One last time...

May 31, 2010

A few posts ago, I wrote about changes that I was going through, and how I wanted to express them in this space, but felt that I couldn't. I was going to continue to blog to a different address.

And then got scared by the change (and well, what if no one wants to read about it?) and told you I changed my mind, I "chickened out" and came back crawling to Purplicious.

With all this back and forth, I did something to the format of my blog that affects when I write new or edit posts. Something unintended and I have no idea what it is. But now when I try write a new post, things are all different and really hard to work with. I'm not a computer genius when it comes to formatting blogs and web pages, therefore, I can't fix it.

So, I took it as a sign: I have to start a new blog after all.

But I had to register a new blog under a whole new profile, as keeping the same profile kept the messed up posting layout for me. (Like I said, I have no idea what I did).

So here it is. You can follow me over at Petals and Sunshine (same name as I had decided before, just a slightly different address. If I already follow your blog and you've noticed the above picture in your followers as "Sunshine Mama", it's me :) Just a new profile.

And don't worry, I'll still post recipes on my new blog. It's just going to have a more creative feel to it, as I am starting to craft a lot more with the kids and making some homemade cleaners and such for our home. It's going to be sort of a Purplelicious Part 2, but a more evolved version of it I suppose.

I hope you continue to follow us on our life journey!

Lots of creative, fun, colorful (and hopefully inspiring) things are waiting for you at my new blog!

Raw caramel sauce: It tastes good, AND it's good for you!

May 28, 2010

A couple weeks ago, Sheri, from Green and Crunchy shared a recipe for a raw caramel sauce. I found myself making it today, for the second time in just a couple weeks, because, well... it's that good!

My kids still wont try it though. They have been very picky eaters lately, but that's ok. It's not like I need their help to eat this, haha. I only do half the recipe and then I eat this sauce as a dip with apple slices all week. Either as a snack, or as a late night sweet craving kinda treat, or just on a spoon. Because really, it's that good, so who needs the apple?

You can find the recipe HERE.

I am going to keep offering this to my kids and eventually, they will eat it. I just have to be patient. Because it tastes good, AND it's good for them! Now that's my kind of recipe!

We have a winner!

I got my two sweeties to do the draw for the giveaway today.

They were very excited to have such an important task and they did a great job!

And the winner is....

I will e-mail you to get your mailing information.

Congratulations T.J. and thanks to everyone who has participated. And a HUGE thank you to Cathy from Tiny Tree Huggers, for making this giveaway possible.

Giveaway reminder :)

May 25, 2010

***************Contest now closed*******************

Just a reminder that you still have 3 days (including today), to enter my giveaway.

You can do it HERE.

Good luck!

Note: I will most likely be away from this space for the next couple days, as my husband is home and the sun is finally shining. It's time to enjoy some well deserved family time in the great outdoors. I'll be back soon!

Have a great day!

Spring, Summer, Winter, spring again... Mother nature must have a concussion!

May 23, 2010

I swear, I think Mother nature has a concussion or went on vacation! Within 7 days, we went through all 4 seasons (minus the changing leaves), multiple times.

It's been raining and snowing and cold all weekend, so we are just hanging out at home, creating with play dough, baking, reading books (oh and did some spring cleaning too!). I guess once in a while, it's nice to just sit back and relax though.

Considering it was summer weather just 5 days ago, I thought I'd share with you some recent pics... from when the weather was nice, and we were thoroughly enjoying every minute of it!

Last week, I bought some plants for our balcony to bring more nature into our lives. And one evening, as the sun was setting, I went on my balcony and basically had a little photo shoot with my little potted friends.

I just love how these flowers pop in this picture, it might just be one of my favourite flower pictures I've taken in a long time.

A strawberry plant at sunset :)

And these last two were taken exactly 5 days ago, when it was over 30 Celsius outside. We went to a friends place and my kids played with her 7 children (they are such an awesome family!) and had so much fun! They ran through the sprinklers, played in the sand box, ate watermelon, and jumped on the trampoline.

It was such a perfect afternoon! I can't wait to do it again! In the mean time, I choose not to let this grey weather weigh us down, and I am hanging on to the warmth of this cute smile.

Because I know that in just a few more days, it might very well be summer, all over again.

Enjoy the rest of your long weekend and may the sunshine, wherever you are!

Through my son's eyes...

May 21, 2010

My smarty pants little boy loves electronics!

Weather it's listening to music using MY iPod or checking the weather on my Blackberry phone (and yes, he figured out how to do that all by himself!), playing games (supervised and occasionally) on the computer, he just loves things with buttons. So I should not have been surprised when I realized he had been snatching my camera when I was not looking to take some pictures. He's becoming pretty obsessed with taking pictures actually. I think it's really great that he's loving it so much (especially since I love it so much as well), so I let him do it. After all, photography IS a form of art, and I strongly believe that art is SUCH a great way for kids to express themselves.

So I thought I'd share some of his pics with you. Of course, I left out the ones of my behind, my elbow and our kitchen floor, LOL. But he did get some good ones. I was impressed actually, considering he's only 4 1/2 years old!

His sister was actually posing for him this way.

Fridge art. Yaya's watercolor painting from last week.

Fridge art. His own watercolor painting from last week as well.

Yaya being caught peeking (or more like completely standing) IN the fridge :)

I think we are going to do this exercise more often. I found it really interesting to see what interests him, what catches his eye, and what life is like from his level.

Have a happy weekend!

My very first giveaway!!!

May 20, 2010

****************Contest now closed*******************

The very lovely Cathy from Tiny Tree Huggers generously donated the items for my first blog giveaway! Tiny Tree Huggers is a local store, right in my little town, and boy am I glad she opened it! The store carries everything from cloth diapers, to nursing accessories, along with a huge selection of Melissa and Doug toys. My kids love this store as much as I do. Between all the cool wood toys and the big selection of art supplies, it's hard for us to come out empty handed!

As you can see in the top picture, the giveaway is two "write-a-mat" from Melissa and Doug, along with a set of the Learning Mat Crayons. I thought it was perfect for a giveaway, as we already own a few (and yes, I bought them from Tiny Tree Huggers :) ), and they are the best!

The kids can color, learn to trace letters, numbers, or even learn fun facts about planets or dinosaurs. The ones for this giveaway are the Numbers and Alphabet mats.

It keeps my kids busy weather they are just in the mood to draw, or if they are just feeling impatient while waiting for lunch. It provides a great distraction! And they are actually easy to wipe, just like it promises.


#1 Simply leave a comment on here to be entered in the giveaway!

#2 Blog about the giveaway and link back to Purplelicious for an extra entry. But don't forget to come back and leave me a comment to let me know you did so.

Contest entries will be accepted until Thursday, May 27Th at midnight. The winner will be announced the following day.

Now, go on, enter!

Maple-Glazed Trail Mix

May 19, 2010

As promissed, here is a recipe that you will be surprised by how easy and simple it is to make, yet so "freaken" good! If you have a sweet tooth, this is for you because it's sew-weet! If you like to hike and go camping, this is for you because, well, hello! Trail mix! Heck, this stuff is so good, the first time I made it, it was dinner that night because I couldnt stop eating it, lol.

It's based off a recipe I found in an older issue of the Alive magazine. I only made a few changes, like subbing the butter for coconut oil to make it healthier and it's perfect, in my opinion.

Maple-Glazed Trail Mix

2 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup pecans, halved
1/2 cup almonds
1/4 pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup Medjool dates, chopped

In a skillet, melt the coconut oil on medium heat. Add pecans, almonds and pumpkin seeds. Cook 3 minutes, stirring regularly. Add maple syrup and cinnamon to skillet and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. Toss in coconut and stirr well. Remove from heat and stirr in the cranberries and chopped dates. Put in a bowl to cool and store in an airtight container.

If you don't have a sweet tooth, this is probably not for you though. It tastes like dessert, if you ask me. Which is probably why I like it so much :) I am definately going to make sure I have a batch with me next time we go camping. It's perfect energy food for when your physically active, or need a pick-me up snack in the middle of the afternoon.

I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I do!

Pardon the indecisiveness...

but oh! how I have missed you, little bloggy.

The vaste emptiness of a new blog is just so intimidating! And you are so familiar and comforting. Somewhere I can come, and just be myself. No pressure. Somewhere I can express myself anyway I want. Which is something I used to love about this blog, and still do. I can go from talking about raw foods and recipes, to crafts, to sharing pictures of our vacations, and birthdays.

Though I have been wanting to talk about other things too, there was nothing stopping me from doing it here. We create our own limits. Maybe I just had spring fever and was in need of a change.

So I hope you can forgive me about being so indicisive and still want to stick around!? :)

I might just "redecorate" the blog, along with parts of our home instead.

I'll be back tonight to share a recipe that's so amazing, it will makeup for all this cahos, I promise :)

Have a good evening!

Spring is here... bring on the change! ~ A new blog

May 16, 2010

With spring in the air, I've been feeling the effects of the warmth, the sunshine and flowers blooming.

I've been inspired to do a lot more than just the usual spring cleaning... more like a complete makeover!

A strange spring this has been so far for me. For a long time, I've been longing for a change, both in my life, and on my blog. For myself and my life, I've been longing to go back to my old "hippie" self. You see, back in high school and college, while everyone was trying to figure out who they were, I knew exactly who I was. I was a laid back and open, patient, easy going, art creating kinda girl. And that is probably the time in my life that I was happiest with who I was.

Fast forward 10-ish years, 2 kids and two cross country moves later, I was completely lost. That is why I had started blogging: to find out who I am as a person, since I felt so lost in the mom role.

Enter the present time: over a year of blogging later, lots of book and blog reading, soul searching, being inspired by some people, and a camping trip later and... it's all falling into place.

I've slowly been returning to my "old hippie ways" over the past year, thanks to this blog, and realized that being a mom is THE most important part of me right now! I just have to take care of myself a bit more and be less caught up with all the "small things" in life to spend more time with my children, because they are growing way too fast! I've also been working on being more laid back and calmer with my kids and in life in general (thank you meditation Podcast!). But the camping trip last week and a few very inspiring recent blog finds were the last things to bring a new perspective into my eyes.

We've been lacking nature, creativity, and mommy-children quality time in our lives. Considering we live on a 3rd floor apartment, my kids don't get to play outside all day long like other kids can do. Like I used to do as I child. (they are too little to go outside on their own, so they can't play out while I'm making lunch, etc.)

So I decided we needed, I needed to make some changes, that will bring balance and more happiness to us all.

To go with those fun changes, I felt that a new blog was needed. A place where I can start fresh, with a fun and positive new attitude. No more venting posts (like I've done a few times in the past), no more fretting over the kids not eating a certain foods. But don't worry, I will still share recipes and such :) I just wanted a place where I can really give out a more positive vibe about life and be more creative. I am aware, the limits of this blog are only in my head. But still. I just really needed a positive, creative, happy, inspiring, change.

So stay tuned to see how we will incorporate more nature and fun into our lives (along with more yummy foods, of course!). I really hope you will like my NEW BLOG and will continue to follow us on our journey!

Jasper rocks!

May 12, 2010

This weekend was so much fun!
During the drive, the kids were busy at work with their coloring kits. We barely heard them except for the occasional "are we there yet?", lol.

This is the face I got when I asked her to say cheese.
She's actually saying cheese when I took the pic, can you tell?

We saw lots of wildlife on the way to Jasper. And I mean lots.

The kids soon discovered that one of their favourite things to do, is to throw rocks in the water.

Still some snow by the lake. The water was so cold!

Can you see the glaciers up there?

Waterfall on the side of the road. Most of it was sill frozen though.

Patricia Lake, Jasper Ab.

Horseshoe Lake... the photo does not even do justice to the color of the water. It was breathtaking!

To get to Horseshoe lake, we had to hike a little while from the road. It was the first time we went hiking with the kids and they really enjoyed it. Though we never ventured very, very far since we were not exactly equipped (read water, snacks, bear spray, etc.), it was so much fun and we are definitely going to do it again!

Not far from the view above, when I turned around, I notice a cute little patch of juniper bushes and the berries were starting to become ripe. I don't know quite enough about juniper berries other than the essential oil, so I did not pick any. But they sure looked pretty!

Juniper berries

As for the camping itself, it was an absolute blast! It was a great way to spend time as a family, and it really recharged my batteries.

I'm ready for more camping!

(I apologize for the lack of pictures of us and Jasper itself, but my camera died shortly after we got there and I did not bring my charger. But instead of being mad at myself about it, I was busy having fun and enjoying the moment. So I hope you can forgive me ;)

What to do to keep the kids busy on the road

May 7, 2010

Well, I'm not sure where the week went, but it sure is flying by!

I just wanted to let you know that I won't be back until Sunday night, so I wont post anything new until Monday, because...

Picture borrowed from Adventure learning eco tours

We are going camping!
No, not in a tent. I just thought the picture was pretty ;)
And considering it's been below freezing temperatures at night here for the past two weeks and we are heading to the mountains, it would be silly to go in a tent. The truth is, we just got a camper! and could not wait to try it out.
I've been packing all evening, trying to figure out what we will need, as the forecast is calling for rain, cold weather, and a bit of snow. Yeah, I know... it's not exactly going to be all outside fun, blowing bubbles, playing ball games and hiking in the mountains, but we are still very excited to go nonetheless. So I've been trying to pick out easy (and small) things to keep the kids busy if the weather gets too bad and we are stuck in the trailer. And then I remembered something from a post I just read this week.
The lovely Mari-Ann from Counting Coconuts just wrote a post about her super inventive activity kits.
Since I had just unpacked a new set of bedsheets, I decided to keep and reuse the plastic zippered bag they came in and make my own 'on the fly' activity kit.
Oh and can I say: Who Hoo! for recycling/reusing plastic!!!

I packed various coloring books that also all contain activities in them, some crayons and markers, two multi-colored pencils (the black ones, because they make fun and funky pictures).

And also two packs of activity cards. a counting one, and the other one is a word/picture recognition game.

To tell you the truth, we have not used those card kits for almost two years! I know, horrible, right?! And if it wasn't for Mari-Ann's awesome post, I'm sure it would have been another 2 years before I would have remembered to dig them out, lol.

Though my activity kit is not as creative as hers, and does not offer as much variety as hers, I still find it's pretty good for a last minute thing. But I can assure you, since this will not be our last time camping, I am going to use her ideas to put together some more activity kits like hers.

Weather your planning a road trip, or are anticipating a wait with your child at the dentist or at the restaurant, go check out her post HERE for some great ideas!

If the weather is nice (which I am keeping my fingers crossed it will), that would make me so happy. But if it's not, at least I'll be prepared :)

I'll be back on Monday and I am wishing you all a great weekend! (and a Happy Mother's day to all the mom's out there!)

Chai Tea Breakfast Quinoa

May 4, 2010

Well hello there strangers! You didn't think I talked about getting my spark back and then bailed on you, did you? How is everyone doing this week so far?

We are doing well here, but when we woke up this morning, this is what it looked like outside:

My first thought was Yuck!

And my second thought, was that a green smoothie was just not going to cut it for me for breakfast. When it's winter outside (thought it's supposed to be spring now), I crave something warm and heavier for breakfast. I used to love, love, love oatmeal, and though I still do, I can no longer eat it, as it makes me instantly sick.

So it was the perfect time to whip up this recipe for Creamy Quinoa that I found HERE. I didn't have all the spices, so I used only what I had on hand, and let me tell you. It tastes just like Chai tea!! So I am calling this Chai Tea Breakfast Quinoa. Here is how I made it:

Serves 4
  • 1 1/2 cups GF vanilla rice milk (or any other milk of your choice)
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 chopped pecans
  • Maple syrup, to taste

Bring milk, salt and 1 cup water to a boil.

Stir quinoa and cranberries, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 15-20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, stir in sweetener and spices. Serve warm, topped with more "milk" and pecans.

How easy is that? The cool thing about this, is that it contains 6g Fiber per serving. And who says you can't get protein by eating vegan? This has 10g of protein per serving!

Don't like Chai Tea? Omit the ground cloves and switch the cranberries for raisins to make this into a regular cinnamon raisin "oatmeal". Another great thing about this recipe, is you can make extra, keep the leftovers in the fridge and warm up when ready to serve and Voila! So if your in a hurry in the morning before work, you don't have to stand in front of the stove for 20 minutes.

I love how versatile this is. And I'm glad I have leftovers for tomorow, because I definitely LOVE how this tastes!

The spark is back!

May 1, 2010

Good morning everyone!
I hope you are all enjoying your beautiful Saturday morning!? One of the things I love about weekends, is that it gives a sense of fresh start, even though it's the end of the week. You know, after being so busy all week, maybe the weekend finally offers you some time to take care of yourself.
That's the case for me right now. I am using this weekend to refocus on myself. On my health to be more precise. For the past couple of months, as you might have noticed, I found it hard to write posts about food, because I have been lacking lots of focus in that department. (It's sugar code for falling off the wagon completely, if you read between the lines ;)
Letting, allowing myself to eat just about whatever I wanted has been like a party in my mouth constantly. But not so much a party in my stomach.... more like a storm!
But after spending a bit less time writing on my blog lately, and reading more about other very inspiring people on the blog sphere, it reminded me why I was on the path that I was when it comes to healthy eating. And after spending a bit less time on the computer than usual, and waayyyy more time playing with my children, that reminded me what's at stake here.
I need to take care of myself for myself, and for my children. So it's time for a permanent change. Stop going back and forth, leave my old sad eating habits (that my body can obviously not handle) behind and stick to the new healthy path I had started following...
My "spark" is back!!!
So am trading goat cheese quessadillas on wheat tortillas (I will still allow myself the occasional goats feta for now as it's fine for me, but not too often)

for raw couscous and other gluten free meals.

And trading yummy vegan goodies I enjoyed baking and eating (even this past week)

for raw coconut carob haystacks.

After the kids went to bed, I dedicated a few evenings this week for searching the Internet to find some gluten free meals that we hopefully all can enjoy. My stomach has been making such a number lately, it's clear that I could handle small quantities of dairy and gluten on occasion, but multiple times a day is just not working for me anymore.

Like I said, I had been reading blogs of some awesome and inspiring people lately and it renewed my spark for healthy eating.

And here is one super easy and yummy recipe I tried that is worth sharing:

Nut butter and cacao smoothie

The lovely Mrs. M from RWM & Me left me the recipe in her comments a little while back and I hope it's OK with her, but I HAD to share! Here is how I made mine:

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup GF rice milk (or any milk you like)
  • 1 Tbsp raw cacao powder
  • about 1 Tbsp nut butter (or more, to taste)
  • 1-2 Tbsp hemp seeds

Blend and enjoy!

It's oh! so good! If I ever can resist drinking every last drop of it, I want to freeze some in Popsicle molds for the kids and I. It's a perfect summer (or even winter) treat! I dare you to resist drinking it all. I don't think it's possible, lol.

Nothing says you can't take the path to health and treat it like a road trip at the same time, right?

Have fun living life and staying healthy and enjoy your weekend!

Stephanie xx

Sometimes all you need is a box!

April 27, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, I received 2 gigantic boxes. Well, I got the stuff that was in it. But I knew I would have to keep the boxes for my kids. I figured they would play with them for a day or two at the most, but still. A day or two of them being busy playing together without fighting, is so worth it!

Little did I know that they would play with those boxes for over a week straight!

Who says that fun "toys" have to be expensive? Or even cost anything in this case...

They decorated their first box (I forgot to take a picture) with markers, pencils and different crayons. I let them just use whatever they wanted and draw/decorate however they wanted. They loved it! Especially my son, I could tell he found the experience very freeing, as he is not a huge fan of rules compared to other kids.

That first box did not last too long, since my destructive little "bulldozer" did not realize this box was breakable, lol. Good thing we had the second one!

I decided to make it into a submarine, since they had been talking about the ocean in my son's class at preschool. I cut out the windows for them. Two circles on each side and the front window. We kept the cut out circles and they used them as steering wheels, to steer their submarine of course!

They had so much fun playing this game! They even used their binoculars to spot some sea creatures.

They have such great imaginations!

Our new favourite (mini) Farmers Market

April 23, 2010

Months ago, I came across this fabulous looking market and decided to wait and give it to my daughter for her birthday. So when her big day rolled around this past week, I finally got to give it to her.

It's the Cherry Blossom Market from the brand Playskool.

I had heard great things about their Rose Petal Cottage (from the same line of products), though I had never actually seen it with my own eyes.

It does not deceive!

It's easy for a grown up to assemble, the mount for the "tent" is made of metal with hard plastic connectors so it's sturdy (and can be taken apart if you want to), and the tent is double sided so that the metal frame is hiding inside.

Let's not forget that it looks absolutely adorable and can provide hours of pleasure.

It also came with a little cash register and some play money as well. With a theme like a farmers market (or it could also be a little store), it's perfect for my two kids to play together. They each take on a role of either the vendor or the customer and play without fighting.

You might see in the picture above, she also got the fruit cutting kit from Melissa and Doug, which goes perfectly with the market theme. They've been using little canvas lunch bags that we have and pretend they are like my reusable shopping bags so they can bring their produce "back home'.

My kids always are very enthusiastic at the thought of going to the real farmers market and getting some local produce, but now, they can create their own and let their imaginations flow.

This product truly is quality. And the cuteness is undeniable. I really recommend it!

(Pardon the mess :)

Note: I did not get paid by anyone to write this review, nor did I get contacted or asked by the company to do so. I was just honestly impressed with this toy and thought I would share my thoughts about it, for all the other parents out there.

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