Rose & Clara Are 5 Months Old!


We already knew I was a crazy cat lady, so I decided to REALLY solidify that by taking some 5 month old kitten photos. And since I’d gone that far, I decided to add their current likes and dislikes to the photos like parents of human children often do.



Because why not.



They’re so cute. My goodness.

I’d like to say I’ll be posting updated photos and likes/dislikes each month until they are a year old, but I’m not going to make any promises. I’m a bit of a scatterbrain when it comes to things like this 😉 but that’s my hope anyway!

I know it’s hard to tell without seeing them in person, but Rose looks so much like a “teen” kitten, while Clara still is a little baby. It’ll be interesting to see if she catches up in size or stays small! 🙂

Superpower Your Breakfast Smoothie with LeanFit

Welcome back to reality folks. At least that rings true for me, and based on all of the Facebook posts I’ve seen in the past few days about people heading back to work after vacations, my school teacher friends getting their classrooms set up, parents getting ready to get their kids back to school, and I think many of you are feeling the same “it’s time to get back on a regular schedule,” feeling.

I’m always a bit nostalgic about September, even after being out of school for so many years. It always feels just as much of a new beginning as January first does, and that makes it a great time to refocus or get back on track after a few months of summer fun. Normally the summers don’t throw me off much, it’s pretty much the same ole, same ole, all year around but this summer in particular has really thrown me off my game. After losing both my kitties, and later on adopting two kittens, plus travelling and visiting and whatnot, I’ve been off. Completely. But summer is over for me, and starting today I’m working back up to my full class schedule (I’ll be back teaching 10 classes/week next week, this week it’s only 7), so I need to get back on track!


new (academic) year = new day planner and goals journal

There are a few different ways I’m getting back on track, but today I’m talking particularly about my eating and breakfast in particular. It’s really important to me to eat a really nutritious breakfast because that way, regardless of what else the day holds I know I at least did one thing that will support my body. For me that means having a protein smoothie.

I don’t always use the same kind of protein powder, different times of day and different nutrient needs can call for different products, but I’m all about the all-in-one products at breakfast (and before bed if I’m having one then).

Lately I’ve been trying a new (to me) product: Leanfit All-In-One Complete Nutritional Protein Shake. I am really a big fan of all-in-one products that combine protein with a lot of other nutrition because it really makes eating healthfully easy even when you are rushed or don’t have access to your normal foods/meals (like when you are travelling).


So what does all-in-one really mean? Well, instead of only being a protein powder, all-in-one products like this one include a lot of the nutrition your body needs each day in an easy to use product. Think of it sort of like a drinkable vitamin – but better! One scoop of Leanfit All-in-One contains:

For my gluten-free friends, you’ll be happy to know that the All-in-One is gluten free, it is also GMO free and hormone free, and as a Canadian it always makes me happy to point out that they are a Canadian company!

Because I normally have a smoothie for breakfast, and another one in the evening, I normally use a half of a scoop of protein powder. Partly because I don’t want to depend too highly on getting my protein in powder form, but also because I’m a bit precious and don’t care for the taste/texture of drinks or smoothies with a full scoop 😉 It’s a texture or taste or combination thing for me. But I know lots of my friends can mix a full scoop with plain water and be happy. I’m just not that person.

But when mixed into a smoothie – I’m a happy girl!

LeanFit All-in-One

Smoothies for breakfast are particularly great because you can make them the night before and grab it out of the fridge on your way out the door. They are super portable so you can have breakfast while on the go in the car, subway or bus – or even at your desk when you arrive at work. And because of the fibre and protein, you will feel fuller longer and will have a more stable blood sugar so you will be less likely to be searching for that 10am sugary snack to get your through to lunch.

What really stands out about this Leanfit All-In-One product for me is the flavour. It is a NATURAL vanilla, not french vanilla. It’s always been a bit of a sore point with me that every other protein product I’ve ever used had had french vanilla, and not natural vanilla flavouring. I love the taste of natural vanilla, and don’t dislike french vanilla, but given the choice I will always choose natural. There is just something about french vanilla that doesn’t do it for me. I was so excited when the package arrived and I saw that this was a natural vanilla flavour! I know what you’re wondering – can you taste the difference? I certainly can. Maybe not everyone would but it’s like the difference between vanilla ice cream and french vanilla ice cream. If you didn’t even know there were different kinds of vanilla, then you probably won’t care, but if you – like me – prefer natural vanilla you are going to love Leanfit! Anyway, I’m particularly enjoying the Leanfit in my plain smoothies with greek yogurt and milk (that’s how I roll), whereas with the french vanilla varieties I always add a little fruit in there to cover up the taste a bit more. Natural vanilla just feels like an even more blank slate so you can take your smoothie anywhere you like as far as the flavour profile, or keep it simple with the plain vanilla.

Where to Buy:

Leanfit Products are available on Amazon*, at Costco both online and some in store (I just saw the Vanilla Whey Protein at the Dartmouth Costco last week!) and select grocery stores. Visit to find a local retailer near you.

Edited to add: It’s now available in select test Costco locations and on in a new Costco-exclusive size!

To shop on Amazon visit this link*.

In addition to the Leanfit All-in-One they also have Whey Protein, Whey Isolate and a completegreen Protein. That means there is a LeanFit product for a wide variety of lifestyles and nutritional needs.

The folks at Leanfit were kind enough to send me a bunch of samples of their all-in-one protein, so if you attend my fitness classes, leave me a comment below and I’ll randomly select a handful of people to receive a sample or two!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Leanfit All-in-One, however I truly like this product and am dedicated to sharing only products I think my readers would like and/or benefit from. All opinions expressed are entirely my own. This post also includes affiliate links (identified by an *), if you make a purchase through one of these links you will be supporting this site – thank you.

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#CanadianEggs – Do You Know Where Your Eggs Come From?


They’ve been a staple breakfast food for centuries, and have been a topic of much debate in more recent years.

Should we all be eating free run or free range eggs?

Are brown eggs healthier than white?

How are the chickens on poultry farms treated?

Are eggs you get in the store full of hormones and steroids?

I could go on and on.

Last week I had the opportunity to visit Burnbrae Farms and tour the processing plant, visit three barns all showcase different living systems for the chickens and become an egg-spert on eggs!
Farm Sign w Old Coop from 40's

Burnbrae Farms is located in Lyn, Ontario and is a family owned and operated company that has been producing eggs for over 70 years. Burnbrae Farms is one of Canada’s leading egg producers and has grading stations across the country serving all major retail chains across Canada except here in Atlantic Canada.

We started our day by touring the egg processing plant, which was amazing. I put together a quick little video to give you a better idea of what eggs go through as they are processed. This video doesn’t capture every step, but it’s a nice little behind the scenes look at what goes on:

The plant tour was really interesting, and I was taken a back again and again by how many eggs were there! In each room I would think to myself, “I’ve never seen this many eggs in one place before!” and then we’d move to the next room and I’d think that all over again. It was crazy!

egg pile

It was also really impressive how automated the entire system has become over the years.

Moba Weigher-Sorter

Moba Packer

After our tour of the processing plant, we headed to the barns where we were able to view conventional, enriched, and free run housing.

This is where things got really interesting.

Conventional Housing

Conventional House Hens

When it comes to conventional housing, we’ve come to expect chickens being crammed into a tiny cage where they have no room to do anything, and I will admit, seeing into a conventional housing barn with somewhere in the neighbourhood of 55,000 chickens – it’s a bit over whelming. This is the type of housing that is being phased out over the next 20 or so years.

But when you learn why they went to this type of housing it makes a lot of practical sense. They brought them inside to protect them from avian illnesses, they put them in smaller groups (generally groups of 5 or so chickens) to keep the flocks small to avoid hen picking (yes, it’s a real thing) and battles for power. These chickens have access to food and water 24/7, their manure falls under the cage onto a belt (not the cages below) that keeps them clean, and their eggs fall onto another conveyer belt for collection. The cages are arranged in “floors” so to speak (which I think is what makes it appear overwhelming to an outsider), but those hens are well cared for.


Someone checks on every single chicken, every single day. If they come across a hen who is sick or injured they tend to them. Studies have shown the biggest downfall to this type of housing is that the hens don’t have anywhere private to do their laying.

This housing system provides one of the smallest carbon footprints of any type of animal agriculture.

Enriched Housing 

To address the issue of privacy, enriched, or furnished housing was born.

Enriched Hens Brown

In enriched housing systems the chickens are in larger cages with more chickens (around 16-17 chickens/cage here), they have a private area where they can do their laying (if you look in the photo above, it’s on the top left side, those red strips that look like a cash wash close off a section of the cage), and perches. In these cages they still have food and water 24/7, their manure falls beneath them onto a belt keeping the cages clean, and you can see the eggs fall onto a separate belt.


In these systems there are a few more issues with hens fighting over pecking order due to the larger number of chickens/cage, but they are still in relatively small social groups, they have more room to express natural behaviours like nesting and perching. This type of system takes a bit more time to care for compared to the conventional, but overall it is still a clean, safe system for the farmers.

Free-Run Housing

Before heading into the free-run barn I had an image in my mind of what I was expecting. With all the open space I expected hens to be all spread out enjoying the extra room and having a grand time.


In reality, the chickens do have more room, but they still stick together in little flocks and aside from the chickens on the floor and a few that were moving about, most of them seemed to be pretty happy hanging out in one spot – which isn’t much different than the other systems.

Aviary Hens

Ramps have been installed in the aviary because hens would rather walk up and down than fly!

These chickens also have access to water and food 24/7, perches they can use (the barn we were in even had a little chicken swing installed!), private nesting areas, but also offers the ability for the chickens to take dust baths

Aviary Dust Bathing

and allows them lots of room in which to move around. One of the interesting things I learned is that chickens really aren’t all that interested in moving around all that much. When they are placed in the system, they will stick pretty close to their “home” unless something scares them. So while these ladies have more freedom than others, I’m not entirely sure they are all that interested in using it, they still appeared to really stick to their flock.


Of the three housing systems, I saw more evidence of feather picked chickens in the free-run barns, where the struggle for power in the pecking order is more prevalent. The birds were all still in good condition, but it was easier to see who the lower order birds were.

It’s also easy to see how this is the dustiest system as they are unable to keep the manure completely separate from the birds, and with the chickens all out in the open, is is more difficult for the farmers to care for them, as chickens will flock together and even climb on top of one another out of curiosity when the workers are in the barn.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that this type of system has the largest carbon footprint of the three.

Free Range Housing

There were no Free Range housing systems at the location I visited so I didn’t get to tour this style of housing. Here the barns are open concept allows the hens the ability to go outside weather permitting.

Chicken & Egg Facts

No matter where you shop in Canada, the eggs you are buying are local and fresh and make their way to the store in less than 5 days!

Brown eggs and white eggs are exactly the same nutritionally. The only difference is the breed of the chicken who laid it.

In nature, chickens are found in flocks of around five.

Chickens are tropical birds and therefore prefer a warm, tropical climate.

The colour of the yolk is directly related to the hen’s diet. Wheat-based diets, which are more common in the western provinces, make pale yellow yolks. While corn-based diets make for a darker coloured yolk.

Eggs contain 6 grams of protein and 14 essential vitamins and nutrients.

Eggs are always free of added steroids and hormones.

Canadian eggs are produced according to some of the highest on-farm standards in the world.

Most of the nutrition is found in the yolk – don’t skip the yolk!

Liquid eggs are REAL eggs! They’ve simply been shelled to give you the added convenience of not having to deal with messy egg shells. {I’ll admit I was guilty of being skeptical as to how “real” liquid eggs are!}

More resources you can check out:

What are my thoughts after visiting the farm…

I often get eggs from my friend who does have a flock of her own chickens, and have for a while felt myself drawn to the free run, or free-range eggs when in the store when I am purchasing. But after being to Burnbrae farms, honestly I don’t think I’m going to worry about that anymore. I’m not convinced that the free-run or free range eggs in the store are that much better, or that the hens themselves are treated or live that much better of a life. I can see why they are moving away from conventional housing, and I think we’ll see many egg producers moving to the furnished systems as they look to upgrade to meet the new requirements. And I’m okay with that. 
egg flat

One thing I will look for is eggs with added omega-3’s (from chickens who have been fed a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids). Prior to this visit I figured the difference between regular and omega eggs was too little to make any real difference, but you really can make a sizeable difference in your omega-3 intake by incorporating these into your diet. And for those keeners who know that flax is rich in ALA which our bodies have to convert to EPA and DHA (and that conversion rate is only 5-10%), when flax is fed to chickens, they convert it to EPA and DHA at a higher rate than we do, making it a better return on Omega-3’s than if we were to consume the flax ourselves.

For all things eggs (recipes, tips, tricks, and information) please follow @Eggsoeufs on Twitter and Instagram and like Get Cracking on Facebook.

Thank you to the Egg Farmers of Canada and Burnbrae Farms for inviting me to learn more about the entire egg process, it was a really interesting and informative day!

Disclosure: The Egg Farmers of Canada invited me to Burnbrae farms and covered my transportation expenses. I was not required to write this, or any other post about my trip, but genuinely wanted to share what I learned with you all. All opinions are as always, entirely my own.

Introducing… Rose and Clara

This post is two weeks late, but today was the first time I had time to sit down and get it written out.

Summer 2016 has been tough. I’ve written and talked about it many times here, on social media, and real life, but the night Ollie died our lives crashed. That little kitty was my side kick, my best friend, and losing her so suddenly broke me in a way I never knew losing an animal could. Everyone was devastated, Pekoe included. He moved next door to my parent’s house for a few weeks because he was so stressed being here without her, and while he eventually came back home, my parent’s house remained his security blanket so we let him go stay there anytime he wanted. And then four weeks ago yesterday, we had to say goodbye to him as well. 

For the first time in 30 years, I didn’t have a pet. I didn’t have a furry friend and our house seemed so empty. I spent as much time as I could away form home doing things to keep my mind off how sad I was, but since the day Ollie died I had cried at least once every day.

We discussed it, and though we were both still very upset about losing our kitties, we knew we needed to get new ones. The empty house, the sadness, it was all too much. No kitty will ever replace Pekoe or Ollie, but we knew there were lots of kitties out there who needed a loving home, and we could give them that. So we started looking. And basically I became obsessed with finding the right kittens.

Then out of the blue two weeks ago yesterday the perfect pair showed up on our local SPCA site.

I’ll spare you the drama of how worried I was that someone would get them before we could go lay claim, how my husband had to go fill out an application on his way to work to put them on “hold” without even having had the chance to meet them, and how I cried about 8 times in the span of 20 minutes when I went down and met them.

You may have seen their photos in my post from earlier this week (or if you follow me on the socials, you have certainly seen them), but if you haven’t let me present to you Rose and Clara


Rose is the grey and white kitty, and Clara is the blank and white kitty.

They are sisters and were 4 months old when we got them. Both have double paws. One of their parents must have been a Russian Blue and the other a black and white tuxedo kitty as all of the kittens in the litter were either grey/grey & white/ black & white. Of course after Ollie I really wanted another Russian Blue as they are so lovey and I’m so happy we were able to get a pair of sisters with Russian Blue blood. 🙂


Rose is definitely the love bug of the two. She has no concept of personal space and likes to sleep right up in your face, which is adorable and lovely – until she give you a love bite on the chin or nose.


Clara is quite a bit smaller, and is our adventurer. She doesn’t like closed doors and has to inspect every nook she can find. Clara also is like Pekoe in that when you scold her for doing something bad she gets upset and goes and hides (so then you have to find her and tell her it’s ok), whereas Rose is not bothered in the least at being told to stop doing something.

There are so many echoes of Pekoe and Ollie in these two it makes me feel like they talked to the girls or have a little of the spirit of both kitties in them.

At first I had a really hard time, I was happy to have them but was worried that Pekoe and Ollie would think we were replacing them and forgetting about them, but I know in my heart they would be happy that we have two new kitties to love us, and for us to love.

Many of you either already know, or may have guessed that the names Rose and Clara weren’t chosen out of thin air. It’s well enough known that we are a bit on the nerdy side 😉 that we wouldn’t choose such normal names without there being something behind it. I had come up with the names Luna and Lily (Luna Lovegood and Lily Potter) but when we discussed it via text and J said he had thought of the names Rose and Clara I thought they were perfect.


Their full names are Rose Taylor and Clara Oswald, and of course Doctor Who fans have already figured this out. When Doctor Who rebooted, Rose was his first companion, and Clara has been his companion for the last number of years leaving last season.

Rose has always been my favourite of his companions, likely because I liked Billie Piper back when she was a British popstar. 😉 Anyway, Rose is a bit goofy, caring, and extremely loyal which seems fitting of the silly kitten we named after her who has all those same attributes.

Clara on the other hand, is much more posh and put together, she’s smart, quick and adventurous – much like our formally dressed little kitten Clara.

SO you’ll have to excuse me if I post more kitty pictures than usual on Instagram/Facebook for a while, but when you have two little furry kitties as cute as this, it’s hard to resist the temptation!IMG_0486


TGIF friends, I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!! <3

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3 Ways You Can Stay Active While Giving Back To Your Community

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Sometimes it can seem over whelming when we stop and think of all of the things we want to be, or feel like we should be doing, in life. And sometimes it’s a lack of knowing what to do or where to start that keeps us frozen on the spot and ending up doing nothing.

Two areas where I find that people can really get stuck or frozen not knowing what to do are in giving back, and getting (or staying) active. That’s why I thought it would be fun to talk about a few ways we can combine the two and add a bit more movement to our lives, while also giving back at the same time!

Now before I get any further into this post, there are some very important ways you can give back and stay active that I’m not going to be talking about in my list. Things like being a volunteer firefighter, volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, local charities, etc. The reason I’m not putting those on my list is because those groups and programs are a bit more traditional forms of giving back, and while needed, require a certain amount of commitment. For many people starting out, the commitment required can be a bit of a deterrent. Instead I’m going to share a few ideas of ways you can add a bit more activity to your day or week without much (or in some cases any) commitment.

Let’s get started!

1) Visit Your Local Animal Shelter
Our new kitties Rose and Clara came from our local SPCA. Over the years, we’ve donated money, food and supplies to the shelter but it wasn’t until I went in to meet the girls that I realized how easy it is to go in and hang out with the cats waiting for their forever homes.

the girls

For some reason, I always thought the animals were hidden out back somewhere but in reality all I had to do was turn around and I would have seen them! It’s important that people take the time to spend with these lovely animals to give them love and attention. That way, when they go to their new homes they will be ready to give and receive love. I know the workers and volunteers spend as much time as they can with them but with so many little creatures to take care of, I’m sure it’s hard for them to give everyone the attention they want. Cuddling cats might not seem like a very active thing to do, but if you stay and play with some kittens while you are there, you’ll certainly get some movement in. Those little devils get into EVERYTHING!

I know our local shelter is also always looking for dog walkers and once you are signed up, I think you can drop in anytime during open hours to sign out a doggy friend for a walk. Not only are you both getting outside for some exercise, but you are also helping that dog or puppy get or stay used to people and walking on a leash.

The best part about this one (aside from the kitty/puppy/bunny snuggles) is that you don’t have to be an “official” volunteer. For the cats, you can drop in whenever they are open and for the dog walkers, I believe you have to fill out a form once. From then on, it’s just a matter of dropping in when you want to go for a walk.

In fact, I’ve read about some shelters who advertised that you could “rent” a dog to walk for a few dollars for people playing Pokemon Go who wanted to look a little less conspicuous. The money they charged went back to the shelter, the dog’s got walked and the Pokemon Go people got to collect Pokemon. Apparently some shelters ended up with a waiting list by advertising that way!

2) Grow Fresh Vegetables For The Food Bank


If you plant a veggie garden each summer already, why not add an extra row or two and plant some extra vegetables to grow for the food bank? They are always thrilled with donations of fresh fruits and vegetables and when you already have the land and seeds/plants, the added cost of another row or two is pretty minor.


Tending a garden certainly helps to keep you more active and growing your own food helps you save money and eat healthier. Then, you get the added benefit of feeling good about doing something so wonderful to help the lives of others. You can be sure the users of the food bank will love you when they get some of your wonderful produce!

3) Volunteer At A Local Family Centre or Kids Group

In most communities, there are lots of groups who are always looking for people with skills to offer to come in and teach a group of kids or adults something new. Many of these groups operate through funding and are able to offer their programs free of charge, making them a great place to volunteer your time for an hour, an afternoon, or a day.


As a fitness instructor, I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer my time for many different groups, including our local Family Resource Centre and it has always been fun and rewarding to bring something new to the lives of people who may never have experienced Zumba or Yoga before.


I realize that as a fitness instructor, it’s easy for me to offer my skills/services but even if you feel like you don’t know what you could possibly teach others, I promise you there is something. Something that you are fabulous at doing that others would love to learn. Maybe you could teach others how to dance the Fox Trot, teach them how to knit a scarf or crochet dish cloths.  Maybe cooking is more your specialty, or crafts. And while it might sound like teaching a small group of people how to knit wouldn’t keep you very active, one thing I know is this – no matter what you are teaching, the teacher stays pretty darn active moving from one person to the next helping, answering questions and whatnot.

I hope this has given you some ideas on how you can add more movement into your life while giving back at the same time. I know life is busy and it is hard to do all the things we feel we “should” do, but these two are things that can really change your life for the better.


What are some other ways you can think of to stay active while giving back? I’d love to hear your ideas – please leave me a comment and let me know what you would add to the list!

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