Can a dressy apron motivate?

For a week it has been like this photo & if it's not raining, it looks like it will. After living in a sunny place it takes getting used to (and motivation to get out of bed). 
overcast sky with leafless tree But, I've realized, it's possible to get things done in the rain. You don't have to cozy up to the fire and watch 2 seasons of Breaking Bad (that was Sunday). No, you can get out there! Rake leaves, chop wood, go to the farmer's market and buy garlic.

I got out the fancy weekend mugs to 'festive' things up a little and I baked in my dressy apron. collage of pics. woodpile at the front door, pottery travel mugs, embroidered apron, purple garlic in an enamel bowl
Our doorway looks like this now. Only a tiny area for boots.

On another note, I started a job. It's part-time and I'm glad to be doing something different. It would be easy (and enjoyable) to stay in and bake bread all day. But gotta make money! Plus gets me out of the house and into the world. 

How do you keep motivated when the weather is grey? 

Ridiculously easy all-natural room sprays

collage of essential oil bottles, green glass bottle with spray top and finished product with label of 'fresh spray' on the bottleHave you ever used fragrance sprays like febreeze or airwick? I bought one reluctantly to cover up the musty damp smell of our bathroom (the entire room is a project). A week later, the smell was too much for either Craig or me to handle. We both preferred musty to overpowering headache inducing smell. 
hand holding an airwick oil plug-in
Overpoweringly smelly
An article by Dr. Mercola inspired me to get back to basics for household spray. And making room spray is soooo easy, I'm a little embarrassed to say I made it. But many natural companies will be happy to sell you their very similar version for much more money. All you need are a few basics to get started.

Non-toxic room spray

What you'll need:
  • A decent spray bottle (I use 50ml glass bottles with a spray top)
  • Several bottles of essential oils so you can mix-but just one will work too
  • Water
I prefer smells like citrus and peppermint. This one is 10 drops rosemary, 10 drops peppermint and 15 drops sweet orange. Just drip oils into your bottle, add water, put lid on and shake well. 

Another use for your new essential all-purpose cleaner to make yourself. I enthusiastically recommend Gorgeously Green All-Purpose Spray. The ingredients are easy to find and it actually cleans. I use it in the kitchen and bathroom. Smells amazing.

Have you gone green with your cleaners or room sprays? What do you use?

Herbs and chocolate

Back home after 2 weeks in Ontario. I spent lots of time with family and friends. There I am with my mom. We got out for a short hike. The other pic is at Cora's with girls I've known since we were 5! It's amazing to have people in your life like that. 
Jill pictured with mother and girlfriends
Around our place, Craig has been getting ready for the snow. Things look different. The yard is covered in a wet blanket of leaves that apparently need raking immediately since the snow is imminent. I was happy to see the garden with a few things still in it and I harvested it all (all herbs). Craig obtained a large amount of cedar (a dump truck full!). We chopped and stacked for several hours on Saturday. 
collage of photos including stacked wood pile, wood in pile before being processed for fireplace, fall leaves.
I froze the last of the chard and dried herbs. The place smelled amazing! There was oregano, mint, thyme, lavender and rosemary. The heat from the stove made a nice slow dryer. 
herbs drying in front of the wood stove, tied with twine hanging up on hooks and swiss chard in baggies ready for the freezer
After, I was craving a sweet treat (when am I not Jill, when am I not) and decided to make these after seeing them on a great blog "Oh She Glows". Homemade Rolo Knock-offs with date caramel! I was out of medjools so I used 'regular' dates that were old and dry. But it still worked, I just had to soak them longer. I think my balls were a little moister than hers. But because of that, even after freezing overnight, the insides were still soft & totally delicious. All in all, a little fussy but worth it and kind-of addictive (needless to say, they didn't last the day). 
chocolate treats called 'rolo knock-offs' sitting on a pottery plate and close up to see the date caramel
Do you do anything to get ready for winter?

Ontario visit and a new discovery

Fall is my favourite time of year and I'm in Ontario for a week to see family and friends. Most of the trees have turned and the air is crisp. The weather has been mild and sunny and it's been wonderful to visit with people I haven't seen for ages. As a bonus, I borrowed a townie to ride around on. It wasn't all that cold to justify my touque and parka but I like to keep things toasty.

Krisda root beer being held in a hand

New Discovery!!

I was feeling like having a few snacks & so I walked to the store:
dark mint chocolate from Camino (oh, mint, my favourite), plain Lay's potato chips, organic yogurt and Nature's Path granola.

Compared to where I shop at home (Cooper's), I felt like a kid in a candy shop. A huge selection of organics and interesting new things. The best was this Krisda soda. I tried root beer and it was delicious!! Wow, I never drink pop because of the sugar so I can't really tell if it tasted just like regular pop, but this has no sugar & no chemical fake sugar either. It's sweetened with stevia. It cost $0.99/can.

September in the Rockies

I've been on the road. Canmore and Banff last week and now in Ontario. It's been a while since I've been away from home & it's strange not cooking for myself but there's lots of good food from family and friends around. 

Some photos last week from my short but sweet visit to the Rockies.  Cold but beautiful.

view from the trans canada highway between Banff and Canmore
Heading home through Banff. It's my favourite view when the mist clings... 

View of Cascade mountain in Banff National Park from the trans canada highway. Mountain is snow capped, mist hangs low around it.
This one, on the same day, taken closer to home. What a difference an hour westward makes!

View from the trans canada highway west of Golden, British Columbia.

roaring fire in our wood stove with extra wood stacked in front of it
Finally back home, the weather had changed too and I knew we'd have to have our first fire. It was cozy and lovely and smelled amazing.

It's my first winter with a wood stove for the sole heat source. Craig says I might not find it as endearing after we've had to light a couple hundred fires. We're ready though, check out our wood pile!

Happy times at the thrift store

I love a good bargain--especially finding good quality stuff. Every once in a while (just when the stars align), there is 50% off at our thrift store. A bland looking place with friendly people and ever changing items. All money supports the local hospital, so it's a win-win.

What I found today (everything, altogether was $3!!).

thrift store finds including mason jars, bamboo steamer, rolling pin and tray laid out on a wooden deck

Vintage tray for cheese and crackers.

Vintage plastic cheese tray

Bamboo steamers.

2 different sizes of bamboo steamers laying on a counter top

A solid marble rolling pin.

marble rolling pin with wooden handles on a wooden counter top

Feeding the mason jar obsession.

empty vintage mason jars on a counter with one full of split peas

Find any good gems yourself lately?
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