Saturday, 30 November 2013

Library Time 14

This has been a difficult week for me sleep-wise. The baby has not been sleeping well. I say all this to explain my reading for this week. I've been reading what I call "brain candy" - novels and not the greatest quality either. I've just been too tired to do any deep thinking when I read, but I still have this need to read. So let's just let my reading go at that and get on to what my children have been reading.

15-year-old daughter - Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell and Daddy Longlegs by Jean Webster and The Toilers of the Sea by Victor Hugo. Apparently she's not suffering from sleep deprivation. We recently watched the BBC miniseries "Cranford". My daughter did a review of it on her blog "Ramblings of a Janeite". She did a great job (and of course I'm not prejudiced).

13-year-old son - Okay, so apparently he's still on his encyclopedia reading binge. This week has been Volume N-O. I might add this is the World Book set my parents bought for me when I was a baby.

11-year-old son - The Deadly Curse of Toco-Rey by Frank Peretti

9-year-old daughter -Thrilling Escapes by Night by Albert Lee

8-year-old daughter - Garfield cartoon books

5-year-old son - To Jupiter and Back - a children's book about astronomy

2-year-old son - Teddy Bear's Fun to Learn First 1000 Words 

So a good week of books in our house. How about in yours?

Friday, 29 November 2013

Getting Something Done

I struggled a little getting things done this week because my baby has had some sleep issues which, of course, means I had sleep issues. I did manage to do a few things though.

This has been on my to-do list for quite a while - a binder cover for my youngest daughter. I made one for her sister and she wanted one. I was pretty happy with the fabric I used. I had made a dress for my oldest daughter years ago. By the third girl it was getting stained - especially on the bodice - so I used the skirt for the binder cover. The skirt was three layers of gathers so it made an interesting cover. I plan on doing a tutorial soon on how to make these. They are super easy and take less than an hour.

We did some organizing in the two bedrooms our boys use. I gathered up a big bag to give to the thrift store. Why is it though that it seems like for every item you give away two more come in. Frustrating. Anyway, for now things look more clean in their rooms. I'll keep organizing and purging I'm sure.

I've also been doing a lot of scrapbooking still. I'm up to the spring of this year. Yeah. Soon I'll be caught up. Then  I can start taking photos out of old albums and start scrapbooking them. I think I have from 2000-2009 to do so that will keep me busy for a while. ☺

Tonight I went to a Steeped Tea party. My two youngest daughters went with me. We enjoyed trying a variety of really nice teas and some muffins and a veggie dip made with tea as part of the ingredients. I bought some tea and a really nice infuser, and I won the door prize. That was a nice ending to a busy day...a mug, two kinds of tea, two lemon sticks and two chocolate biscotti.

Next week I will be doing a whole week of posts about activities to do with your toddler. I'm pretty excited about this, and there will be a giveaway so watch for it. A sneak preview...

So it wasn't a whirlwind of things accomplished this week, but I still managed to cross a few things off my list. How about you? I know my American family and friends had Thanksgiving so that was surely a busy and hopefully happy time.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Vitamin B12 - Cobalamin

Vitamin B12 is a hardworking vitamin. It is used to treat anemia and fatigue. For those on a very strict vegetarian diet it is easily depleted. 

This vitamin like so many of the other B vitamins is very important to cell production especially red blood cells. It is necessary for energy, healthy nerves, converting beta-carotene into Vitamin A and helping our body produce melatonin.

We need a special enzyme to properly absorb this vitamin. For a deficiency you can take a tablet under your tongue or a doctor can inject it which  bypasses the absorption problem. In order to absorb and use B12 we need a good supply of calcium, B6 and iron.

Considering how important it is I was certainly hoping to find it could be easily added to our diet. According to there are some very delicious foods that are good for adding B12 to your diet. I don't like them all but there are enough that I do like that I'm not worried. Top of the list is shellfish - particularly cooked clam. Then beef liver, fish, crab and other crustaceans, fortified soy products and fortified cereal (All-Bran). By this point in the list I was getting a little worried to be honest, but the next four saved the day - red meat, milk and yogurt, Swiss cheese and eggs. Sounds good to me.

What would be your favourite way of adding B12 to your diet?

The information about Vitamin B12 comes from the Encyclopedia of Natural Healing, Alive Publishing Group, 1997.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013


Hopefully you've noticed the banner change and the name change. ☺I'm in the process of renaming the blog.

When I first talked with my husband about starting a blog we had a vision of the direction we would go with it. Things haven't happened that way though, and I haven't been happy with the name "Healthy Preservation". I feel like "Healthy Simplicity" expresses better what I am trying to convey on this blog.

Nothing else about what I do is really going to change. I'm just going to be a lot more comfortable in my online home. I hope you will continue to join me here as I talk about living life with simplicity and grace.

Using a Topsy Tail

The girls and I had a special package in the mail this week. We ordered a topsy tail tool for doing different hairstyles. I could kind of do it with my fingers, but it hurt and didn't look super smooth. I remember when the topsy tail tool came out I thought about getting one. I had to wait about twenty years until I had a couple of girly-girl daughters who liked fancy hairstyles.

We've been having fun trying it out, and I wanted to encourage you if you have a daughter you might enjoy one of these tools.

So here's what we did tonight. The idea came from here. I didn't exactly follow the pattern.

 Basically this tool allows you to pull a ponytail through itself.
First I finished it off with a rope braid, but my daughters didn't like the way that looked so we took it out.

What do you think? Have you ever used a topsy tail tool?

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Benefits of Training Our Children

Recently I had a day that demonstrated to me how important it is to teach our children how to help around the house.

It started with a headache when I first woke up. I had planned to get up early and have some quiet time to myself to think and organize my thoughts for the week/day. The best I could hope for was to have breakfast more or less on time. Thankfully my children have known for quite a while how to put together a hot breakfast - eggs and oatmeal. They all take turns doing this. My older boys know how to make a pot of coffee - everything's good. So I meandered downstairs and started printing up papers we would need for school while behind me breakfast preparations went on smoothly.

I forgot we needed bread and remembered too late to start some for lunch. Thankfully we have a recipe for a fast yeast bread. I started it, but later in the morning my nine-year-old daughter finished it.

After breakfast I still wasn't feeling great (in spite of two tylenols, I might add), but thankfully I fill in an assignment book every Sunday night for my children's schoolwork for the week. So the children all got on with it and started getting their schoolwork done. Now I'm not saying it was perfectly quiet and all sweetness. There was talking; there was even the occasional squabble, but by and large we were going forward.

However, by the time I started my school day I was running behind in marking papers and kind of stayed behind all morning. So when my oldest daughter asked me what was for lunch, I could hardly face it. I wanted to do diet, but I didn't have it in me to make anything. Thankfully my oldest daughter took over. She picked a menu, made the meal and served me, as well as feeding her siblings.

I tried to nap when the baby did, but couldn't fall asleep. Talk about frustrating. So after my "nap" my oldest son walked to the mall with the baby and I to pick up something I need for a giveaway here on the blog that I'll be announcing soon (I'm really excited about this.). When we came home the house smelled so good because my nine-year-old daughter was making cookies. Yeah for teaching her how to bake.

So I kind of took it easy for the rest of the afternoon. When it came time for supper I read out the menu to my children while they did the work. My headache was gone by then. I started to feel bad about not accomplishing much, but then I realized how much I had to be thankful for. My children had made life so much easier for me today because for the past weeks/months/years I've been training my children how to work in the kitchen. It can be hard sometimes to be patient enough to do this, but today was the payoff. So if you're wondering should I have the children help me in the kitchen today I would say a hearty "YES".

first bread making lesson over a year ago
And, oh, the baby. He was his usual adorable self. So many people at the mall commented on how cute he was. And I have to agree. Then before he went to bed tonight he and I had some fun playing a game of chase. You know how babies are. You offer to chase them and they come right towards you. Lots of giggles and kisses.
adorable without a doubt
Today could have gone so much worse. I'm glad I got up and I'm glad I taught my children their way around the kitchen.

What have you taught your children to make them more self-reliant?

Monday, 25 November 2013

A Simple Chair Fix

I am excited to share this with you. This is a project that I had on my to do list for a long time and finally just made the time to do it.

My two oldest boys had a folding chair in their bedroom that had lost its back and its seat cushion. My husband wanted to throw it away, but the boys wanted to have a chair in their room. I wanted to fix it for them so it would be comfortable. 

Not very pretty - functional but not pretty. Not that my boys are looking for "pretty" but you know what I mean.

I took some paper (it was around the roses my husband gave me ☺) and cut it to to the approximate size of the seat. Then I pushed down around the edges to get the outline of the seat so I could cut an exact pattern.

It worked...a perfect pattern piece.

I forgot to take a picture of the next step. Sorry. I took an old blanket that we didn't use anymore (As an aside - I'm a bit of a blanket junkie so finding a blanket to use wasn't hard.) Using the paper pattern I cut several layers to use for cushioning. Then I cut a piece of fleece a bit larger (okay a lot larger) than the chair seat and started hot gluing it to the seat bottom. It was a bit tricky because I couldn't turn the chair upside down so my glue gun was pointing up. I did the back then pulled the fleece tight to do the front. Doing the sides was a little hard because I had the screws to glue around. Since the fabric I used was fleece I didn't have to worry about it raveling. I just pulled it as neatly as possible around the screws.

For the top I was going to make a paper pattern again and then decided that was too fiddly. Instead I folded my fabric over the back frame and pinned it in place. I sewed the sides following the pins. Then I trimmed the seams, turned it inside out and...
 ...voila! The boys have a nice looking chair for their room. The only downside is it can't be folded anymore, but they said they can live with that. This probably only took me about forty minutes. Not bad considering all the interruptions I had.  

I'm very happy that I can cross something else off my to do list.

Do you have something you've saved from the garbage with a simple fix?

linked to Made by You Monday at

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Library Time 13

A couple of weeks ago I picked up the book 50 Dates in 50 States by Tiffany Malcom for free on my Kindle. I think I've mentioned this before...if you sign up for a daily email at you will get a list of free books every day. I have picked up so many good books this way. The books are usually only free for a short time so don't wait a couple of days to open the email or you will miss out on the books in it. I enjoyed this book about a 35-year-old woman in search of a husband. I won't be a spoiler and tell you if or where she found one. It's an interesting book.

15-year-old daughter - Set Among Princes by Sharon L. Griffiths

13-year-old son - The Prisoner's Dilemma by Trenton Lee Stewart

11-year-old son - Escape from the Island of Aquarius a Cooper Kids Adventure by Frank Peretti

9-year-old daughter - Rebecca

8-year-old daughter - Donald Duck Adventures

5-year-old son - The Biggest Bear by Lynd Ward. I should have videoed his summary when I asked him what he`s been reading. It`s a cute story that he obviously enjoyed.

2-year-old son - My Green Book of God's Different Things. This is from Rod and Staff Publishers. This is where we get most of our elementary curriculum from. We have quite a few of their ``Little Jewel`` series and my two year old loves them.

 LJB - My Green Book of Gods Different Things
So what does your reading look like this week?

Friday, 22 November 2013

Sleep Deprivations and a Birthday

This has been a busy week with what seems like an abnormal amount of errands. As well, the baby has taken to nursing a lot at night which leaves me functioning on partial brain capacity during the day. I usually like to get up an hour before the children. The house is quiet and I can get so much done. However, when you're not getting much sleep it's kind of hard to convince your body to get up. The baby is really starting to take a lot of independent steps so I'm thinking that's why he's nursing more than he usually does.

I felt like I haven't made much forward progress on my to-do list, but at least my children ate 3 or maybe 6 or 7 times a day, they had clean clothes and a reasonably clean house. We also had a good week in school. My kindergartener is going forward with his reading which is always exciting to watch. My high school daughter is doing algebra this year - try explaining algebra when you have a sleep-deprived brain.

I made some more dishwasher tabs this week. Last time I made them they were too soft. The recipe said to let them cure for twenty-four hours. What I found though was that they needed about a week to get really hard so they would just pop out of the ice cube tray. This time around I made another batch long before I needed them. It's been a couple of days. I haven't checked them yet, but I'm sure they'll be fine. I love that they are made with truly non-toxic ingredients and they work. I'm working on a price comparison with commercial detergents. I'll let you know when I figure it out.

My fifth baby turned eight today. Honestly, where does the time go? Maybe someday I'll do a series on all my birth stories. Every birth is so unique. My fifth birth was my easiest. Seriously, if they were all like hers I'd be up for another few births. ☺ We have a neat thing in our family. We have three sets of cousins that share birthdays. One set even share the same year. My sisters and I could not have planned this if we tried. It is just really special and today is one of those shared birthday. My daughter's cousin is fourteen today.

then and...


Do you have any special shared birthdays in your family?

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Zigzag Part

Another simple tip today. Sometimes either you or your daughter want fast and simple like two ponytails. They're cute, but for just a couple extra minutes you can dress them up a little by using a zigzag part.
I start with damp hair because that makes the part easier to do and nicer to look at. Start above one eyebrow (I started above my daughter's left eye.) and make a diagonal part.

Now start above the opposite eyebrow and do a diagonal part going the other direction.

Now go back to the other side and do another part parallel to the first part.

Continue this way as far as you want. I usually switch to a straight part when I get to the back of my daughter's head. Her hair wasn't quite damp enough at the back here so the part doesn't look straight since the hair kind of sags. Just put your ponytails in like normal, but doesn't that part jazz it up a little?

Do you have a favourite quick tip for making a simple hairstyle look more special?

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Library Time 12

My husband is joining us for our Library Time this week. We went to a different branch of our library a few nights ago, and the baby had so much fun playing with the bead and wire toy they had while his siblings searched for books.

Right now I'm reading the memoirs of a Navy Seal sniper. I really enjoy biographies and memoirs. This one is fascinating. Just the training alone is something to read. Seal Team Six Memoirs of an Elite Navy Seal Sniper by Howard E. Wasdin.

My husband is reading No Cloak, No Dagger by Benjamin Cowburn. It's a spy story from World War II. I've read it and really enjoyed it. I'm glad he's enjoying it now.

No Cloak, No Dagger book 

15-year-old daugher - Les Mis - again. What can I say? She's a diehard fan.

13-year-old son - The Mysterious Benedict Society  by Trenton Lee Stewart

11-year-old son - The Dangerous Journey by W.T. Mars. It is the story of how a boy escapes from 1950's Hungary. I loved this book when I was my son's age and read it several times. I'm so glad he is now enjoying it.

9-year-old daughter - Emma by Jane Austen. Her older sister has inspired love in her for Jan Austen.

7 (soon to be 8)-year-old daughter - Family Circus. We have found cartoon books a great way to get our beginning readers hooked on reading. The plots are short, they "get" the jokes, the books can be read in a short period of time. Our children also enjoy: Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, Garfield, Marmaduke.

5-year-old son - The Black Stallion by Walter Farley. I should explain. This is not the chapter version. He's not reading independently overnight. ☺ It's a gorgeous illustrated children's book with the story obviously in condensed form.

2-year-old son - Biscuit by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

He's also been enjoying Piggies by Audrey Wood and Don Wood which he borrowed from the library. The artwork really makes the book.

So, what does your family enjoy reading?

Friday, 15 November 2013

From Walking to Wreaths


This has been a fairly productive week not just for me but for the baby too. He's started to take a few independent steps here and there. It's so hard to believe that a year ago we were afraid he would be premature, and now he's twenty-six pounds and getting ready to take off with his walking.

I made a top for myself this week. I bought the fabric at least a year ago. I used this pattern for a nursing top only without the openings. I don't always find nursing tops as convenient as plain tops to use when feeding my babies.  I did the hem on the bottom and sleeves with a lettuce edge, and I'm so pleased with how it turned out. A word about the pattern I used. About twelve years ago I bought several patterns for nursing tops and dresses from These patterns are wonderful. They are very simple. Even if you had never sewed or were a beginner you would find these patterns totally doable.

I've been doing a lot of scrapbooking this week. I'm now caught up to January of this year. Sometimes I feel like I will never catch up, but I keep working away at it. This is a hobby I really enjoy. I can work on it at our dining room table and watch a movie with the children at the same time. It's so exciting to see the photos come alive with the cropping, embellishments and journaling.

Today I worked on two Pinterest projects that I've wanted to do for a while. The first was some shaving cream. I used it and it was different. First of all, it doesn't lather like commercial shaving cream. It's made from oils so it puts a layer of oil between your skin and the razor. It was a good shave. Now I want to get my husband to use it and give his opinion. The recipe can be found here.

I like wreaths. My goal is to have one for every season/holiday. So far I have three: One is for Canada Day; one is for summer; and one is for Thanksgiving. Now I'm in the process of making one that I can hang up whenever we have a birthday here which, of course, happens on a fairly regular basis. This birthday wreath is a wreath covered in balloons. It's going well, but I need to buy a couple more packages of balloons, and I need to do it soon - we have a birthday next week. ☺

 So how was your week? Were you able to accomplish any goals?