Monday Mash

Monday Mash: A cornucopia of comfort food

November 4, 2013 • Written by

wellness food1As the weather gets colder, and the days get shorter, it gets easier to go home and curl up in blanket with a bowl of your favourite comfort food. With that thought in mind, this past weekend I cracked open my recipe books and a few websites to make a few tried and true foodie favourites to have on hand for a quick supper or munchies for TV night.

First on the list was a vegetarian lasagna, full of veggies and feta cheese. I also love kettle corn, so I made a pail of it – yes I said a pail of it. Other items on my culinary to do list are breaded chicken fingers, butter chicken and many – many cookies like chocolate chipoatmeal, ginger snaps and Oreos. It’s great to have snacks on hand to avoid the fast food trap, and for impromptu entertaining. Feel free to check out a few of my recipe favourites and make your own cornucopia of comfort food this winter.

Monday Mash – Wellness Links, October 21

October 21, 2013 • Written by

Welcome to another Monday – a Monday that happens to be smack-dab in the middle of your summer and winter vacations. You’re likely sitting at a desk right now in some type of office or work space; and, I would venture to guess, not feeling all that well at the moment.

Did you know that it’s possible to feel great when you’re in your work space? Are you aware of how your surroundings can contribute to your wellness while you’re working or studying? Check out this Monday Mash of links and you’ll be thrilled to realize it’s as easy as adding some plants and music to your office!

Research continues to prove that indoor plants have many health benefits. Keep some greenery nearby while you work and you just may find yourself with fewer headaches, less stress, and even softer skin! For the scientifically savvy, you can read case studies and advice from the pros at If you’re not a green thumb but you want to breathe easier (quite literally!), find some simple tips and an A to Z guide to the easiest, cheapest, or coolest houseplants for you to try in your office or study space. Why not find a way to literally stop and smell the roses?

Whether you think listening to music is a distraction or a motivator, there are definitely some reasons to tune in and tune up your mental health while you work! Find blog posts, research studies, and surveys resulting from a doctoral thesis on Music at Work. When you’re convinced, do your own research at – simply browse through an era or genre of music that you love, or let the Music Concierge find that perfect playlist for the time of day or your particular mood. Then watch your productivity skyrocket like Miley Cyrus’ infamy and bank account!

Have a happy (& healthy) Monday, plant and music lovers!

Monday Mash – Wellness Links – September 30

September 30, 2013 • Written by


I love autumn, even if it does bring winter…. Here’s why:

    • Every church and community centre are having a fall supper, it would be a sin to miss such a gluttonous event – so find one here.
    • The colours…and the distinct smells that really can’t be described to any justice.
    • Summer clothes and shoes are going on clearance – check those flyers and go mall walking!
    • Curling is back! Maybe I’ll join a league instead of just yelling at my TV again this year. The Roar of the Rings Olympic Trials are in Winnipeg this year, we’ll see you at the Patch?
    • 3 shows. Game of Thrones. The Walking Dead. Downton Abbey. This season I will even try to be more active while watching the tube.
    • Even Halloween brings a happy chill to my spine with all the spooky activities that can be had – like corn mazes and haunted houses!
    • The chore of raking leaves is always rewarded with the joy of jumping in the soft piles….even dogs love it!

Monday Mash – Wellness Links – September 9

September 9, 2013 • Written by

September often makes me feel like a kid on a swing. There’s hopeful expectation about the thrills that are in store for me, but it takes quite a bit of energy to get the momentum going. That pushing-off point is the hardest – you push and pull and struggle to get moving but for awhile it sure seems like it’s going nowhere. Once you’ve done the work to get yourself in full swing, then the fun begins, butterflies and all; you just have to keep pumping and maybe even try to slow yourself down if it gets too scary! But that’s ‘October to June’ kind of talk! Today, I’m feeling so very ‘September’. So here are some articles that are worth the read to get you back into the swing of things this fall. (Pun most definitely intended!)

The Huffington Post article, Getting Fit When Life Gets in the Way, inspired me because of my frequent “I’m-too-busy-to-do-something-good-for-myself” attitude. The topic in the article is weight loss but I believe this to be true for all health and wellness goals. Be ready for the author to challenge you with concepts like: “You have to find a way to continuously make this program fit into your life, not expect life to make way for it.”

I know – you’re missing your cottage already and you’re feeling overwhelmed with the pressure to be successful this year. Take a minute to read this article, which will remind you that They Who Love and Laugh Most Win. What would happen if love and laughter as part of our daily routine turned into an epidemic?

It might seem hard to push through right now, but keep on swinging! And while you’re at it, enjoy the ride and have a good laugh with the people you love! Isn’t swinging more fun that way?

Monday Mash – Wellness Links – September

September 3, 2013 • Written by

crochet flower potWe are into September and the Crafting Club at Roblin Centre is back at it.  Throughout the spring, members crocheted scarves and sweaters and even some unique items like the flower pens in this picture for our reception desk.  Here is a link to the pattern for it.  The Crafting Club will be getting together on Monday at 1:00 p.m. and Thursday at 12:00 p.m.  Anyone is welcome to join!

I love the theatre and was thrilled to see Mary Poppins at Rainbow Stage this summer.  It was delightful!  Another option for the theatre enthusiasts is Celebrations Dinner Theatre.  Elvis and the Las Vegas Hangover is playing right now!

My sisters and I have had season tickets to MTC for several years.  It has been a great way for us to spend time together and we always have a good time.  This year they will be playing Harvey, A Christmas Story, Jane Eyre, The Glass Menagerie, Kim’s Convenience and Good People.  We can’t forget the Warehouse Theatre playing Venus in Fur, Hirsch, The Seagull and The Secret Annex.

If comedy is more your thing, don’t forget about Rumor’s Comedy Club!  Matt Falk is headlining for the first couple of weeks in September.

Monday Mash – Wellness Links – August 26

August 26, 2013 • Written by

barn spider

The World Without Us

Lately, I’ve been very interested in learning more about the history of the planet, having most recently picked up the book The World Without Us by Alan Weisman from the library.  That book begins with the premise – What would the world be like if all humans disappeared? Although I’m only part way through, it is a very interesting perspective that combines science and sustainability to imagine how nature and animals might return, while cities decay.  There’s a particularly good chapter early on that references the Mannahatta project, which is a revisualization of Manhattan Island starting 400+ years ago.

Walking with Monsters and Dinosaurs

Walking with Monsters is a three-part British documentary film series about life in the Paleozoic (540 to 250 million years ago), when life on earth was in the earliest stages.  The show is a fascinating recreation of life as it was “slowly” emerging, featuring giant water scorpions, monstrous fish, and giant damsel flies! You can get it on Netflix if you’re into that. The Walking with Dinosaurs series is a six-part series that traces a mere 190 million years afterward, with the emergence of dinosaurs on the planet.

The Barn Spider

The other night we discovered a relatively large spider, sitting in a big web in front of a window in the garage/barn.  It had a really large rear end that almost looked like a huge egg sack, but in this case it was a permanent posterior.  We watched it for a while, checking out what it caught, and where the webs attached to form the net.

I wasn’t sure what it was at the time, but I found this great Wiki on how to identify a spider.  I’m not a big fan of all the ads on the site, but the graphics and the simple step-by-step outline of what to look for was really useful.


Monday Mash – Wellness Links – August 19

August 19, 2013 • Written by


It’s that time of year! If you have a garden, or are a frequenter of your local farmers market, you are sure to be wondering, “What the heck am I going to do with all this stuff!” Here are some of my favourite recipes, and resources, to tackle your vegetable growing and hoarding habit.

Have fun and eat your fruit and veggies!

Monday Mash – Wellness Links – July 29

July 22, 2013 • Written by

Summer seems to be disappearing before our very eyes. But I urge you to ignore those “Back to School” sales – look away, people, just look away! Instead, let’s focus on the fabulous month of August and all the summer we have yet to savour! On this last Monday of July, I’m thinking about three of the things I love most about summer.


I love food. I love festivals. So what greater joy is there than a food festival? Find out how communities across the country are spreading the joy – The Globe & Mail has listed the best food festivals in Canada. Clearly, the list is not complete (Morden corn and apples, anyone?) so feel free to add a comment and give your own recommendations!

The trouble with festivals is learning how to enjoy them without bursting out of all my summer skirts! Here is some dandy advice for healthy eating at festivals, without taking away the yum factor. After reading, stay awhile and browse the rest of the SoulMateFood wisdom.


Whether it be for one day or for two weeks, a good roadtrip can be a refreshing break for the brain, body and soul. I admire the spirit of this fellow transplant to Manitoba. Read about her experiences beyond the perimeter and get inspired to fall in love with your province all over again (or perhaps for the first time!) through some Manitoba roadtrippin’. Linger around this blog and read some of the more recent posts, especially the “All-Food Edition”. It made me salivate on the spot to read about the local treats and eats we are privvy to in this great province. Ah, a Manitoban blogger after my own heart!


There’s nothing like reading a good book in a swinging hammock on a warm summer day. Yet to do so often brings me that guilty feeling of being unproductive – especially when my poor sweaty husband has to mow the grass around and under the hammock I occupy. Will he honour my request to bring me another glass of iced tea? I think not. But take heart, book lovers, according to The Greatist Team we are doing the world a favour – reading makes us better, more empathetic friends! It works – I truly do understand how my husband feels as he struggles to create a beautiful yard for my reading pleasure. So NOW can I have that iced tea, dear?

Monday Mash – Wellness Links – July 8

July 8, 2013 • Written by

black tie beach

Feeling stressed, anxious, sad, or need to clear your brain? Here are a few of my favorite sites to make me smile and laugh (sometimes to the point of crying)!

  • Need a card for an occasion so strange that Hallmark doesn’t even recognize it? SOMEECARDS.COM has it covered. Still can’t find what you are looking for….they even let you create your own.
  • Ever feel gypped that you never find yourself in the middle of a flash mob? IMPROVEEVERYWHERE.COM brings silliness and joy to the serious folk of New York. The troupe is famous for their “No Pants Subway Ride“, “MP3 Experiments” and other fun events – check it out! CAUTION: it is my mission this summer to bring the “Black Tie Beach” event to Winnipeg….keep tuned in for details….  
  • Like lists? Sometimes you just need to know the “26 Invaluable Life Lessons According to Sloths“. Be warned: you could spend a full weekend surfing through funny compilations on BUZZFEED.COM!

Now are you feeling a little better? That’s good!  🙂

Monday Mash – Wellness Links – June 24

June 24, 2013 • Written by

Leaves in Sunlight

A Graduation Speech

Anyone who has signed up for will have come across the Graduation Speech by Nipun Mehta, given at the May 2013 graduation at Harker School in California. If you haven’t read it, it is worth the time it takes to read. It’s inspiring in what seems at first to be a contradictory way. He introduces himself with good news and bad news. The good news is oh so brief while the bad news sounds rather hopeless at first. But Nipun keeps talking and offers some interesting solutions that he calls Keys. If you don’t want to read the whole speech, inspiring though it is, one thing worth looking at is the ServiceSpace web site, something he started about 10 years ago. It is about generosity – as Nipun says while paraphrasing the Dalai Lama, “It is in giving that we receive.”

Greater Good

When I think of personal wellness, just one of the aspects (there are plenty more) that comes to mind is related to feeling helpful and useful to others. For me being helpful doesn’t come only from empathy, it actually is selfish in a way – it feels good, it gives me a purpose, it allows me to believe that my activities and beliefs are meaningful.

If you are interested in the many aspects of living a Meaningful Life, go and explore the Greater Good site. It is chock-full of podcasts, videos, links, and printed information that will inspire, inform, and possibly lead you to even better wellness in your life.

Games, anyone?

There is a new type of game that sounds very intriguing and may well help players feel more connected to the world as a whole. I’ve never been a gamer of any kind but I may become one when I try some of the Games Aiming to Change the World. A couple of the game links just provide information about the game but most of the links take you right to the game where you can take on the challenge if you so choose.

If you look on the right side of the Games Aiming to Change the World page, there are links to related blog posts. Even if you’ve never been an instructor, you’ve been a student of one form or other. The blog post about Priming Your Brain for Academic Success covers some useful ideas whether you’re on the teaching side, the learning side or both sides of the academic world.

Irrational Decision Making

Speaking of how our brains work, apparently this rather important part of our bodies can trick us so well that when we think we are making a rational choice, it is anything but. A Behavioural economist, Dan Ariely, (a very humourous speaker, by the way) gave a TED talk (well, actually he did a study and wrote a book first) about just how irrational our decisions can be and why. Watch the TED talk video, listen to Dan Ariely, and laugh along with the audience. Decide what you think and then wonder if your brain is telling you the truth.

And more about our brains

What is the internet doing to our brains? A short video illustrating an interview with Nicholas Carr, the author of The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains will let you know (and it might worry you a bit.) The first 15 seconds of the video reminded me of when I first started venturing onto the internet back in the middle ages (Windows 3.1, I think). I remember having a great time looking for information on the internet but was constantly getting lost – as in losing track of what the heck I was looking for in the first place. It was a bit overwhelming. I can vividly remember my fleeting wish that I could just find what I needed in a book. My brain has since adjusted, thank goodness, or maybe not.

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