Expect More From Summer Dining (With Less Work!)

One of the many (many) things I love about summer is the ease of outdoor cooking and dining. Sure us Canadians still bbq in the winter months, but there is something so much more satisfying about a meal cooked on the bbq in the heat of summer. The ease of clean up (no pots and pans to wash!), you don’t heat up your house from stove burners and ovens, and those delightful grill marks (I swear they make food taste better!)! But all the same, I can get caught up eating the same bbq meals week in and week out. Burgers, steak, grilled veggies, and if I’m feeling fancy grilled pineapple, but that’s about as wild as I seem to get.

That is until now.

Recently I had the chance to check out some of President’s Choice’s new recipes for Summer 2015 put on a lovely al fresco supper Friday night!


I can’t take any credit for the pineapple and kale smoothies as all I did there was pour the smoothie out of the bottle and into the glasses.
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Kids Dance Fitness: Happy

“Happy” is just one of those songs that you can’t help but like when you hear it. Even after you hear it on the radio 5000 times, the 5001st time you still like it. That’s why, when the kids in my after school program asked me to choreograph it for their last class of the year, I said sure!


As usual, I like to keep my kids routines pretty straight forward, and the kids in my group are mostly in the grade 4-5 age range (with a few older and a few younger).

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Cancer Survivor’s Day: Heather’s Story

Today, June 7th is National Cancer Survivor’s Day, a day where we honour all of the wonderful heroes walking among us who have lived through the scary diagnosis of cancer, and walked through to the other side. As most of you know, I have worked with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada to raise money through their Team in Training program (and look forward to doing so again in the future), and cancer awareness and research is a cause near to my heart having lost three of my grandparents to the disease.

Family shot

Heather Von St. James was diagnosed with Mesothelioma in 2005, just three months after giving birth to her daughter, Lily. She is now a 9 year survivor of mesothelioma, a deadly cancer which usually takes patients within their first year of diagnosis. This form of cancer is only caused only by asbestos exposure, which Heather contracted from exposure to asbestos fibers on her dad’s construction work jacket as a child.

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Dance Fitness: Uptown Funk

uptown funk

I’m aware I am behind the times only bringing this song out now. Sometimes it takes me a while to get going. In fact, it wasn’t until I saw Lindsay Taylor’s video on Instagram that I even considered bringing it into the rotation. And that was back in February so that makes me even further behind the times.  What can ya do?

Because I didn’t actually have the song, I choreographed in my head whenever I happened to catch it on the radio, and last week I decided I was ready to give it a go. As it turns out, I didn’t remember the order of the moves Lindsay used in the clip above, but I think the was I did it works just fine too. My Zumba Gold ladies were more excited about the routine than my regular Zumba peeps (I omitted the turn and the hop in/out for them) so this might turn into a Gold routine. We’ll see.

Anyway, if you are tragically behind the times like me and haven’t yet used Uptown Funk, hopefully this will help you out! OR if you are a doer and not a teacher then I hope you have fun dancing! 😀

Do You Know A Caring Canadian?

Each time we turn on the news we are bombarded with so much tragedy and violence. So today I want to take a few minutes to talk about the good in people and the world, because it can be easy to get caught up in the bad.

There are so many wonderful people in Canada who devote countless hours to volunteering, helping those in need, raising money for charity, and lending a helping hand when they see a need. The Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award, which was created 20 years ago, helps to honour those who volunteer their time to help others and at the same time build a smarter, more caring nation.

From our local volunteer firefighters and Lions Club, to our SPCA and Red Cross – all play a huge part in making our communities safe, and are helping those in need. It doesn’t matter what time of day or night, whether it’s the middle of summer or the dead of winter when someone is in need there is someone ready and willing to help, no matter the trouble.

Because many of these volunteers prefer to stay “behind the scenes” so to speak, their efforts can go unnoticed. That’s why it’s up to us to recognize those around us who are donating their time, experience, and expertise in such a selfless and generous manner. I am certain that as you read this you can think of at least one person you know who fits this description and deserves to be recognized for their work! They volunteer countless hours without giving any thought to recognition, and that’s exactly why they should be recognized!

Both of my grandmothers devoted many years of their lives to volunteering and each had the honour of receiving an award recognizing their volunteerism. My paternal grandmother was made a Serving Sister of the Order of St. John Ambulance, and received high commendation for her outstanding service and dedication for her work. My maternal grandmother was named the Volunteer of the Year for the Town of Berwick in 2010 for her work with multiple local organizations. In both instances I know they felt tremendous pride, and were flattered to have been recognized.



My grandmother receiving a commendation  in Ottawa, 1979, for her volunteer work with St. John Ambulance.

My own volunteer experiences may pale in comparison, but in 2013 I raised over $4000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada through their Team in Training program,


I taught Sunday School for over 10 years, and volunteer each spring to provide Zumba Fitness for the participants of our local Relay for Life event.


So I urge you to think about the people in your life. Is there someone you feel is deserving of the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award? If so – nominate them today at http://caring.gg.ca! I’m certain that they will be honoured to know they were even considered, and to know that their hard work isn’t going unnoticed – Like Luc Racine, the award recipient featured in the video below.

Even those who aren’t in it for recognition appreciate having their hard work noticed.

Disclosure: This post has been generously sponsored by the Rideau Hall Foundation, but opinions and language are my own and in no way reflect those of the sponsor.

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