Quick & Inexpensive Homemade Christmas Gifts for Everyone on Your List

This year we decided we were going to make homemae gifts for Christmas.. This might sound intimidating at first. I can hear the groans.. ” But I don’t have the time!”. I think you do and will find the time.

Here is a short list of things anyone can make in a very small period of time.

1. A gift basket ( one can purchase cheaply at any Dollarstore), one can include things you might already have in your home, such as homemade jams, herbs you grew over the summer, popcorn, muffins, brownies, homemade cookies, teas, or chocolates, even plants!  Ever get a banana bread in a jar?


2. Tins of popcorn: I am sure, we have a seen those tins at the Big Box Stores that sell anywhere from $8.00 to $10.00.

3. If you are a crafter, why not make homemade earrings, broaches or bracelets for the ladies on your list.  If you crochet, make some doilies or make quilts, why not make a pillow sham or tablecloth for a gift using material leftover from another project.  Even better why not make a picture frame or tissue holder box cover.  How about a homemade Christmas ornament?  If anyone makes candles, there is another option, scented candles in a variety of scents.  Gloves, socks or slippers that are knitted or crocheted will certainly be appreciated on those cold winter nights.


4. The ladies on your list would love some bath bombs or as they are often called bath snowballs.  There are a variety of sites that contain directions on how to make these.  Homemade bubble bath or bath oil made from any leftover herbs would be a great gift.

5.  These ones are for the men.  Homemade BBQ sauces are easy to make and take me on average about 5 minutess to prepare.   Those of you with wine and beer kits why not put those to good use and give those as presents.  You can personalize the labels for each person on your list.

6.  What about the animals?   I found several recipes for organic cat and dog treats that only require time to mix and bake. Dog and cat toys are quite easy to make.  Use organic catnip for the cat toys and honeysuckle for the dog toys.  Cakes appear to be the latest trend for our pets.  The internet has a great deal of information on these, just ensure the ingredients are safe for your animals. Getting back to the knitter and crafters, a dog sweater or collar for your dog buds is a good idea.  Dog beds or cat beds can be given as gifts as well if one has the materials to do so.

7. Yes, we cannot forget the kids: popcorn, cookies and chocolates will certainly be appreciated but in moderation.

8. The picky one on your gift list.  We all have one of those, don’t we?  Make them a homemade Christmas card or make them a caramel dip for apples.  Maybe the wine might be best with this one.  If all else fails chocolate gets them almost every time.

Some other ideas include:  Homemade journals or photo albums can be quick projects for gift making

Have fun 🙂

All Photos : http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/search.php?search=candles&cat



The Random Acts of Kindness Challenge Update Nov 29th

It has almost been a month since I posted this blog.  Officially, this week marks Random Acts of Kindness week.  As we move closer to the Christmas season many of us are seeing  requests from various charities for their financial support.  Why not take the time to buy some non-perishable food items and drop them off at a local Safeway or buy a child a toy or teddy bear and donate it to a store collecting gifts for children.

If you have any winter coats, blankets, gloves or scarves you no longer use wash them and donate them to a local charity collecting winter clothing items.

I challenge you, the reader to commit a random act of kindness once a week for one person or family until Christmas.  One can get really creative with this but you cannot divulge who you are or take credit for ir.

Some ideas I came up with are:

Shovel someone’s walk before they get home from work.

If you go through a drive thru coffeeshop or fast food place, give the person at the window a $5,00 bill and tell them to use it for the next person.

Leave an envelope of money in a grocery cart.

If you know someone that is really struggling financially leave them a grocery store card in their mailbox or a box of canned food items, some used clothing, whatever you think they need.

Buy some cookies for some aged people in your neighbourhood and leave them on the step, ring the doorbell and run fast as to not get caught.

Drop off a bunch of older VHS movies to a senior center or nursing home.

This can be a fun way to help someone else and boost your level of happiness knowing that you made someone else fell good too.

Buy a few teddy bears, some fancy pencils, some children’s books and donate them to a school in your community where the kids are from low income homes.

Buy a christmas ornament, wrap it and leave it in the library with a card that says for you.

Got any old coats or blankets, take them to a local shelter drop off box and let someone who needs it, use it.

Give someone a plant in the spring.

Get some flowers delivered to a widower, include an uplfting quote on the card.

Anonymously donate money to the library for two yearly library cards for people who are low- income.

Please comment with your experiences and ideas.  I would love to read what you did.  Enjoy yourself and you will because you will be making someone else feel good to.

A Family That Writes Together Bonds Forever

In the spirit of Thanksgiving and the upcoming Christmas season I want to wish all of my readers a safe and blessed holiday season.


In the constant hustle and bustle of life it is easy for one to lose the closeness with our loved ones and families. Why not start a new tradition this year by writing as a family about your family holidays and extend that to a daily journaling session.  Each member of the family can take a turn writing about their daily events and activities.  One can include photos and artwork in this journalling too.


Things have changed and families do not always eat meals together and talk and if we do someone is attache to some gadget.  Kids are texting friends at the dinner table, parents taking calls, maybe brothers playing video games, the list goes on.


Memories are made by us being present, physically and emotionally involved in the moment.  What is the worst thing that could happen, that you all get to know each other a little better?  That you kids will have gained a valuable tool by writing their experiences rather then texting?


One can use sentence prompts to start the writing process and once the family has enough material, say a year of daily adventures, one can put it in a time capsules in the backyard for future reference.  Decide on a rewar the family can enjoy together such as a trip, concert or movie night.

As a special needs teaching assistant and a behavioural therapist, I spent many years helping children with learning disabilities emloying similar ideas/strategies in which the family would also work with their child to improve reading and writing skills.  Even a few minutes a day could help a child attain a world of knowledge and gain confidence within themselves.

Even in my home since I began writing daily (blogging almost daily as well) my partner and I have become closer via my writing..  He has a fantastic imagination and is a good sounding board with ideas I have.

I cost one nothing to try write, many of use have a hidden talent we might not yet have explored.  It is always fun when we write something together and we always laugh at some point.

Most importantly we gain time together as a family, we learn about each other, we keep a bond strong.


Motivation To Get Back To It After Thanksgiving

Austin Stroller Fitness

Did you slip on your diet, health, wellness, self control this Thanksgiving day?  The great thing is that tomorrow is another day.  Don’t be too hard on yourself.  We all deserve a treat and to relax and indulge.

Tomorrow it all starts again!  A fresh slate where you can work off today’s indulgences.  Work extra hard tomorrow, eat well and get some rest.  Love yourself and be well!

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Fast Acting Natural Cold and Flu remedies

The common cold is caused by any one of 200 different viruses. When infection occurs , the walls of the respiratory tract swell and produce excess mucus, giving rise to the typical cold symptoms.

Symptoms range from sore throat, running nose, nasal congestion, watery eyes to hacking cough, headache, and fever. Most colds run their course  in about 7-10 days. Recurrent colds (almost constantly suffering) may indicate  a lowered immune system,  too much stress and not enough sleep.

No treatment of colds would be complete without Garlic and Ginger.


Garlic has a distinctive  taste and smell and it was very highly thought of by the ancient Egyptians, who ensured that the slaves building the Great Pyramids at Cheops were given a daily supply.

The  Romans also acknowledged garlic’s strengthening powers and fed it to their soldiers before battle. Garlic has anti-bacterial properties that  help the immune system to fight infection, it is also an excellent boost to the immune system.

The reason for this is garlic contains several helpful compounds, including allicin, one of the plant kingdom’s most potent antibiotics. Garlic combines well with echinacea and together make a strong fighting force against infections.

Onion is a close relative of Garlic and has similar properties, containing  similar antiviral chemicals. Use onions and leeks in your cooking when you have a cold or are around people who do.


Ginger  is another of natures’ antiviral herbs. It contains nearly a dozen antiviralcompounds.  Ginger is a  pain reliever, antiseptic and antioxidant.   It is valuable for preventing  and treating colds, sore throats and inflammation of mucus membranes.

Ginger reduces pain and fever and has a mild sedative effect that will  encourage rest. And it is tasty! (with no lingering odours!) Drink a  tea, or soak fresh ginger in hot water, take as a tincture and include it in your food.

Getting adequate sleep and taking vitamin C supplements can prevent colds and flu bugs.  If one prefers to get their vitamin C from more natural sources stick to fruits such as oranges and lemons.  Vitamin  C is very good for the relief of cold symptoms and to help the body fight infection. The best source of vitamins is always fresh fuit and vegetables. Citrus fruit is especially high in vitamin C.  Combine orange, pineapple, seedless grapes, lots of fresh ginger,  banana, pink grapefruit, cantaloupe in a blender. Add orange juice if  more liquid is needed. This not only makes a delicious drink, but it helps to fights that cold.

Modern Herbology Part 3 of 4


The First Nations Peoples

The First Nations Peoples consists of many different nations of people that tend to have a variety of traditions.  This makes it impossible to discuss one unified medical approach.   Generally a shaman ( medicine woman or man) uses rituals to scare away spirits that are causing afflictions for the patient.  Their medicine is based on a system of energetics – the energy flow and the imbalances in the energy flow are examined.  They used plants to help close wounds, ease sickness and even provide protection against harmful spirits.

Canada’s own northern boreal forest, which stretches from BC to Newfoundland, is one of the last and largest intact forests left in the world. It boasts thousands of plant species, many of which contain medicinal properties used by indigenous peoples for centuries. For example, more than 400 species of native plants have been used as traditional herbal medicines by First Nations peoples in Ontario alone.

More than 600 First Nations communities live across the Canadian boreal region where they have developed complex physical, social, and spiritual relationships that reflect their knowledge of and respect for the land that feeds, houses, and helps heal them.

Here are some common weeds and their medicinal uses. Remember, many native plants may be toxic, so speak with an expert and know what you’re doing before you ingest anything.

Weed Location Medicinal use
wild bergamot BC to Quebec • leaves used to treat coughs, colds, fevers, pneumonia, insomnia, sore eyes, and kidney and respiratory problems
lamb’s quarters throughout Canada • young plants, high in vitamin C, used to treat scurvy • also used to treat stomach aches, rheumatism, and  headaches
stinging nettle throughout Canada • used to aid blood coagulation and formation of hemoglobin • also used to treat gout, anemia, poor circulation, and kidney stones
yarrow throughout Canada • used to stop bleeding • also used as a sedative, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and topical for toothache
shepherd’s purse throughout Canada • used to treat headaches, stomach cramps, and internal bleeding • also used as an insecticide

— Source: Edible & Medicinal Plants of Canada (Lone Pine Publishing, 2009)




A scientific approach emerged in 2980 B.C.  during the reign of Pharaoh Zosar of the Third Dynasty.   The ancient African healers had an elaborate supply of herbs, animal parts, minerals and clays.

The flora in Africa is very diverse which composes a large materia medica.  Over 2,000 distinct tribes reside in Africa but maintain a fairly standard form of medical practice despite their cultural variety.

African Healing Systems revolve around secrecy, knowledge is an index of Power and Influence.

The energy and the spirit of the plant is the healing formula.   A medicine person is not measured by the number of herbs they know but rather on their ability to understand the natural laws and their ability to use them.


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Hello my fellow bloggers!!!!!!!

So what is new you ask?  Well, I went on two camping trips this summer, which was a blast!  No cats !!!!  I got to spend time with Mom & Dad at the Elk Island Park, the lake, etc.  It was great to run around and I loooooooooooooooovvvvvvvvvveeeeeeee  trees and flowers more than I thought…  The long walks and running all over the place was so much fun!

I enjoyed the campfire the most…  the smell of the fire was nice but the best part was the marshmallow roasting on the open fire..   Those marshmallows are delicious but messy indeed!  My nose was so sticky!  yikes!

We skipped Halloween this year because my parents had to get ready for their trip the next day but that is ok..  I didn’t mind spending time with my family and just hanging out.

Grams recently stayed with me last…

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