Pigs are not food....

Two months ago, my youngest child announced to us that she is now a vegetarian. 

This happened to coincide with her age appropriate realization that pork = pig and beef = cow. 

And my girl loves pigs. Like really loves them. Like, has a girl gang with a couple of friends and they call each other, Space Piggy 1, Space Piggy 2, and SpacePiggy 3. AND she spawns and collects all the pigs in Minecraft, AND she has created a whole story world around a family of little pigs that she refers to as Pigibo Jr. and family. 

Oh, and we also finished reading Charlotte's Web and watching the movie right before all of this went down. 

It's not hard to see that Pigs are special to my girl. 

Yes, she even has a pig hat. 

Yes, she even has a pig hat. 

And because I am that parent who believes my kids are actual people, allowed to have their own opinions and thoughts and desires, I respect her wishes in this regard. We have been making the necessary changes to our meal planning and grocery shopping since her big announcement and so far all is going quite smoothly.

To be completely honest, this hasn't been much of a big deal really. As a family, we've been slowly moving away from eating red meat this past year, and we only eat pork sourced from local, free-range, organic farmers. 

AND the thing making my life even easier is our fabulous grocery delivery service, SPUD.ca. They have a handy, dandy section dedicated to simple meal packs and boxes with plenty of vegan and vegetarian options for our family of four. 

I've been letting Seven help me with the weekly "shopping" and she's been picking out one meal pack a week, based on her preferences. We've had a lovely Chickpea and Quinoa salad (which was a miracle, because up until now she had refused to eat both of these things!), our usual tofu stir-fry, and last week she wanted to have the Vegan Finger Food meal

Gardein makes some wonderful vegan options and we've been sampling a lot of them lately in our weekly SPUD order. The Crispy Tenders are a hit with both the vegetarian and the meatatarians in my house, and the Alexia Sweet Potato Fries have been a fave for a while now.

Also, this simple meal is a great one on those hot days. It's quick, easy, and the fresh crisp veggies quench both thirst and hunger. I swear my kids could eat a whole basket of these sweet local grape tomatoes in one sitting!

We do our family meal planning and Spud shopping on Sundays, and I can't wait to see what she is going to choose for us to try next week.

Check out all the different Meal Packs Spud has to offer (not all are vegetarian) and if you decide to give them a try, remember to use the code: CREDM-CHINAA to get $20 off your first order!

*I am a local Spud Ambassador and this post is brought to you by the lovely folks at Spud.ca.
All opinions are my own and those of my picky little eaters!*




BeachArt Sundays around here are usually our lazy days.

Except when they are not.

Like today, when The Consort and I go into some kind of weird deep cleaning marital pas de deux. He vacuums and does the toilets and takes care of small repairs or hanging of things that have otherwise just been resting up against the wall; while I wash the floors, change bed sheets, do all the laundry and dust all of the tiny things on the kids shelves in their rooms.

The kids kind of stand back and wonder what the heck has gotten into us, or find a channel that is playing back to back kids movies and try their best to stay out of our way. They have yet to catch this same kind of cleaning bug.

In the midst of it all though, I have to stop obsessing about washing all the water drop stains that my dog leaves on the floors every time she drinks from her bowl and sit back and be thankful for all that we have.

So I stopped. And here you go...

Today I am grateful for the following:

1. A husband that washes toilets - all 5 of them in this house! Seriously... in my books this is a major win and quite possibly one of the reasons I agreed to marry the guy. (And yes, I know, we have way too many bathrooms for a family of 4.)

2. Slow cooker meals that I can start at 10 AM, that fill my house with beautiful aromas, and that convince my mother-in-law that I am a genius in the kitchen!

3. My kids being just tall enough to give me what I think are the best, super-tight-around-the-waist, hugs a mother could ever ask for.

4. Persimmons.

5. My husband holding my hand while we watch Walking Dead, because he knows that even though the show terrifies me, I can't look away!


Grace. It is a simple thing, but still a practice. Take care of and notice the small things too.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I really must get out those damn spots!


how many joy units is that?

The Consort has been hounding me for months (or possibly years) to read a book. Not just any book, because I do read a lot of them, but one particular book. This one.


And this weekend I caved. I had just finished a different book and was looking to start another and he, ever so nonchalantly, went to my bedside table, grabbed this book and placed it beside me on the couch.

OK, dude. I get it. I'll read the damn thing.

We all have those books that transform us or speak to us in ways others do not. When my husband was leaving his family home and taking off to the adult world of undergraduate studies at the ripe age of 17, the original "Wealthy Barber" book was given to him by his father. This is HIS book.

I am pretty sure when TC is doing anything financially-related in any way, the voice he hears in his head is David Chilton's. "Is this worth it? Are the joy units going to last long with this purchase? Have you saved FIRST?"

I fully admit that I am the spender in our family and The Consort is the saver. I do the clothes shopping for most of us, all of the grocery shopping and I am the one who buys the gifts for all the birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. Yes, we do have a family budget, that I stick to - about 87% of the time. It's that other 13% that gets TC's knickers in a knot and why he wants me to read what Mr. Chilton has to say about finances.

The funny thing is, that in the past year, I truly believe that my spending habits have changed. Or more specifically, my shopping habits have changed.

I know that part of the change has been a response to the life-altering time we experienced this past summer and from that has come much reflection on the things that truly matter in our lives. And you know what? More stuff is not IT. Another part of why my shopping habits have changed, is that I am much more aware of the influence that marketing has on us as consumers. Years of being a breastfeeding advocate and seeing the ways that infant formula is marketed has rubbed off and has me looking a lot more closely at the way ALL products are marketed. Being a blogger and a mother, I've also seen the way that marketing has taken hold in this age of new media and I am VERY sensitive to this in the blogging world. I am more aware now about the message I am hearing and who that message is coming from as well.


This past weekend, we were supposed to go away for a short little mountain getaway. That didn't happen, mainly because  it snowed and I have crap for tires on my car and we couldn't even get out of our little neighbourhood, let alone make it 300 kilometres to the lodge in the mountains. For the next four days we had to use my husband's compact car (which thankfully has AWD and all-season tires) for all our outings. What we both noticed over the weekend is how surprisingly easy it was to function with less car. And this included multiple errands, grocery shopping, and hauling all four of us around to various activities to make up for our missed trip to the mountains.

I have also recently purged every single closet in this house. My wardrobe alone is roughly HALF of what it was a month ago (if you know me at all, this is HUGE!). I am not quite down to Capsule Wardrobe numbers, but the philosophy behind this concept is guiding me right now in regards to what I keep, what goes and how I look at clothes shopping now. It's definitely a change. Especially for one like me, an admitted shopaholic, who gets greeted at Anthropologie BY NAME!

All of these things - reading David Chilton, surviving a week as a family of four with one compact vehicle, minimalizing our wardrobes - have happened at the same time and have caused a kind of cosmic convergence in my mind about how I want to live my life and about the lessons about money and spending and the value of what we HAVE versus the value of what we DO, that we are modelling for our children.

My family lives a very comfortable life, one that I am so very grateful for each and every day. It's just time for me take stock of all that we have, not get caught up in the game of keeping up with the proverbial Jones's and resist the messaging that we are bombarded with each day that we need MORE! More car, more house, more toys, more clothes, more STUFF.

Because we really do not.

My kid is not going to remember the expensive brand name winter boots he was wearing when he was eight years old or what kind of car I drove him to school in. He is more likely going to remember that his Mom bought new snow pants for herself that year, so that she could play outside and build a snow fort with him.

And trust me Mr. Chilton, the "joy units" from that purchase will never depreciate!