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Welcome!

 

Welcome to marianamcdougall.com, where parents of young children can find out how to break free of ordinary lives to live extraordinary ones.  The place to turn your dreams into goals, and achieve them – because a dream is only “just a dream” until you make it into a goal.  After that, it’s only a matter of time and planning before it becomes a reality.

Join me and my young family as we reach the best health of our lives, embrace our dreams, break free from a life of conformity, and hopefully inspire you to do the same.

Sign up for the mailing list to get some awesome freebies, tips for a healthy lifestyle, and to stay up-to-date on our adventures. We’ll also let you know when there are new posts on the blog, and as an e-mail subscriber, you’ll get lots of freebies not available to other visitors.

Questions? Don’t be a stranger; give me a shout at mcdougallmariana@gmail.com.

parrot-campsites-and-lakefront-houses

Parrot Campsites and Lakefront Houses

After arriving at Presqui’lle Provincial Park on May 31st, we started setting up our tents and getting ready for the night. The kids played and had a grand time while Dan and I were getting the tents ready.

Katia set up a whole campsite for her parrot (the one toy she was allowed to bring on the trip), with a campfire pit and everything. It was ultra creative (and ultra adorable).

We still had a little bit of daytime left, so we checked out the beach, which was quite rocky, and the kids had fun throwing rocks in the water.

There were two couples camping in small campers nearby, and they were really friendly. We enjoyed nice conversations with them, and you could see they were enjoying watching the kids as well.

cycle touring kids presqu'ile

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family bicycle adventure

Treehouse bathrooms and riding on cows (Consecon-Presquille)

It’s been a while since I’ve written about our bicycling adventure. My original intention had been to write blog posts while we were on the road, but no data plan and sheer exhaustion at the end of the day prevented me from doing so. Then, the intention had been to write at least one post a week after getting home, so I could recount our adventures while they were still fresh in my mind. But then, life happened, my writing business got really busy, I remembered that a new homeschooling year is just around the corner… and updating the blog sort of fell off by the wayside.

But we had such an amazing time during this bicycling adventure, I really want to share the details with you. While I had kept a journal, I somehow managed to lose it (what’s new?), so I’ll be relying on the pictures to remember the events. So if something seems out of place in the timeline, bear with me 🙂

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Raw Kale salad for a vegetarian meal plan

Raw Kale Salad

Kale is the poster vegetable for healthy eating these days, and no wonder – a mere 100 grams provides nearly 200% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin A, 100% of your daily intake of Vitamin C, 15% calcium, 8% iron, 15% Vitamin B-6, and 11% magnesium. Oh, it happens to be delicious, too, if you prepare it right. What’s not to like?

Here’s a great kale salad recipe that has become a staple in our household. Pretty much any time we want salad, this comes out. My kids even eat it!

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Peanut Butter Pancakes

High Protein, High Iron Peanut Butter Pancakes

Everybody asks you where you get your protein if you’re a vegetarian. It’s a really silly question, since protein is in everything, and if you eat a varied enough diet, even without meat, you’ll be just fine. It’s also a silly question because what most vegetarians might be lacking, if they’re lacking anything, is iron – not protein.

I was a vegetarian for 4 years, without any issue. But during my last two pregnancies, I was anemic. Since my last pregnancy, it’s been very difficult to raise my iron. To try to avoid supplements, I’m trying to raise the iron in my blood by tweaking my diet. For now, I still have to take iron tablets, but the hope is that if I’m good with planning what I eat, I’ll be able to go off them eventually.

This breakfast is one of the ways you can wake up to an iron boost (and it’s a high protein breakfast, too!)

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Slow Cooker Vegan Pasta Primavera

Slow Cooker Pasta Primavera

Pasta Primavera (Vegan)

Adapted from The Simple Little Vegan Slow Cooker by Michelle A. Rivera

This delicious dish is full of vegetables and whole wheat deliciousness. If you add cauliflower to the mix, you get an extra boost of iron (the vitamin C in the cauliflower allows your body to absorb the non-heme iron in the whole wheat pasta.

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Slow Cooker Vegan Spanish Rice

Slow Cooker Spanish Rice (Vegan)

Slow Cooker Spanish Rice

adapted from The Simple Little Vegan Slow Cooker by Michelle A. Rivera

This deliciously colourful dish pairs well with black beans to shut up anybody who asks, “where do vegans get their protein?”)

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Meal Plan #1

Meal Plan #1

Meal Planning is one of the best things you can do to stay healthy and eat nutritiously. It does take a bit of time, but you do it once, and then it will save you hours each week.

Lucky you, though, you don’t even have to come up with your own meal plans. Follow these ones instead (adapting as needed, or course)!

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Meal Plans, meal planning, recipes

Meal Planning Helps You Save Money, Time, and Sanity – and It’s Healthy, Too!

 

Meal Planning is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy diet (and save your sanity). It also happens to save money and waste, too. What’s not to like?

In the interest of reaching the best health of my life, I’m done with eating cereal for dinner (OK, maybe I’ll still do that sometimes) and arriving at dinner time frazzled because I don’t know what I’m going to make today.

So, for the next few weeks, I’ll be creating meal plans, and I hope you join me in trying to do some meal planning of your own.

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cycletour

5 Lessons Learned from 500 Kilometers on bicycles (with 3 children 6 and under)

At the end of May 2016, my husband and I decided (somewhat spontaneously) to go on a 560-kilometer cycling trip with our three children (ages 6, 4, and 2).

My husband and I are adventurous people, but there’s no denying that adding children to the mix puts a bit of a damper on how adventurous people become. Recently, my husband and I started thinking, however, that this damper is imposed by society, rather than by any real circumstances.

After all, people all over the world live without the luxuries and routines to which we have become accustomed, and their children seem to fare just fine (as do the parents).

So, despite negativity from some, we packed up our things and set off on the road. It was a wonderful adventure, and we learned a great deal.

Here are five life lessons learned from 557 Kilometers on bicycles (with three children six and under).

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Cycle Touring with kids in beautiful Prince Edward County

Cycling beautiful Prince Edward County

One of the most rewarding things about setting out on a cycling adventure with my family was seeing the beauty of the natural Ontario world, which escapes us when we drive down the 401. We live next door to gorgeous Prince Edward County, but rarely take the time to visit it or to truly take in the beauty of Lake Ontario.

Me, my husband, and three children (ages 6, 4, and 2), left Kingston, Ontario, on May 28th, and started riding our bicycles. On May 28th, we cycled from Kingston to Bath, On, and enjoyed the little town of Bath on May 29th, before continuing to Picton, where we spent the night.

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