Top 6 Free Wellness Apps

If you’re looking to improve your well-being, there are plenty of free apps that can be used to track your health and fitness. Whether you’re already an athlete, or just want to start taking care of your body, these apps can help you do just that. From an app that will track your habit-building or breaking to an app that will track your sleep, there are plenty of free wellness apps to try out.

Calm

Calm is a meditation and sleep app that is available for both Android and iOS. This app will help you to meditate, gain a healthier mindset, and improve your sleep. By sticking to a regular meditation routine, you’ll be able to start experiencing the benefits of meditation, such as a better focus and a happier mood. 

Headspace

Another meditation and sleep app, Headspace offers mindfulness exercise that is designed to get you into the habit of meditating every day. You can also take up meditation anytime with your Google Assistant, just say ‘Hey Google, Start a Meditation’ and get started right away!

Nike Training Club

This app features guided workouts to help you get in shape while you follow along with your favorite trainers. Users can follow 4-6 week flexible training programs. With access to hundreds of workouts, there is something for everyone from beginners to seasoned pros. Try a yoga class, strength training, or a core workout all in the comfort of your own home.

Daily Yoga

Daily Yoga is a free yoga app that features videos and runs you through your yoga routine.  The app is great for beginners looking to enter the world of yoga. Track your progress and engage with the app’s community to have your questions answered and make new friends.

Habit

Habit is a tracker app that lets you set daily habits and break bad ones. The app will help you build better habits by having you complete your tasks daily and keeping track of your progress. Jot down your thoughts, ideas, and program reminders to help set yourself up for success.

Kitchen Stories

Kitchen Stories is a collection of step-by-step recipes demonstrated on video or in images that will have you cooking up a storm in the kitchen. Recipes are categorized based on occasion, diet, and cuisine.   The app is great for new cooks and experienced ones alike.

Top Classic Books to Read this Fall

Fall is here—the weather is cooling down and the leaves are starting to change color. If you’re bored of the same TV shows and movies, and you’re craving a new book to read, these classic novels and plays will be a refreshing break from the usual. Whether you’re just getting into reading or you’re a seasoned reader, there’s something for everyone in this collection.

Great Expectations, Charles Dickens – If you’re looking for a classic book to read, you can’t go wrong with Great Expectations. In this coming-of-age story, young orphan Pip searches for love and fortune in Victorian England.

Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky – This classic novel tells the story of Raskolnikov, an impoverished ex-student who murders two old women. He then struggles to conceal his crime and overcome his own conscience.

Frankenstein, Mary Shelley – A must-read on every book lover’s list, Frankenstein is a Gothic horror that’s a perfect read for the spooky holiday.  In the story, a scientist creates a monster that escapes and threatens society.

The War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells – In this science fiction classic, an astronomer discovers a series of Martian attacks on England in this groundbreaking tale of invasion from outer space.

Dracula, Bram Stoker – A horror novel that is also a classic, Dracula tells the story of a vampire who preys upon young women in London.

The Call of the Wild, Jack London – The adventures of a dog named Buck as he leaves his home and becomes a sled dog in the treacherous Yukon during the Gold Rush. 

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain – In this classic American novel, young Tom Sawyer gets into trouble with his friends and lovesick Aunt Polly.

Dickens’ Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens – A heartless miser learns a lesson about love and generosity when he encounters four spirits on a Christmas Eve night.

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë – The classic English novel about a young woman who defies conventions of her time.

Emma, Jane Austen – The classic English novel about a young woman who is a snob and prefers to arrange her life rather than actually living it.

Tess of the D’Ubervilles, Thomas Hardy – A classic tale about a passionate heroine from Thomas Hardy.

The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton – The classic American novel which tells the story of Lily Bart’s struggle for survival in New York society.

Not only will you be able to enjoy these books, but they can also provide inspiration for papers and projects. Or, if reading is not your thing, why not scroll through some real estate listings?

 

Back to School: Easy Lunch Ideas for the Kids

For many of us, back to school means a new beginning. For the children, it means a new class, new friends, and new adventures. So what kind of adventures might those kids have?

Today’s healthy, on-the-go families are pressed for time. With school starting earlier, traffic jams getting worse, and more homework on their plates, many parents don’t have much time to pack even a quick lunch before they head off to work.

The answer to “What’s for lunch?”. For those of you who don’t like to plan ahead, we can recommend DIY Lunchables. Let’s take a look at how to put together a back-to-school lunch that is quick, delicious, and healthy.

How to Put Together the Perfect DIY Lunchable

Remember those yummy little Lunchables you used to love as a kid? They were so easy and convenient. Well, now you can make them yourself with your favorite ingredients! Start by choosing your bread or crackers. Traditional options include English muffins, bagels, pita bread, flatbreads, and others; but don’t be afraid to experiment with your favorite breads.

Next, choose your meat or protein source. Packed lunches are a great way to sneak in some extra veggies, so feel free to add cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce leaves, avocado slices, bean sprouts—and if you’re really hungry—a few pieces of cooked chicken, turkey, ham, or beef.

If you’re looking for a protein boost, choose one of the following: cheese sticks, sliced string cheese, cubes of cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, cubes of cold cuts like salami or bologna—add a few olives if you like them! And to finish off your lunch, choose one or two of the following treats: fresh fruit, 100 percent fruit juice boxes—just be sure they are not carbonated—granola bars, dried cereal pieces.

Lastly, add a treat on the side , like a cookie, cupcake or muffin.

Now that you’re an expert at putting together a healthy lunch box for your kid, don’t forget to make one for yourself!

Remember to always eat a well-balanced, nutritious breakfast and lunch. And as for those afternoons when you feel like a snack attack—just remember that a good snack is made up of the following: one serving of fruit or vegetables, one serving from the grain group (bread, cereal, rice, pasta), and one serving from the dairy group.

Looking to relocate this fall? Here are listings available in the Collingwood area.

Tagged : /

Thanksgiving Dishes to Try This Year

Thanksgiving brings with it the opportunity to get together with family and friends. From traditional turkey and stuffing to pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce, there are a plethora of dishes to choose from. But how do you know if a recipe is a good idea? Here are a few classic Thanksgiving dishes to try this year.

Ambrosia Salad

Ambrosia Salad is a classic Thanksgiving dish that can be spruced up in different ways. Ambrosia salad is fruit-based and is topped with marshmallows, whipped cream, and coconut.

  • Butternut Squash and Leek Stuffing: A favorite alternative to traditional stuffing, this recipe is made with leeks and butternut squash.  If you like the taste of sage, this is the recipe for you.
  • Cornbread-Sage Dressing: A cornbread dressing uses ground pork sausage as a base. Diced vegetables and herbs are added to make it spicy.
  • Fennel, Apple, and Celery Root Slaw with Pecans: A fresh salad that incorporates the harvest flavors of fall. The slaw is made from the fennel bulb, celery root, apples, pecans, cider vinegar, olive oil, and cider.
  • Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onions: This dish is made with green beans, breadcrumbs, onion soup mix, milk, cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, crispy onions, butter crackers, and parsley flakes.
  • Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows: Sweet potatoes are mashed with heavy cream, brown sugar, milk, marshmallows, light corn syrup, vanilla extract, and salt.
  • Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream: The classic Thanksgiving dessert . This pie is made from pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, salt, and vanilla extract.
  • Pecan Pie: Another classic Thanksgiving dessert, this pie is made from pecans, salt, light corn syrup, eggs, sugar, white Karo Syrup, vanilla extract, and butter. 
  • Sweet Potato Casserole: This dish is made from sweet potatoes, brown sugar, pecans, evaporated milk, eggs, butter, salt, and vanilla extract.
  • Corn Pudding: This side dish is usually prepared with corn kernels and cream mixed together and baked in a casserole dish.
  • Maple Glazed Acorn Squash: This dish is made from acorn squash, vegetable oil, salt, maple syrup, water, and brown sugar.  
  • Baked Pears with Cinnamon Yogurt Sauce: This dish is prepared from pears, sugar, salt, ground cinnamon, low-fat plain yogurt, and chopped walnuts. 

Apple Cranberry Crisp: This dish is made from apples, cranberries, brown sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, allspice, and salt.

All of these dishes sound like something you would be interested in serving at your Thanksgiving dinner—which one sounds the most appetizing to you?

Are you looking for a new property in time to host a Thanksgiving dinner? Check out what listings are available in the Collingwood Area here.

Tagged : / /

How to Plan an Outdoor Movie Night

There’s no better way to get in the fall mood than with a good, old-fashioned outdoor movie night. But what do you do if you and your friends want to watch some movies but don’t want to suffer some of the summer heat and humidity created by a huge outdoor screen? Luckily, there are a few tricks you can use to create your own cozy fall cinema. If you are planning on having an outdoor movie night with your family, be sure to get all your outdoor equipment out early so you can get things organized before the neighbors get home. Here are some ideas on how to get your outdoor movie night ready.

Find a Good Spot

The main reason people hold outdoor movie nights is because they want to catch the latest summer blockbuster in the great outdoors. This means you’re going to need a big, open area where people can spread out on blankets and sit on chairs without having to worry about projecting an image onto nearby trees or buildings.

Get Enough Blankets for Everyone

Blankets are huge for outdoor movie-watching. You don’t want to be stuck trying to share a single blanket with everyone just so you’re not sitting on the cold ground, and you’ll most likely want an extra one if it’s going to be chilly at night. Make sure you have enough blankets for every movie watcher.

Decide on Proper Seating

No one wants to sit on the ground all night, so you’ll need some sort of seating arrangement for those who don’t want to sit on a blanket. If there’s enough room and no one will be tripping over them, folding chairs are good as they can be laid back on or sat up straight as needed. Otherwise, laying on the ground with some cushions or an air mattress may be the best option. If you have enough room, buying potted seating arrangements or bean bag chairs would work well, too!

Find the Right Movie

There are two ways you can approach this step: either pick something that is family friendly or have the adults watch something a bit more mature while the kids enjoy their own film.

Get the Snacks Ready

If you’re watching a movie with kids, then the snacks are definitely going to be your biggest expense. Plan out what you can make or buy ahead of time and have it ready for when people arrive. There’s classic snacks like popcorn, candy, and soda. And if you want to get a little fancier, you can make caramel apples or set out festive cupcakes for everyone to enjoy.

Looking to relocate to a home with a yard? Check out what properties are available on the market.

Tagged :

Fall Crafts For Everyone

Fall is upon us, bringing cooler weather, shorter days, and generally crisper times. There are plenty of things to do in the fall, including the best time of the year to shop for a home or to harvest the best apples. Or, if apple picking isn’t your thing, you can join in the fun with one of the following fall crafts. Fall is a great time to get creative. 

Fall Leaf Lanterns

The trees are filled with leaves that are ready to be swept up. The fallen leaves are a great way to make crafts that are fun for the family to enjoy this fall season. Fall leaf lanterns are easy to make with a vessel from the dollar store, pressed leaves, and mod podge. The finished lanterns will give your home that fall-time feel wherever you choose to display them.

Fall Mason Jar Crafts

As the leaves begin to change, your thoughts turn to pint-sized mason jars full of apple cider and dried leaves. A mason jar candle holder can be made by adding a scoop of sand or glass pebbles to the bottom of the jar. Place a votive candle on top and light it up to create an enchanting fall display. Mason jar crafts are popular this time of year for good reason; they make great decorations for your table’s centerpieces or mantels.

Leaf Printed Autumn Banner

A leaf-printed autumn banner can be made with paper, pressed fall leaves, and mod podge. This project looks great on a mantle or hanging in your home attached to rustic twine or burlap ribbon.

Yarn Pumpkins

Make yarn pumpkins by wrapping a balloon in yarn. Glue yarn to the tube for extra hold and then add your pumpkin features such as eyes, nose, and mouth. You can even add petals or leaves if you like. Once your yarn pumpkins are decorated, you can pop the balloon to remove it.

Carve a Real Pumpkin

Once it gets closer to Halloween, you will want to take the time to really make your pumpkin stand out. Carving a real pumpkin is a classic activity for the holiday but you can also use it as a centerpiece by carving out the inside and adding some tea lights to create a spooky ambiance.

What are your favorite fall crafts?

 

Fun Back to School Activities For the Family

With September quickly approaching, you’ve got a few more weeks of summer activities to look forward to before the school year begins. But don’t let the sweltering heat drive you to the couch; you’re a busy person who needs to use some of that free time. We’ve listed some fun things to do during September for the whole family that won’t break the bank. 

Visit a Market Out of Town

September is a great month for spending time outdoors because it’s still warm enough to spend time outside. So why not check out some local county fairs? You can usually still get funnel cakes and some good rides on a budget. And who knows, maybe you will discover your love for something new (like a new neighbourhood).

Go School Supply Shopping

School supply shopping can be a fun family outing. Kids love getting new supplies, and it helps them get more excited to head back to school. Everyone can participate in the process by picking out their favorite pencils, notebooks, and pens. You may want to let your kids choose a few extra things for school, like some fun binders or maybe even a new folder with their names on them!

Go on a Final Summer Season Hike

September weather is still perfect for outdoor family fun. If you don’t have any plans on Labor Day weekend, pack everyone up and go join the throngs of people who will be out hiking. Try a new area, or hike a few different hikes in one area you haven’t explored before.  

Take a Sunset Drive

Take a drive up to the mountains and enjoy the beautiful views. This is a fun activity that the entire family can do together. Take along some snacks, map out your route ahead of time, and stop often to take pictures and enjoy nature.

Go Pick Apples

Have a family outing to a local orchard and pick apples. Lots of farms have apple picking parties in the fall, which are also a lot of fun for the kids.

Take Advantage of the End of Patio Season

With patio season drawing to a close, it’s time to get out and enjoy the outdoors while you can. Hit up a local restaurant that has a patio. Enjoy the weather while you can because we all know fall is just around the corner!

Try Your Hand at Some Gardening

Haul out the gardening supplies and take control of your own patch of land. Have some fun in the dirt together. Grow a little indoor garden to enjoy this fall and winter!

Do Some Outdoor Painting

Pick a fun theme, like fall leaves. Decorate pumpkins or gourds, and then paint them! Have an old t-shirt that could use some new life? Why not try your hand at screen printing on it? Let the kids have their imaginations run wild as they decorate to their hearts’ content!

 

The Best Healthy Foods For August

It’s August. Nothing is better, in our opinion, than taking a summer break from the daily grind. It’s a great time to catch up on travel and family, as well as enjoy some downtime on the couch or explore some open houses

In terms of food, there are so many delicious treats that can be consumed in the summer months, and many of them don’t require any cooking at all. The best summer treats don’t have to be high in sugar, fat, or calories at all.

Our collection of the best foods for August is chock full of ingredients that help you cool down from August’s scorching heat. 

Fruits

  • Cantaloupe: These melons are a great way to get your daily dose of vitamin C. 
  • Mangos: Similar to cantaloupe, mangoes are a refreshing and tasty way to get more Vitamin C in your diet.
  • Strawberries: You can top off this delicious fruit with honey for a yummy treat that helps you stay cool all summer long. These berries are rich in antioxidants that can fight disease and keep your body strong.
  • Kiwis: Kiwis are full of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. Make sure you eat them before they get too soft in the heat.
  • Blackberries: This berry is full of antioxidants that can help your body fight off free radicals that cause cancer.
  • Grapefruit: Grapefruit is low in calories, yet high in nutrients. It is a good source of vitamin C, fiber, and pectin.
  • Peaches: This fruit helps to reduce cholesterol because it is low in saturated fat as well as sodium.
  • Apples: Apples can be excellent for your immune system. They can help keep your body healthy during the hot winter months.
  • Cranberries: These are full of antioxidants that can help prevent cancer and heart disease.
  • Avocado: Avocado is a summer favourite and one of the best foods for August because it is full of vitamins C and B that can help to lower high cholesterol. This food has more potassium than a banana and contains oleic acid.

Veggies

  • Onions: Whether raw or cooked, onions are rich in sulfur compounds that can help prevent long-term inflammation throughout the body.
  • Asparagus: This delicious vegetable is a natural diuretic containing fiber, folate, and vitamins A, C, and K. 
  • Okra: Okra can be used in soups and stir-frys for a low-calorie, high fiber way to keep you hydrated.
  • Tomatoes: The benefits of tomatoes include antioxidative effects and potential protection from cancer. Eating tomatoes can also help boost the immune system.
  • Soybeans: These are great for cardiovascular health, which is beneficial in helping you fight against heart disease.
  • Broccoli: This vegetable is beneficial in many ways and can help protect you against heart disease as well as some cancers.

Other Healthy Options

  • Peanut Butter: Although peanut butter is high in fat, it has healthy fats that are beneficial for your health.
  • Soy Milk: This milk is lower in calories than whole milk and has no saturated fat. It is also rich in calcium, which can protect you from osteoporosis.
  • Dark Chocolate: This sweet treat does more for your body than just satisfy your craving for sweets. Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants and has been proven to lower blood pressure.

 

The final stretch of summer can be a great time to get out and enjoy the sunshine and any of the above healthy snacks!

Real Estate Market Trends to Look Out For 2021

The smart real estate investor will always know the signs, trends, and statistics that affect the real estate market. These can be small trends that develop over the year or they can be big trends that are felt all across the country. Real estate investors need to be aware of these trends if they are going to make smart investments. One way they can do this is by reading real estate market reports that forecast what will happen in the next year and beyond.

Renters Are Moving Away From Urban Areas

The real estate market on a city level is largely tied to the strength of that particular economy and how attractive it is for both businesses and individuals. In 2020, there was an increase in people moving away from urban areas. This trend continued into 2021 and looks like it will continue well into 2022. This pattern is due to many factors, including many workers switching to remote work due to COVID-19.

New Home Building is on a Downward Trend

Many building projects came to a halt due to COVID-19. Homeowners have stopped building new homes since it made less financial sense to do so. On top of that, many builders weren’t prepared for the financial repercussions of the pandemic. This caused an interruption in production that led to many projects being put on hold.

Mortgage Rates Remain Low

It looks like the trend of lower interest rates will continue. Some of the lowest interest rates were seen in early 2020. This gives investors more opportunities to purchase property. Demand for residential mortgages is expected to increase again on its upward trend.

Condominium Sales on the Rise

In recent years, there has been an increased demand for condominium properties from older millennials and buyers who aren’t planning to have a family. With the baby-boomer generation reaching retirement age, condo living will be more attractive to them.

Housing is Still Unaffordable for Many

Despite the changes in mortgage lending rules, it is difficult for buyers to acquire homes these days. There is a shortage of condos and detached houses in many good locations. Prices are still unaffordable for most income brackets.

Home Prices Increases Are Faster Than Wage Growth

In larger cities, house prices are increasing more quickly than wage growth. When it comes to the real estate market, the debate rages on, with many arguing that housing affordability is a myth, while others see it as an ongoing crisis. The real home values have been rising consistently for years, but the pace at which they are rising appears to be at an all-time high.

Consumers are Buying Smaller Houses and Waiting to Buy

For years, people have been buying bigger homes to accommodate large families. But with millennials entering the real estate market picture, buyers are now looking at smaller homes to accommodate smaller families.

Check out what else is happening on the local real estate market here.

Tagged :

Toronto: Things to Do in The Summer

The summer is a great time to go out, explore the city and find some great things to do. Toronto has plenty of things to do (our province’s smaller cities do, too!). By many accounts, it’s the number one summer getaway destination in Canada. With its hot summer climate, great food, and exciting nightlife, Toronto is a fantastic place to vacation. Here are some top picks for the summer of 2021.

Kensington Market

Toronto is a city with a thriving food scene, active arts, and interesting urban culture. That’s why we decided to highlight a few of the places you might not have heard about before, especially the Kensington Market – a hidden gem in the Toronto area. Kensington Market was only officially designated in 2006, and is still a great place to visit on the weekend all year round. It’s a bustling open-air market, where you’ll find fresh produce, specialty foods and crafts, as well as live entertainment and fun bars. The bohemian feel is a unique escape from the hectic city and one you won’t want to miss.

Visit Breweries

Plan your own brewery tour or sign up for one.  The craft brewing scene is rapidly growing in Toronto, and you’ll find breweries scattered throughout the city. Most of them offer free/cheap samplings, so make sure to try a variety! If you’re up for it, visit some of the local breweries that may be further out from downtown: Mill Street Brew Pub (207 Queen’s Quay) or Collective Arts (777 Dundas St W).

Distillery District

Tour the Distillery District and turn back in time. Toronto’s historic distillery district is one of the most picturesque areas, and a must-do in the summertime. With its brick buildings, shopping, and art galleries, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back into the early 1900s.

Toronto Island

Take a ferry from the city centre and spend the day on Toronto Island. The island is an oasis of waterfront parks, quaint shops and restaurants, and green space along Lake Ontario. There are also a couple of beaches (one nude beach!) and a fantastic boardwalk.

Visit St Lawrence Market (92 Front Street East)

Grab lunch or dinner at Toronto’s oldest market, open since 1801. You can find fresh fruit and vegetables, fishmongers and butchers all under one roof. Go for lunch on Saturday when the market is fully open.  There are lots of cute restaurants and pubs around the market for dinner.

The Toronto real estate market isn’t for everyone, and many people are looking to invest outside of the city for more affordable housing. Check out what’s available in the Collingwood area.

 

Tagged :