• Get Fit In Your Living Room

    Jan 15, 2018

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    It’s hard enough getting to the gym in the sunny summer months, much less in the dark of winter. Good thing you can get in a killer workout without leaving the comfort of home. Even if you have nothing more than your own body and a pair of leggings, an intense workout is totally possible. To help get your heart rate up this season without leaving the house, Timbercreek brings you this list of living room workouts to help you get (or stay) fit this winter.

    HIIT

    High Intensity Interval Training is a system that revolves around short bursts of high intensity exercise followed by less intense periods of pseudo-rest. Nearly any exercise can be used, and while varied, standard intervals consist of 30 seconds of intensity, followed by a minute of low-activity rest. Think 30 seconds of jump squats followed by 1 minute of medium to low level jumping jacks. HIIT gets the heart rate up quickly and keeps it up, without the need for traditional exercises like running or a stairmaster. It's great for cardio and it activates the “Afterburn” effect where calories keep burning long after you’re done.

    Tabata

    A version of HIIT training, Tabata is a fitness system that’s as simple as it is effective. The basics involve 20 seconds of intense exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Start with any group of 4 exercises (let’s say push ups, sit ups, jumping jacks and squats). Do the first for 20 intense seconds. Then rest for 10. Then repeat with the second, third, and fourth exercises. You then repeat that round of 4 anywhere from 4 to 8, or 10 times. It’s fast. Intense. And effective.

     

    Body Weight

    With just the weight of your body, you can get a killer workout. Exercises like squats, lunges (or jumping lunges), jumping jacks, running on the spot, and step-ups improve cardio and isolate your legs, butt, calves, and core; mountain climbers, sit-ups, leg-raises, and crunches target your abs; push ups and planks hit the triceps, chest, shoulders, abs, and back; while all of it, done in sets with no or little rest (as above), collectively get your heart rate up for cardio.

    Crossfit

    A variation on Tabata and HIIT, Crossfit combines an enormous array of exercises into a single system. With core exercises like the clean and jerk, chin up, push up, and squat, crossfit employs myriad (and sometimes tricky) variants (i.e. the rope climb) to get practitioners fit by applying and incorporating exercises from different sports and traditions. Check out their workout of the day.

    Pilates and Yoga

    Less intense options that still offer fitness, flexibility, and mental rejuvenation, Pilates and Yoga focus on holding static postures which simultaneously build strength and pliable muscles. A great option for indoor workouts in winter.

    Timbercreek hopes that this article helps you stay fit this winter in the comfort of your living room. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • 5 Ways to Keep Your Decor Cozy and Beautiful in January

    Jan 09, 2018

    There’s nothing like a warm and cozy space to come home to on a cold winter’s night. Your decor choices can go a long way. Accents, colors, blankets, and decor all contribute to the perceived warmth of a space. To help outfit your home or apartment with seasonal yet cozy accents, Timbercreek brings you this list of ways to keep your decor cozy and beautiful in January.

    Greenery

    One of the best things about Christmas is the abundance of greenery. While trees dry out, pine and cedar boughs tend to last. Leave them up on the mantle after the holidays, or make an arrangement in a vase. Try tying a few boughs together into a bouquet and hang it on the wall or place it decoratively on a coffee or side table.

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    White

    White instills a clean, fresh look that while reminiscent of winter, actually does a lot to bring not only warmth but fashionable, bright, monochromatic accents to a space. It just so happens that white is Benjamin Moore’s colour of the year.

    Birch and Wood Accents

    Another fantastic Christmas carryover is wood. Whether birch, pine, or cedar, wood accents are always a cozy addition to a room and normally available well past the holidays. Toss some birch logs into a basket, make a faux fire by piling logs into a pyramid, or get a birch candle for the mantel.

    Area Rug

    Say no to cold floors. It doesn’t matter how thick your socks are, cold hardwood is cold hardwood. Warm up your floors, be they linoleum or brushed concrete, with an area rug. It doesn’t have to be Persian or monstrous. A square of plush softness can do wonders for not only your feet, but the appearance of coziness.

    Lighting

    Another constant key to keeping a space warm and inviting is lighting. Avoid harsh fluorescents and make sure your bulbs are the proper wattage for every fixture. Even the eco-bulbs can be warm with the right lamp shade. Pick up some full-spectrum bulbs to combat the darkness, or try the clear, exposed filament style ones to add ambiance and that cozy orange glow.

    Timbercreek hopes that this article helps you keep your decor cozy this January. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Kickstart Your 2018 New Year's Resolutions: Recipes

    Jan 02, 2018
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    Eating healthy has always been a popular New Year’s resolution. If it's on your list in 2018, Timbercreek wants to help you make eating well easy with this list of simple healthy recipes that taste amazing.

    Shredded Kale and Pistachio Salad

    This super green salad will keep you on the right track. Wash fresh kale, stem and de-vein the leaves, and julienne into thin slices. Add diced avocado, cubed bell pepper, and cherry tomatoes. Dress with 4:1 olive oil to balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, lemon juice, a crushed garlic clove, and a touch of honey or maple syrup. Garnish with shelled, chopped pistachios and serve.

    Roasted Chicken Legs with Spicy Root Veg and Roasted Onions

    This hearty tasting meal is actually light and balanced. Season 1 chicken leg per person with salt and pepper and set aside. Precook thickly diced root veg (potato, beets, pumpkin or squash) until soft. Season with salt and pepper, chili pepper, and toss until covered. Lay evenly across the bottom of a baking dish. Place seasoned chicken evenly over top of the veg bed. Chop red onions into quarters, and place in remaining holes in baking dish. Bake at 350-400F for an hour. An easy all-in-one meal with minimal prep time.

    Barley With Sautéed Leeks, Peas, And Parsley

    This vegetarian entree is packed  with fiber and protein. Precook your barley (like you would rice). Chop leeks and parsley, parboil or microwave peas (or shuck if fresh), and combine all together in a pan with 2 tbsp olive oil and one clove of crushed garlic. Pour the sauteed veg over top of the barley once cooked, or add the barley to the pan and sautée everything to combine the ingredients. Add tofu or grilled chicken for a bigger protein punch.  Learn more here.

    Herbed Hummus

    Don’t underestimate the versatility and ease of hummus. Make the base by combining drained chickpeas, 2 cloves garlic, ½ cup (or to taste) tahini, ¼-½ cup lemon juice, and then add in the herb(s) of your choice. Our faves include cilantro, rosemary, dil, thyme and basil.  Other spices like cayenne or paprika, and flavourful cheeses like parmigiano reggiano pack a punch. Read more.

    Green Smoothies

    The perfect New Year’s Resolution drink, green smoothies are easy, versatile, and taste great. You can successfully combine almost any fruit and veg.  Even raw seeds and grains, especially oats, flax, chia and sunflower seeds, work well.  A ½ cup of protein powder also adds a flavour kick that will help you stay full from breakfast to lunch. For a great starter green smoothie, combine a handful of baby spinach, a frozen banana, 1 cup of frozen strawberries or other berries, milk or juice. Delicious!

    Rainbow Veggie Wrap

    Wraps are great for a quick lunch on the go.we love this rainbow wrap recipe because it's full of veggies. To make it, julienne your choice of veg like bell peppers, cucumber, zucchini, celery, carrot, avocado, even broccoli works. Start with a wrap, add some mustard, mayo, or hummus, apply a big leaf of romaine, kale or iceberg lettuce, then throw down your veg and wrap up. A healthy and tasty lunch that comes together in a blink. Learn more.

    Yam Soup with Kale and Spinach

    A beautifully coloured soup that’s as warm and cozy as it is healthy. Boil a few yams and lightly sautée a few leaves of kale and spinach with diced garlic in olive oil or butter. Pile all of it into a blender, add salt and pepper to taste in addition to a bit of chicken stock or water to thin if required. Heat once blended thoroughly and serve.

    Granola-Yogurt Parfait

    This simple, tasty breakfast (or snack) is lightning fast to make and can help you lose weight. Combine layers of raspberries, yogurt, and low-fat granola in a champagne flute or another tall glass. Find out more.

    Timbercreek hopes that these easy and healthy recipes make healthy eating a part of your routine in 2018. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Winterize Your Pet

    Dec 19, 2017

    They might have a furry coat, but your pet can still get very cold in the winter. It never hurts to keep them safe and warm any way you can. Timbercreek Communities is here to help you with tips for how to winterize your pet.

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    Pet Jackets

    When it’s really cold outside, you wouldn’t dream of venturing out without a coat on. Why should your dog have to? Smaller dogs, with a higher ratio of body weight to body surface, lose heat easily. Doggie jackets and vests are available in a wide variety of sizes and styles to suit your shepherd or schnauzer.

    Pet Shoes

    Along with all the winter snow, comes all that winter ice, sand and salt. Salt does a great job of melting the ice, but it can do a number on a dog’s tender paws. If your pet ingests any of the salt by licking it’s sore paws, it can also get a tummy ache. Protect your pooch’s paws with a pair of boots or waterproof rubber socks. If your dog refuses to wear boots, make sure to rinse their feet thoroughly after contact with sand or salt.

    Invisible Boots

    Getting a dog to wear booties when they don’t want to wear is as easy as a magic trick. Fortunately, there is nothing magic about invisible boots. It’s actually a nontoxic wax that's rubbed on and in-between a dog's paws. Musher’s Secret was originally developed to soothe and protect the paws of hardworking Canadian sled dogs. The wax-based cream is easy to apply, moisturizes and helps to heal wounds. It’s useful year round as it also protects paws from hot pavement in the summertime.

    Identification Collars

    An ID collar is a must-have for any dog or cat, but never more so than in the winter. When temperatures drop, your pet is at an increased risk of harm. It’s important to locate them as soon as possible if they run away. No one ever plans on their pet getting lost, but with a little precaution and planning, you can make the unthinkable much easier to deal with. Reflective collars are easier to see in the snow and easier for drivers to see.

    Timbercreek wishes you and your pet a happy and healthy winter! To find your home with Timbercreek Communities, please visit our website.

  • Creative Christmas Tree Decorating Ideas

    Dec 12, 2017

    The holiday season is a busy time for all of us. With all the hustle and bustle, it can be easy to forget to slow down and breathe. Carve out an hour for yourself to create some fun DIY craft decor at home. Timbercreek Communities has some creative Christmas tree decorating ideas for you!

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    Pinecone Christmas Tree

    Don't waste your money on ornaments this year, decorate you Christmas tree with pinecones instead! It sounds strange but it totally works! To create a Pinecone Christmas Tree you’ll need craft glue, a paintbrush, glitter, a bowl, hot glue gun, mini glass balls or beads, twine, a needle and thread and scissors. Brush the craft glue over the tips of the pinecone scales. Spoon the glitter onto the scales, over a bowl. Use hot glue to create drop ornaments of pinecones of descending size. Glue the ball between each pinecone. For the garland, string small pinecones together with heavy duty thread and a strong needle. Alternate with red and green beads between each pinecone until the desired length is reached. The best part about making your own ornaments is that you'll cherish them for years to come.

    Treeless Ladder Tree

    If you think buying a real Christmas tree is wasteful, you are not alone! But there's something undeniably magical about them. This year, skip the tree and decorate a ladder instead for the same warm and cozy effect! This Treeless Ladder Tree is created by stringing lights, twiggy garlands, Hydrangeas and selected greens around an old wooden step ladder! There are no rules,  just pure creativity. Have a look around your apartment and grab anything festive that you think would look nice on your ladder. Think tone and texture rather than rhyme or reason. Have fun!

    DIY Clay Star Tree

    Create your own Christmas magic with these DIY Clay Stars for your Christmas tree. Start by rolling out the clay with a rolling pin. Use a star-shaped cookie cutter to cut the clay. Remember to remove the excess clay around the edges before removing the cutter. This helps to keep the edges clean and reduces warping. Use a toothpick to make a hole at the top of the star where you can put string or ribbon through once the clay is out of the oven and cooled.

    Children's Tree

    This is a great DIY project if you have kids or nieces and nephews. They will love helping you create felt animal ornaments to put on the tree this year. Start by downloading and printing the free template. You can adjust the size of the templates to fit your tree and your taste. Cut out two of each template -- one that shows the black outline and one that omits it. Pin the black outline template to some light coloured felt. Trace it with a disappearing-ink pen, then cut out. Pin and trace the other template twice on some coloured felt. Remove the template and cut out. Once you're done, hang the felt ornaments from gold or silver thread. Adorable!

    Happy Holidays from Timbercreek! We hope you give these creative DIY christmas tree decorating ideas a try this holiday season. To find your home with Timbercreek Communities, please visit our website.
  • Indoor Plants That Will Make it Through Winter

    Nov 28, 2017

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    Indoor plants can be life-enhancing. They clean the air, provide a beautiful splash of colour, and it’s always super satisfying to nurture something and watch it grow. During the winter, keeping indoor plants healthy and happy can become difficult. The short days mean many plants receive too little light to survive and the heated, dry, indoor air doesn’t help either. It is possible to enjoy some thriving greenery all year long. It’s all about choices. To help you keep your green thumb year-round, Timbercreek Communities has put together this shortlist of indoor plants that will make it through the winter.

    Aloe Vera

    In addition to its many medicinal benefits, the Aloe Vera plant is a hardy and attractive succulent that is easy to care for. It doesn’t require a lot of light. It thrives in indirect light or even artificial light. Make sure you plant them in well-draining potting mix designed for succulents as a lack of drainage can cause root rot. Water them deeply but allow a couple of inches of soil to dry between waterings, and water even less during winter.

    Areca Palm

    The Areca Palm is big, bold and impressive plant. It features large fronds, each with up to 100 leaflets. They are easy to care for. The soil should be a little dry between waterings in fall and winter, making them perfect for the dry, indoor air. 

    Jade

    Another hearty succulent, Jade plants are easy to care for and will live a long time with little attention. Again, let the soil dry during the winter and avoid getting the leaves wet when watering. If you notice brown spots on the leaves, or the leaves start to shed, more water is required.

    Peace Lily

    The Peace Lily is well known for its hardy and forgiving nature. They will let you know when they need water by their telltale droop. This tropical plant thrives in shade and low light, and is one of the best air-cleaning plants available. It’s an ideal indoor winter plant.

    Snake Plant 

    Another easy-to-care-for plant that is also a top-notch air purifier is the Snake Plant. It’s named for its long, straight, slender and colourful leaves. These plants can be left alone, in low light for weeks at a time and still thrive! Let the soil dry out between waterings and let them do their thing!

    Timbercreek hopes that you invest in these great indoor plants that will make it through the winter. Care for them and they will help you thrive this winter! To find your home in one of Timbercreek’s Communities, please visit our website.

  • Decorating your Home for the Holidays

    Nov 21, 2017

    The holidays are fast approaching! Deck the halls, the walls and the table with festive holiday decor that is easy and cheap to create yourself. Timbercreek Communities wants to help put you in the Holiday spirit with some ideas for decorating your home for the Holidays.

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    Peppermint Twist

    Adorn your door or any wall in your apartment with this festive and easy-to-make Peppermint Wreath! All you’ll need is some red or white duct tape, a Styrofoam wreath form, floral wire, a few bags of peppermint candies, ribbon, tape and glue.

    Non-Electric Light Garland

    Capture the festive glow of holiday lights without electricity with this Vintage-Look Holiday Light Garland. It’s made by dipping inexpensive bulbs in craft paint to create the illusion of illumination! Wait until the paint dries, glue the bulbs to tinsel, and string it up wherever you like!

    Snow Terrarium

    In just a few minutes you can create your own Holiday Snow Terrarium! This lovely display is made by filling old Apothecary Jars with faux snow, mini-lights and decorative pieces of your choice! You’ll love the warm and festival glow they create in any room, and the glow they give to others when you give them as gifts!

    Put On a Pot of Potpourri

    This recipe for potpourri isn’t a decoration, exactly - although it’s beautiful and full of colour! Decorating your home for the holidays is all about creating a warm, cozy and inviting atmosphere. A big part of creating that atmosphere is the aroma. The smell of cinnamon and spices, vanilla, cranberry, tangerine, and pine gently warming on the stove will tie together the overall feeling you’ve created with the decor!

    Happy Holidays from Timbercreek! To find your home on one of Timbercreek’s Communities across Canada, please visit our website.

  • Why And How To Buy Organic On A Budget

    Sep 26, 2017

    There are many benefits to eating organic. Fruits and veggies that are certified organic are grown with limited pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Organic produce is not irradiated and the seeds are chemical and GMO free. Animal products sold as organic means the animal was not given antibiotics or growth hormones. It means that they were fed with organic feed and were not medicated, except for vaccinations or for specific illness.

    There are many environmental benefits of organic farming. It makes for cleaner groundwater and healthier soil. It reduces non-renewable energy inputs and can reduce the greenhouse effect and climate change by sequestering carbon in the soil. Overall, organic farming can lead to stronger biodiversity and greater sustainability. The benefits are clear, but they also cost more. Timbercreek Communities wants to help you buy organic on a budget.

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    Join a co-op

    Becoming a member of a co-op can help reduce your grocery costs and help connect you with you local food community. Membership fees and/or volunteer hours help to keep overhead costs down and provide local and organic food at fair prices.

    Delivery services

    Organic delivery services can ensure that a steady supply of organic food arrives at your door, often for a lower price than large grocery stores. SPUD services several cities in western Canada, including Calgary and Edmonton. In the Toronto area, Wanigan Organics provides weekly or bi-weekly deliveries of package deals as well as custom orders.  Look for a provider near you, including Fresh Option in Winnipeg,  Ecollegey in Montreal and HGOF in Halifax.

    Shop smart with an affordable food list

    Knowing what to buy and what not to buy is crucial to keeping your grocery bill under control. Not everything has to be organic. The thick peel of produce, such as avocados and bananas, protects the flesh from absorbing agricultural chemicals. Be sure to wash the peel first, as the chemicals can be transferred as you cut into it. To help simplify, buy organic on the Dirty Dozen and save money going conventional on the Clean 15 -- the fruits and vegetables that are the most and least contaminated by pesticide use, according to the Environmental Working Group.

    Timbercreek hopes this post helps you buy organic on a budget! To find your home in one of Timbercreek’s Communities across Canada, please visit our website.

  • Petiquette 101: Safer Ways to Prevent Fleas and Ticks

    Sep 25, 2017

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    Fleas and ticks are not only irritating and unpleasant for your furry friends, they can infiltrate your home and are capable of transmitting disease. Many control and treatment products contain chemicals that can be toxic to you and your pet. How do you balance the risks posed by fleas and ticks with the risks of the repellents? Timbercreek Communities want to help with our best advice for safer ways to prevent fleas and ticks.

    Talk to Your Vet

    Before making any decisions about flea and tick control, talk to your vet. They can help you make the best decision for your pet and your whole family. You may want to consider orally administered products to limit your family’s exposure to toxic compounds.

    Citrus Juice

    Fleas are not fans of citrus. Squeezing some lemon, orange, or grapefruit juice on your dog’s fur can get rid of the blood suckers. Be careful to avoid your pet’s eyes and remember that lemon juice may lighten darker hair.

    Regular Baths

    A warm bath can help get rid of fleas and prevent them from returning. Existing fleas will fall off into the water and fleas are less attracted to cleaner animals. You may want to try a peppermint shampoo for a bit of extra protection. Place your pet on a lightly coloured towel after the bath (to better see any remaining fleas), and use a flea comb dipped in soapy water.

    Clean Your Home

    Regular, thorough cleaning of your home can help control fleas and ticks. Vacuum often and change your bedding and your pet’s bedding, regularly.

    Essential Oils

    Some essential oils like geranium, lemongrass, catnip oil or neem may help repel fleas and ticks, as well as mosquitoes and other pests. Be sure to choose high quality oils that can be applied topically.

    Timbercreek hopes this post helps you make safer choices while caring for all the members of your family. To find your home in one of Timbercreek’s Communities across Canada, please visit our website.

  • Small Space Home Offices

    Jul 24, 2017

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    The home office is becoming more of a must have than ever. Whether you work from home full-time, telecommute a few days a week, or you just want to have a space to sit and work on creative projects -- a home office is just what you need. Even if you don’t have the luxury of a full spare room to dedicate as a home office, you still have a lot of options. Timbercreek is here to help you explore some cool ideas for small space home offices.

    Floating shelves

    Floating shelves are simply amazing. They provide a simple and clean way to create a workspace without taking up too much space or making your space feel heavy. A folding chair, kitchen chair or even a yoga ball can be the perfect seat when you need one, and more importantly a seat that you can put away when you don’t.

    Don't Overlook Corners

    You don’t need a spare room to create a home office. All you need to do is get a bit creative with how you use your current space. Take advantage of every square inch and leave no stone unturned in your search for free space. Check every corner. A spare corner can be the perfect spot to set up shop.

    Don’t Be Overwhelmed

    The idea of a big, old-fashioned dark wood desk that you can put your feet up on may be appealing in your mind, but can be quite imposing in your home - even if you have the space for it. Opt for light-coloured, modern furniture that won't overwhelm.

    Office With A View

    Whether you are writing a novel or doing data-entry, it’s nice to be able to look up from your computer screen and stare off into the distance. It’s good for your eyes to take a break, too. Follow the 20-20-20 rule. To prevent eye strain, every 20 minutes look up from the screen and look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Setting up a small desk or folding table in front of a bedroom window is a great way to give yourself an office with a view.

    Closet Office

    Even if you have a spare room to dedicate to a home office, you may want to consider creating a closet office instead. When your work day is done, simply close the closet door and separate your work and home life. Plus, you still have a spare room for guests or a second bedroom.

    Your friends at Timbercreek hope that these productive ideas for small space home offices help to increase your productivity without overly decreasing your living space.

    To find your home in one of Timbercreek’s Communities across Canada, please visit our website.

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