…a chance to refresh~…

Here is the first installment of my mini-magazine called Refresh~ created in 2006. Please note the credits on the final page!

Refresh, Volume 1, Issue 1

Please note that the contact information for New Beginnings, and the website for the same are no longer active. 


…fitting it in at home, work and play…

I thought it would be appropriate to write about fitness considering it is what has been keeping me from writing this past week or more!

While I have entered an intensive program in order to beat this plateau I have been on for a year and a half, fitness does NOT have to take over your life, rob you of your very precious “me” time, require a gym membership OR be difficult! A healthy, active lifestyle includes eating what your body needs for fuel and moving!

“Exercise is cumulative…Ten-minute sessions throughout the day really add up. The key to developing a strong, fit body is to be consistent. It’s not an all-or-nothing approach. Get your body moving whenever you can – at the park, at the game, or at home, waiting for the pasta to boil.”CBS

Today I’d love to share some tips on how to get moving in easy ways all through your day: ready? Let’s go! (Note: Many of the tips below are borrowed from “Squeezing in Exercise” found at sparkpeople.com. If you have never explore Sparkpeople.com, check it out! It’s an incredible wealth of knowledge in all things health/wellness!)

…at home…

  • While doing laundry, do squats (keeping your knees from going past your toes) to pick up each article of clothing from the basket on the floor.
  • Clean or get ready to music and dance! Who said housework has to be a bore! Grab a basket or bag and go around the house grabbing things that have been misplaced, all the while dancing/moving. Drying your hair? Why not let your legs get some movement in while your arms are busy?
  • Exercise while washing dishes or brushing your teeth! Doing calf-raises while washing dishes can be a great way to sneak in exercise. Try varying the tempo and length to keep it interesting! Another great option is squats or lunges: just be careful not to fall with the toothbrush in your mouth.
  • Check out this great link: 10 Ways You CAN Exercise At Home Without Any Equipment.
  • Housecleaning counts! Did you know that a 150lb person can burn 63 calories in just 15 minutes of housecleaning!? Curious about how many calories various activities burn? Check out this calculator!

…at work…

  • Throw on the shoes and go for a walk, run or jog on your break. This doesn’t have to be a sweat-drenched marathon…just getting moving can wake up your brain and perk up your mood! Even better if you walk 20 minutes 2 or 3 times a work day, that’s an extra 10-15lbs lost in a year! Here’s a great resource on the benefits of Lunchtime Workouts.
  • Stop and stretch. Whether you work sitting down or running around, taking moments through the day to stretch can really improve your energy and give you the chance to refocus. Click here for some great stretches geared toward the office.
  • Get up and move at least twice every hour. This can be going to the water cooler/coffee machine or a short walk around the building/block. It’s important for those of us who are seated throughout the day to take frequent breaks
  • Here’s a great resource: Exercise at Work.

…while out and about…

  • You’ve probably heard this one but it’s valid! Park as far away from the store/office as possible. This gives you the chance to burn calories AND you won’t have to drive around looking for a spot.
  • Walk, bike or rollerblade to the store or to run errands.

…at play…

  • While watching TV, don’t TiVo out the commercials! Jump up and do some quick exercises during commercials: like push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks and arm circles. One hour-long show give 8 2-minute commercial breaks on average – that’s 16 minutes of activity in the midst of a couch-potato session!
  • Have kids in sports activities, or enjoy attending them yourself? Walk around sports facilities or take a class before, during or after a sports event/activity.
  • Make playtime active. Set a good example and make physical activity fun. Walk to the library for kids’ hour, bike or walk to the park/pool, play outdoors!


  • Take the stairs. Again, seems obvious…but every little bit helps! Forget something down/upstairs? Go BACK!
  • Try some isometric exercises in the car, at work, waiting in line such as squeezing your glutes (thighs), doing calf raises, and tightening your core.

Here are some great tips from webmd.com on ways to make exercise a habit:

  1. Do a variety of activities you enjoy
  2. Commit to another person
  3. Make exercise a priority
  4. Exercise first thing in the morning
  5. Or, exercise on your way home from work
  6. Exercise even when you’re “too tired”
  7. Log your activity
  8. Be aware of all the indicators of progress
  9. Walk – with a pedometer (or a dog)
  10. Reward yourself

Check out the link for great tips!

A busy mom or new mom? You need exercise, but don’t know how to fit it in? Check out these links:

Exercise for Busy Moms

Exercises for Busy Moms (yup, same title!)

6 Exercises for New Moms

10 Ways to Sneak Exercise Into Your Day

How to Stay Fit When You’re a Stay At Home Parent

Find exercise a bore? Top Ten Ways to Make Exercise Fun

Too busy? Aren’t we all?! Here are some *great* resources that will help you to fit exercise into your busy schedule!

No Time for Exercise?

10-Minute Timesaver Workouts

30 Minute Compound Workout

How to Exercise and Lose Weight on a Busy Schedule

Need motivation?

            Trainer Tricks

31 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Exercise

Now take a moment and stretch, try some isometrics or turn the computer off and get moving! 🙂

…quick recipe…

Quick Recipe: a fantastically simply salad dressing that just about knocked my socks off!

Creamy Salsa Dressing:

low fat or fat free sour cream (1 part)

extra chunky (I prefer chunky mild with black bean and corn by PC) salsa (2 parts)

Yes…it’s THAT simple…but amazingly good! Either as a taco salad, vegetable dip *or* tossed with a fresh broccoli or cabbage slaw mix. YUM!

…making them work…again…

One fantastic way to both save money and be green is to reuse. While you might automatically think of turning old clothing to rags or washing out jars, there are so many other ways to reuse…even food! Here are some quick tips on how to stretch your dollar and do your part to keep waste out of landfills.

~ Wash out and reuse jars and plastic containers (such as yogurt/cottage cheese) and reuse them to:

  • store dry/wet goods (many natural food stores will let you bring these in to fill with bulk items!);
  • make, shake and store homemade vinaigrettes (jars);
  • send leftovers home with guests, share foods and/or bring foods to potlucks without worrying about losing your good containers;
  • store frozen fruits/vegetables (much easier to organize the freezer with than flimsy bags);
  • grow seedlings/starter plants in prior to transplant in gardens or containers;
  • rinse containers for paint brushes (kids’ or home upkeep);
  • temporary storage for household hazardous wastes such as oils, paints, etc.

~ Wash (well) styrofoam meat/produce trays and offer them to local schools/daycares for crafts and games. Egg cartons, shoe boxes and tissue boxes can also be great craft items to donate!

~ When chopping up vegetables (such as apples, peppers, etc.), instead of throwing out/composting the seeds, save them for reuse in your garden! Seeds don’t grow in packets at the store, after all!

~ Don’t throw out veggies/fruit that look like they’re on the way out! Slightly wilted vegetables (such as peppers or celery) and fruit (strawberries, blueberries) can be chopped up and frozen for use in casseroles, omellettes, deserts, yogurts, etc.

~ Save meat bones (such as chicken/turkey racks or beef ribs) for creating rich, homemade broths for soups/cooking. Simply use right away or freeze until ready.

~ Reuse cards: cut up and create Christmas/gift tags.

~ Save and reuse bows and ribbons from gifts.

~ Old tires can be used for planters or tire swings.

~ Reuse plastic shopping bags as garbage bin liners around the home, taking them on a second shopping trip, or simply recycle!

Here are some great links for creative ways to reuse household items!

  • Habitat for Humanity Re-Stores are located all over North America accept and SELL used home improvement items! Look for your local ReStore here.
  • 50 items you can reuse at home…the site links to many other great sites!
  • From corks to post-its, Real Simple Magazine lists 48 New Uses for Old Things.

What are your favorite tips for reusing?

…great canadian coupon links…

As noted in my previous coupon post it can be trickier to get Canadian coupons than what we might like. However, thanks to a local couponing Facebook group, I have a great selection of Canadian coupon sites!




















Another great way to get coupons is to check with your local newspaper and find out when the coupon inserts go in each week/month.

Happy saving!

…eating clean and eating green…

Salads can seem a bit cliche when it comes to healthy eating…this does not mean they need to be boring!

I was originally going to spell out the various elements of a great salad, but the author of gormetrunner did such a brilliant job, I decided not to re-invent the wheel. Instead, I’d like to share some salad tips, highlight some non-traditional salads as well as list some great clean eating salad dressings that you can whip up in a flash.

…tips to great salad eating…

When creating your very own vinaigrette, the common ratio of oil to vinegar/juices is generally about 2 acid to 1 oil or 1.5 acid:1 sweetner:1 oil. Of course this varies wildly, however it can be a good starting point from which to build your dressing further.

  • Oils: grapeseed, corn, peanut, seasame, olive (extra light has a more mild flavour), vegetable.
  • Vinegars: rice, apple cider, white, red wine, white wine, balsamic (fig and raspberry balsamics add great flavour!)
  • Juices: orange, lemon, grapefruit, apple (unsweetened), cranberry (unsweetened)
  • Sweeteners: honey, agave syrup, stevia, white sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar, date sugar, xylitol, splenda
  • Additions: dijon mustard, fresh or dried herbs, pureed fruit (berries, stone fruit, apples, etc.), beans/lentils

Don’t drench your entire salad with dressing. Instead, try:

  • Toss the lettuce/base with dressing (keeping it modest) before adding toppings.
  • Pour your dressing into a small dish and dip your fork prongs before stabbing some salad: this cuts down significantly how much dressing you’ll use.
  • Shake your salad with the dressing instead of pouring over the top.

Keep crunchy toppings to the side until you’re ready to eat your salad – especially one that’s packed ahead as a lunch. Adding croutons, small crackers, chow mien noodles, etc. just before you’re ready to eat will keep things fresh and tastiest.

Think outside the box when it comes to toppings. Everything from roasted root vegetables to caramelized nuts (toss some raw sugar in a skillet with nuts and stir on high heat until the nuts are coated in syrup; lay out on wax paper to dry) can taste great in a salad…be creative!

…non-green salads…
Salads do not have to begin with greens: there are so many fantastic, clean-eating recipes for salads made from shredded vegetables, beans, root vegetables, etc. Here are some great ones to start!
…some recipes…
I like to pare down the recipes to a single serving (or two) for easy one-off dressings: this allows me to have different salads each day without having 12 bottles in the fridge.
  • Blueberry Vinaigrette: 1 1/2c blueberries (frozen or fresh), 1/4c balsamic vinegar (try raspberry for variation), 1 clove garlic, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/2c olive oil
  • Citrus Vinaigrette: 3 Tbsp olive oil, 3 Tbsp orange juice, 3 Tbsp lemon juice, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper (great with berries, peaches or apricots and feta)
  • Sweet Vinaigrette: 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp cider vinegar, 1/2 tsp sesame seeds, 1/2 tsp poppy seeds (great on a spinach salad with strawberries and almonds)
  • Raspberry Vinaigrette: 1/2 c raspberry vinegar, 1/2c olive oil, 2 Tbsp honey, 1 tsp dijon mustard, salt and pepper to taste (fantastic on a Raspberry Clubhouse Salad: greens, onions, feta, bacon, caramelized pecans, raspberries)
  • Sweet Red Wine Vinaigrette: 1/3c red wine vinegar, 1/2c raw sugar, 1 c vegetable oil, 1 tsp ground mustard, 1 tsp salt, 1/4tsp ground white pepper
  • Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette: 1/4c maple syrup, 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp dijon mustard, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper, 1 garlic clove, minced (fantastic on spinach with pear, onion, apple, mushrooms, bacon, boiled egg, artichoke hearts and smoked salmon)
  • Lemon Poppyseed Vinaigrette: 1/2c raw sugar, 1/2c lemon juice, 1 tsp dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp salt, 2/3c oil, 1 Tbsp poppyseeds (great on a winter fruit salad including swiss cheese, cashews, dried cranberries, apple and pear)
  • Sweet Balsamic Vinaigrette: 1/4c balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar, fig balsamic vinegar), 1 garlic clove, 2 Tbsp raw sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/2c olive oil
Bon appetit!
What are your favorite salad toppings?

…recommended links (clean eating)…

Enjoying the fantastic, reasonable clean eating recipes (of all kinds) from http://www.thejoyofcleaneating.com. I’ll be back tonight with my post on salad varieties (including recipes), but feel free to check out the links on the right-hand side of the page in the mean-time!

What are some of your favorites links?