Bake Sale Adventures (And Food Porn!)

I won’t say “Happy Valentines Day” because let’s face it, Valentines Day is based on consumerist hype and who wants to celebrate the real meaning of St Valentine anyway?!

But it was a wonderful day. Another vegan friend and I braved the snow drifts to support our local Farm Sanctuary in their bake sale. It was a lot of fun!

First, we got stuck:

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Then we went inside, to realize that (woops!) we were a little early, and the vegan bakers were a little late. But it was no problem, because it gave us an opportunity to sneak out to the barn and visit the residents. Unfortunately, I didn’t snap any pictures. It was quite dark in the barn and most of the residents were snuggled up to keep warm, but we were happily greeted by Eric the goat, who is an attention whore if you ask me. He happily offered us his snout to caress and closed his eyes blissfully at the stroke of my hand across his course hairy cheek. We were also greeted quite loudly by a little lamb, who I first met as a tiny wee thing and has now developed a fluffy cloud of wool around her mid section. The ducks and chickens, geese and other flighty folks welcomed us with squawks and honks.

We headed back to the events barn to buy our sweets and were greatly rewarded! For a donation of $20 (CAD) I filled up a container!

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As you can see, it didn’t take long to dive in! While we were waiting for the tow truck to come and give us a pull, we were content to munch. Look at some of the beauties (but please refrain from drooling on your keyboard!).

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Are you jealous? Damn right you are. But that’s not all. Since the wait was over an hour long, I had plenty of free time to scour the pages of this fabulous book, also purchased at the fundraiser..

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I am thrilled to start preparing the recipes in this book! At a glance, the recipes are all made with natural whole foods, easy to prepare, and familiar enough that even my kids could get into them. I am truly excited. In the years that I have been vegan, and the many cookbooks that I have purchased, I would have to say that this one is my favorite. And not just because it’s all brand new and shiny! It can be a real struggle to find cookbooks that don’t rely on processed food or expensive specialty, imported type of ingredients.

And that was only the beginning to an amazing day.

– Peace and love.

 

Dune Buggy And Responsibility

Me: “Hey guys, I have been looking for a job and I want to talk to you. When I do we’ll be pretty busy and I’m going to need you guys to step up a little bit and start helping out more. Picking up your things and helping each other.”

7 Year Old: “When?”

Me: “Well I don’t know, it depends on when somebody wants me to work for them.”

7 Year Old: “Well if it’s in a really long time from now, I can give you a ride to work in my dune buggy. If you want.”

Me: “That sounds like a lot of fun sweetie.”

Clearing Out the Toys

As I go about my journey to live a more minimalist lifestyle, I realize that it is going to have to be a slow one.

For fear of sending my children into shock, I will be purging in slow motion, going through one drawer at a time, or one shelf, and so on.

But despite this, I did an experiment. One day while my children were at school, I went through their rooms and gathered up all of their toys (before Christmas). I put it all into large bins and stashed them in the basement. At the time, this was for the purpose of clearing space for the upcoming holiday gifts.

I decided from there that those toys would stay in the basement, to be sorted through a few months later when the kids hopefully had a new perspective. Only when the holiday came, they got flooded with new things. Within a week, the house was a disaster. Broken toys, clothes all over their floors, half of what they got was lost under their beds and nothing had a place.

Tired of looking at the mess, I did it again. I went through and removed every single toy from their rooms into bins. All they were interested in was the Xbox anyway! I left them with their massive bin of Lego, and their favourite stuffy to sleep with.

And they loved it! Their rooms stayed clean, they were doing more creative activities, their attitudes improved and I was a happier Mom for not stressing out about the clutter and the “why won’t they play with all these toys?!” despair.

Over the next few weeks, they would ask about one toy or another. When they did, I gladly brought that toy back for them. If they miss it, then it must be something that they care about. Then I got sorting. Most of the toys in the bins were things that they hadn’t played with in months. What no longer held meaning, I donated or sold.

Now that they are used to having a clean room, and very little stuff, they see the value in minimalism. They will each receive one drawer for toys in their rooms, and what remains of the toys in the bins will be sorted accordingly. If it doesn’t fit, it must go. There have been fewer fights over whose toy belongs to whom, and who left what mess.

Try it! Don’t be afraid to take all of your kid’s toys away. They’ll be okay and even happier in the long run. Kids don’t need toys to be happy! They need experiences, love, and imagination. Let’s stop robbing them of their childhood with cheap plastic.

My Journey to A Minimalist Household

(But I kept the kids!)

I consider myself a relatively straight forward person; I don’t need much to be happy. So why do I have so much shit?! Minimalism is the next step for me in my life-journey.

So there I am, twenty seven years old with three children and a teeny tiny house full of lots and lots of stuff. We were buried deep in accumulated things from thrift stores or gifts, stuff that my frugal Mom picked up for me here and there, odds and ends and things that did not make sense at all.

It was truly overwhelming and I felt that no matter how hard I tried I could not keep with the picking up. The house always looked dirty and cluttered and quite honestly close to a hoarder’s house. I would move things out, but more things would always come back in. I could not figure out what I was doing wrong.

The idea of living minimally appealed to me more and more as time went by. A plan was forming somewhere in my mind, just out of reach. I started to get the travel bug, even though it is not feasible at this point in my life. Inspired by a friend who went travelling via thumb transportation from Ontario to Banff with nothing but a 30 lb backpack and left the rest behind; it really inspired me to look at what is necessary in our lives and what is not.

And there starts our journey to minimalism as a family.

Now don’t get me wrong, stuff can be good! For instance, I believe it is important to have a well stocked pantry for times of unexpected financial crisis or severe power outages and natural disasters. And when you have kids, stuff is bound to accumulate! Being a single Mom, when friends and family offer clothes and ‘hand me downs’ it doesn’t matter if they’re a size or two too big. They’ll keep well in the closet and it saves me a ton of money. However, I only keep what we’ll need.

Minimalism can be a lot of fun if you sit back and enjoy the process.