International Women’s Day, the focus is about “Celebrating women’s achievements and increasing visibility, while calling out inequality.”

Women’s Day

As I glanced back into the past, women had done so much and had achieved so much for us, modern women, to enjoy. Let’s talk about childbirth. It wasn’t until 1902 that midwifery laws appeared and improved the quality of care of mothers. Child birth was a dangerous part of life. Even in the present day with our advanced medical system, there were many different reasons for complications.

Inequality Amongst Women

International Women’s Day reminds us that inequality between men and women still exists. Sadly, this inequality and unfairness also happens among women ourselves. After speaking with numerous working mothers and stay-at-home mothers, I notice that they all have something is common. They speak of the feeling that they are inadequate at their jobs. Naturally, many of the comments are very subjective. However, their feelings are very genuine and real.

1) Outside The Home:

As a working mother outside of the home, women are expected to excel and to focus on their jobs. Ideally, the company will accommodate requests of maternity leaves, and sick days. Also, when the mother has to leave early for changes in child care situations. Because of the Human Rights Tribunal in British Columbia, women are protected from discrimination from these situations. However, there are resentments that may develop as the company may find the employee as “hassle” to the rest of the workers who do not have these requests. After awhile, this negativity towards this mother can negatively affect her emotional state. This emotionally stress adds on to the guilt of not able to keep the home in a “perfect” state.

2) Stay At Home:

Traditionally, before the World Wars, women stayed home to care for the children and all the household chores. The husband was the one who went out to work and to pay for all the bills.However, after having the chance to work in factories during the absence of the men during the war, more women preferred to work outside the home. This change gave more women a voice in society which ultimately led to the success of suffrage movement.

Staying home to care for the family still continues to be a choice for many women for different reasons. Unfortunately, there seems to be a misconception that staying at home is easy. The caring of a home is not a simple nor straightforward task, especially in the modern world. As mothers strive to more financially independent, some even begin to work at home. (There are many instances where they feel that they lack the freedom of even purchasing a lipstick with their husband’s bank card.)

Final Thoughts

We, as human beings, in this world, need to stand up for ourselves and for the disadvantaged. May each International Women’s Day remind us to be kind and understanding of the other people in our lives.

 

Boxing Day: What To Do

How was your holiday season so far? The end of the year is coming up, now what do you have planned for the next few days till New Year’s Day? Are you ready for Boxing Day? Ever wonder about the history behind Boxing Day? There are a few few theories.

Historical Theories

According to the Spruce:

1. After Christmas Day, masters of the British household gave Christmas Boxes to their servants to bring home. They also took the day off for rest.
2. Boxes of cash donations were collected at churches and they gave the money out the day after Christmas.
3. Sailors kept boxes of money for luck whenever they began sailing out into the ocean. Whenever they made it back safely, the money was donated to the poor after Christmas Day.

Present Day Boxing Day

Boxing Day

One of the most common practices for a lot of people, was going Boxing Day Sales. Before those Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, Boxing Day sales were the most popular sale event for shopping centres. There used be be long lineups at the local shopping centres, waiting for them to open at earlier opening hours. Recently, those other sale days became more in demand that Boxing Day sales.

Boxing Day

Another popular practice was the clearing out of all the waste that accumulated after Christmas Day. However, instead of just throwing everything away into the garbage can, it would be wise to sort out the pieces first. First of all, by carefully opening the presents, you could collect the wrapping paper,gift boxes, gift bags and even the tissue paper inside for future use. Then, you could separate the cardboard and plastic pieces to be recycled. This practice also applied to your party remnants. Hopefully, all the bottles and soda cans were collected to be sent to the recycling depot.

Boxing Day

After learning about the history of Boxing Day, the thought of collecting donation boxes sounds like a great idea too!

Dessert Ideas Fit For The Holidays

 

December is a month that is often filled breakfast, brunch and dinner parties. Most of the time these gatherings happen a pre-booked locations where the guests just need to show up. However, sometimes the guests are invited to the host’s home. It may or may not be a potluck, so the guest may be expected to bring a dish or dessert.

Dessert Idea Number One: Is This the Best Vegan Apple Crisp Recipe Ever

Dessert
Photo Courtesy of Westpoint Naturals

 

This apple crisp recipe appears on Westpoint Naturals blog. It is a vegan recipe that uses cinnamon, oat flakes, and coconut oil and other healthy ingredients. I notice that there are gluten-free and organic ingredients in the list. The prep time takes 20 minutes and baking takes 60 minutes.

 

Dessert Idea Number Two: White Chocolate Matcha Holiday Rum Truffles

Dessert
Photo Courtesy of Whisk Matcha

 

Do you like matcha? Matcha is a type of antioxidant green tea that contains a high level of L-Theanine. L-Theanine helps with mental focus, which is a great asset during the busy holiday season. This truffle recipe from the blog post of Whisk Matcha does not require any baking at all. But, it does require some melting and combining of the ingredients in the microwave or double broiler.

 

Dessert Idea Number Three: Christmas Cookies

Dessert
Photo Courtesy of British Columbia Mom

 

There are fifteen different easy Christmas cookie recipes that one can make to bring to parties or even give away as homemade gifts! A local mommy blogger, British Columbia Mom’s blog compiles an extensive list of cookies from different bloggers to make it easier for busy people to choose. She collects both baking and non-baking recipes.

Have you seen anything that interests you? There are so many delicious sweets to choose from!! Which sweet recipe is the one that you like the best? Please share with us if you decide to make any one of these!

How to Use Wish-lists and Support Local Small Businesses

 

How do you like to do your Christmas shopping?There are so many different ways to search for the perfect gifts. Christmas wish-lists are often utilized by well-meaning friends and families to make life easier by telling them exactly what they wanted to receive. However, these list can also become a burden to others. These wish-lists often limit the gift-giver the type and the cost of the gift. Sometimes, the type of gift may even go against the person’s habits or philosophies. Therefore, these frustrations can turn into a very uncomfortable time during the holidays.

Wish-lists

In the spirit of Christmas, as a parent, I like to emphasize that Christmas is a time about giving and not receiving. As technology becomes more and more prominent, it is important to remember that it is our local businesses that support the communities around us. Giving back to our local neighbourhoods should be one of the most important themes during the holidays, even while doing our shopping.

Let’s see how we can use these wish-lists to help local businesses.

Popular Items On Wish-lists

1. Clothing: Local consignment stores do sell brand-new items of clothes. Sometimes people buy some pieces and do not wear them. I have seen pieces that still have their original tags on them too!
2. Jewellery: Visiting local Christmas markets can help you discover some unique and handmade pieces of jewellery. Remember to pick up a brochure about the jewellery-maker to put inside the wrapping. That way, your recipient can continue to shop for their own friends too!
Wish-lists
3. Toys: I still bought toys for children, but as a daycare educator, I prefer to choose educational toys that require children to either use their imagination or have more players. Our local toy shops stock toys that are using less plastics and packaging. For the older children or even adults, the shop has some unique game boards that the whole family can play together. This can facilitate communication among friends and family.
Wish-lists

These are just a few ideas for some of the items that I often see on wish-lists. Of course, you must do what makes you the most comfortable. Remember, Christmas is about joy and happiness for world. It is crucial that we all work together to share this positive message.

Make A Gift Day: Time To Make One Today

Make a gift

 

Did you know that each December 3 is Make A Gift Day?

This unofficial fun holiday reminds us that handmade presents are excellent ways to add some personal touches and save some money too! As I mentioned before, I made most of my presents by hand. As an adult, I would shop for great deals on items that my family and friends needed, but, I would still make some of the gifts as I had always been quite crafty. Time was passing, I watched my children began to get older, they were also starting to make their own gifts for the family too.

Make A Gift

Make A Gift Ideas

Today is a perfect day to start brainstorming for ideas and inspirations to add some handmade gifts to add to your gifts. Here are some gifts that can be adapted to different skill levels

1. Beginners: ​

– Make a collage of past photos that you can download or cut out from photocopies. Then put it behind a frame.

-Using the same collage idea to make Christmas ornaments. Looks for those small photo frames that you can tie a ribbon to that they can hang it on their Christmas tree.

-Buy one of the Christmas cookie doughs that only require to cut and bake on a cookie sheet. Fill up some cookie tins and give them away!

2. The Next Level:

-Make a sketch, a drawing or paint something that the recipient loves. For example, you might even use some fancy calligraphy to write out a motivation quote and put that into a frame.

Make a gift

-Go to a craft store and buy some quick dry clay. Roll it out and use a Christmas theme cookie cutter to cut out some shapes. Remember to make little hole at the top of a piece of ribbon. Wait for them to dry and then paint  away! You can write the name of the recipient and the current year on the ornament.

-Search out for a nice and fancy cookie recipe and bake them from scratch…Yum!

Make a gift

Remember, the holiday season is about giving and sharing your love of others. We all need to step back and rethink about what kinds of messages are we trying to convey to our loved ones.

Holiday Party Zero Waste Inspirations

Christmas cookies

 

December is just coming around corner. Are you pondering what to do this holiday season? Are planning to host a holiday party yourself or visiting a friend’s home as a guest? There are many things to think about… As with any gathering, holiday parties are notorious for producing a large amount of plastic waste. Let us begin to think about how we can reduce this amount of waste as much as possible.

Holiday Party Hosting

Cup and plates

As soon as the host decides to invite guests over for a party, most tend to think about what to serve as food and drinks. Then, the shopping list begins to grow.

1. Serving utensils: Instead of running to the dollar shop to pick up those disposable plastic forks, and knifes, bring out your own washable utensils. If you do not own enough glass or stainless plates yourself, you can consider asking your guests to bring their own plate to use. Depending on the event, only purchase compostable paper plates if you really need to pick some disposable ones. Leftovers are common after a party, so have some reusable containers on hand for guests to pack and take home.
2. Decorations Around the House: Looks for décor lights that are rechargeable instead of ones that use batteries or remember to use rechargeable batteries if you must. Also, avoid using the plastic glitter, as you can make your own with a hole puncher on scrap paper wrappings and holiday catalogues. Try to reuse the decorations each year instead putting up disposable ones.

As A Guest

Christmas cookies

Here you are reading about the details in your invite, time to think about some concerns.

1. What: Is there a gift exchange? Look for presents that can be reused often. Furthermore, when you look wrapping the present, look for creative ways to wrap it like using a reusable cotton bag instead of plastic cellophane for baskets.
2. When: December tends to be quite busy on the road. Plan ahead to avoid traffic jams, where cars tend to spew out more exhaust when they are stuck in a jam.
3. Where: Look at the address of the holiday party…. Do you know if anyone of your family or friends that live near you are also invited to the party? Perhaps you can suggest to carpool with them so the guests will have less cars on the road that day.
4. How: As with many dinner parties, leftovers are the norm.You can bring your stainless steel or glass containers like Mason jars for soups.
HOliday party

 

It is important to remember that every little action helps. Remember that we need to be kind and respectful of others and not shame anyone into being zero waste. Instead, you need to use love and kindness to move the world.

Do It Yourself Christmas Decor

Since I was a little girl, I enjoyed making my own Christmas gifts and decorations. At school, the students would be asked to make our own Christmas crafts. Do It Yourself Christmas projects were everywhere.

Do it yourself

One of my most memorable Do It Yourself Christmas décor projects was the year that our family had to move into a small basement, while awaiting to move into our new home. My mother said that we could not put up our huge Christmas tree as there was not enough space. The ceiling of the basement was just not tall enough. I was so disappointed. My mother was a very creative person. She quickly looked around for some green construction paper. Folding and cutting, she made a paper Christmas tree and stuck it to a wall in the living room. Then, I remembered I was cutting up small circles to be the ornaments on our Do It Yourself Christmas Tree. We also cut up a lot of paper snowflakes to decorate the place.

Even as an adult, I enjoyed making my own Christmas decorations. The best part of making these decorations was spending some quality time with the children.

Do It Yourself Christmas Decor Ideas

Here are some ideas to spark your imagination:

1. Toilet Paper Roll Snowmen: You can collect those empty toilet paper rolls and glue cotton balls to cover them up like snow. Then, make some eyes and arms by using old magazines. You can cut out images of hats too!
2. Christmas Card Décor: Start keeping those old Christmas cards from previous years. I especially love the ones with family photos printed on it. You can hang them on your tree as ornaments.
Do it yourself
Can you make out those finger shapes?
3. Waving Hands Christmas Wreaths: Trace the hands of your family members and attach them in a circle, starting from the outer circle and working your way inwards. Then, add some sparkly stickers or cut out some Christmas –themed images to your wreath. You can then reuse a ribbon from a previous gift to end the final touch.
Do IT Yourself
I kept this piece of ribbon to reuse.

Have you made any Christmas décor by hand?

Special Ways to Save Money for Christmas

 

It is too late to feel regretful about not starting to do your Christmas shopping early. What can you do? No need to panic. It is only November, and there is still some time left. There are special ways to deal with this. Besides the lack of time, the other issue is the concern of budget. Depending on how many people you have to purchase this Christmas, this gift-giving often comes with a hefty price tag.

The commercialization of Christmas holidays has been falsely marketed at a time to get your loved ones the special present. From expensive jewellery to super high-tech toys for the children, each year I notice that the advertisements of television and even social media can be a little overwhelming. I am not passing judgement for those who are capable and chose to purchase these extravagant presents. That is their choice.

 

3 Special Ways

1. Pool resources: Let’s say, for example, a university student is in search of a laptop of his education. A few of his closed friends may gather together and split the cost of the laptop.
2. Christmas Markets: I like to visit Christmas Markets to look for unique and inexpensive gifts. Many of the vendors make their own items. Shopping for local small businesses helps our local economy.
3. Use social media: Signing up for the e-newsletters of your favourite online shops and vendors often gives you the newest deals that are only for their subscribers. Be on the lookout for the different advertisements that businesses often start to post in November on their various social media platforms. You can even use your own chat groups to share what sorts of deals with your friends so that they can save some money too!

 

This holiday season, thinking and using special ways to save money can be a challenging, but very rewarding experience. Remember to also share this information with the younger ones too.

Planning For Presents: Post-Halloween Preparations

 

Halloween is over and November is here!! Are you getting ready for the Christmas holiday season? Personally, as a busy working mother of two, I am constantly planning for different gift ideas for the Christmas gift exchanges. One of the life lessons that I convey to the younger generation is that Christmas is a time of giving and not receiving.

Presents Are Important: Reality Versus Ideal

1. Only expensive gifts are the best! Or is it?: As a very young girl, I did not have a lot of allowance to spend on all my friends and family. Every year, I would choose a craft to focus on and make handmade presents for my closest family and friends. For example, one year I received a knitting frame as a present. So, right after Christmas, I began planning to knit little trinkets for the coming year.
2. Built a list as soon as possible: As I got older, I was able to save up some money, but I still couldn’t splurge on presents. I learned to start writing down a list of the people that I wanted to show gratitude to on Christmas. My list grew longer each year, but because I planned my list early in the year, I didn’t need to worry.
3. Have a budget: For most of the people on my list, I would be able to interact with them on a constant basis. Therefore, I would ask them questions or pay attention to what the were looking for or needed to replenish. I would take a mental note. This mental note sometimes turned into a written note, so I could go back to it whenever I was shopping.
4. Be reasonable: Honestly, there’s no way that I could give a gift to everyone in my life, and neither could you! Send a heartfelt email or even write a Christmas card to family and friends is still a lovely gesture.

Now, we still have two more months to go, but don’t worry!! Our upcoming blog posts will give you some ideas to inspire you!

Jack o’ lantern Carving : How to Use the Pumpkin Seeds

As I was picking up the children from school, I noticed that some of the younger ones were carrying around different sizes of pumpkins. The students told me that they had just visited the pumpkin patch that day. What fun!! Did you visit your nearby pumpkin patch yet? For the past few years, my children got to pick out their pumpkins at a local community gathering. The coordinators would decorate the whole paring lot and community garden like a pumpkin patch. Then the children got to choose their pumpkins for their jack o’ lantern designs.

Initially, the children tended to search for the largest or the smallest ones. Then, I would remind them that they might want to think about how they were going to use the pumpkins. If the pumpkin was meant to be just painted on and left intact, then they might want the tiny ones. However, if they wanted to be able to carve a detailed jack o’lantern, then they perhaps needed a much larger one.

The Other Side of Jack o’lantern Carving

Painting a pumpkin with paints would just as fun as carving. However, the children and I enjoyed and looked forward to brainstorming for ideas. Back when they were small, I was the only one doing the carving by myself. The children would try their best to scoop out the strands of slimy pumpkin flesh. Afterwards, they helped me to separate the tiny little seeds into a strainer. It was a great way to practice their fine motor skills there.
Now, what did I do with those pumpkin seeds? I toasted them as a snack!

Here is my recipe:

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

  • Ingredients
    -Pumpkin seeds of one large pumpkin
    -1 or 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (mine was a Jalapeño flavoured)
    -A sprinkle of herb salt (I used Herbamare) or Himalayan pink salt

Directions
1. Rinse and dry the pumpkin seeds. I spread the seeds out on a cooking sheet, lined with parchment paper to dry overnight.
2. The coconut oil that I used was already liquefied, so melt yours before you drizzle onto the seeds.
3. Toss the seeds around on the cookie sheet while sprinkling the seasoning.
4. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F or 150 degrees C.
5. Once oven is ready, place in the middle rack and bake for around 45 minutes or until the pumpkin seeds begin to change colour. Golden brown is what you are looking for.

 

Enjoy those pumpkin ? seeds !!