World’s Best Bean Salad

This week I promised happy….so here we go.

Okay, I realize that ‘best bean salad’ seems like an oxymoron. But I promise you this is friggen delicious. Admittedly, I am a bit of a creature of habit. My breakfast, snacks, and lunch might the the same for a whole week and that is totally fine for me because I am a busy momma who just needs to be nourished. I will work on nourished and variety some other time in my life. This week, this week was bean salad week. This recipe makes 4-5 servings which is perfect because 15 minutes on Sunday made my week of lunches. Some weeks I win with meal prepped lunches and homemade granola bars and other weeks I eat toast. Can’t win em’ all.

If you have read some of these posts before…you’ll know I love me a good gadget (read all about my love here). This summer I added a new gadget to my life….well perhaps new and                            improved. I had the Tupperware turbo chopper and I upgraded to a bigger one so that I will never Tupperware chopperhave to chop another onion in my life. $100 is the small price to pay to not have your eyeballs bleed and mascara fall off your face. Conveniently, it also makes meal prep super quick if you have to chop any veggies.




So here we go…

Bean Salad:

Drain and rinse one can of each:
Black beans

A red pepper (or yellow or orange, whatever is in the fridge)

A red onion
½ to 1 jalapeno peppers (depends how spicy you like things, I usually use 1 and its still not overly spicy, try to chop finely!)

Dressing: (I usually make this first so its cooled by the time I am done with making it)
½ cup sugar
½ cup vinegar
3/4 cup oil (peanut, canola, avacado, etc. The olive oil tastes a bit funky in this so I wouldn’t recommend it). If you like things more tart than sweet, up your vinegar a bit!

Bring to boil the sugar and vinegar, cool then add oil and mix with salad. Add some chopping cilantro if you like it.




As I sit here to write this post I struggle to write anything. I have struggled for a while. The world has been especially plagued over the past couple of months with acts of hatred and death tolls that I never imagined to even be possible. Natural disasters that have ruined homes and families and taken lives. And as of yesterday, the loss of a Canadian icon who in the grand scheme of things is just one person compared to the aforementioned significant tragic losses of 100’s of lives, but we lost what he represented – unity and hope. And at this time in our lives, we need that, a lot of it. How do you follow that with a post about your top ten favorite movies or hair products? You can’t.

I struggle to write about anything that could possibly seem worthwhile right now when there is a world full of hell closing in on us and world leaders that are making sure it stays in your face everyday by using social media as not just a way to communicate but to spread their childish shit. Imagine thinking there would ever be a day where people actually used a forum that only gave you 140 characters to speak in as a professional mode of communication. Or that you would ever have a world leader communicating with people where it involved a hashtag or an emoji.

What I should have written about today are healthy Halloween treats or something nice and happy. But I can’t. Maybe tomorrow, but today I can’t. I guess at the end of the day, we need people to continue being positive and inspiring to make up for the complete and utter deficit that is happening everywhere around us.

I will, however, leave you with this. So you don’t feel extra depressed after reading this post. How adorable is my little gnome circa 2015.



Berry picking- NWT style

One of my favourite things about fall in the north are all the pumpkin spiced lattes. Just kidding. We  don’t have a Starbucks.

For real, one of the most fun things is being outside in the beautiful coloured trees and soaking up the fresh air before the snow flies. When I first heard about cranberry picking, I was confused. Didn’t those things only grow in a bog? Like Ocean Spray cranberry juice ads? Apparently, there is a northern cranberry that grows on the ground! Hooray! A fall activity that us northern folk can participate in.

Every ‘knifer has a secret ‘spot’ to pick berries. I was lucky enough to be privy to a spot close-ish to Yellowknife that an elder told a coworker of mine. My class and I (with other adults) took on cranberry picking a few weeks ago at this location and it was a cranberry landmine. I have since gone back twice more- and willing to go again if there are any takers! 

My cranberry action plan this year is make cranberry sauce! I have a fail proof recipe (thanks HW!) and here it is… all 4 ingredients!

  • 3 cups cranberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar (i know….)
  • small orange chopped finely

Bring to a boil until the cranberries pop (about ten minutes). Add a little bit of corn starch if necessary. 

Could a recipe be any easier?! Happy Fall and enjoy all your fun outdoor activities!

P.S. I wrote this a few weeks ago and it’s no longer fall in Yellowknife. There has been a light dusting of snow all weekend, so I guess my berry picking days are done for another year. Made killer cranberry sauce this weekend for Thanksgiving though!


Grief 2.0

Spoiler alert, there is no real thesis in this post. English gurus would say I need one but sometimes thoughts don’t make total sense. And today, here are my thoughts.

photo cred: Brady McCloskey Photography

With grief on my mind this week, as it’s the 2nd anniversary of my dad’s passing; I think about the victims, families, helpers, witnesses, and everyone in Las Vegas. Thousands of people are heartbroken, confused, upset and mourning. I remember the extreme difficulty of the days, weeks and months after Dad died and now I feel helpless in knowing there are so many more people who are in that situation right now around the world.


I don’t know why the shooting in Las Vegas feels more…. personal? (is that the word?) than other tragedies. Is it because I have been to Vegas and I love country music and I could see myself at a music venue? Is it because I have death on my mind this week anyway? Is it because it occurred on the heels of the terrorist attack in Edmonton, which is not that far from Yellowknife? Perhaps it is the combination of all. I find myself reading articles about the victims, the heroes and the aftermath of a mass tragedy.

Jimmy Buffett concert, Vegas, Fall 2013

As life passes, I forget details of the little things (what year I went to Bali, the address of my first apartment, etc.) but I don’t forget a lot. There are a few wow memories that I have with my Dad that I would like to share, to help me heal and to help all those who loved him too.

  • Waking him up at 5:17 am to get me to 5:30 am swim practices. This was such an act of love. Who wants to get up at that hour! (and then back at 7:00 to pick me up) But it’s a strong memory for me because we had fun on those rips to the pool and sometimes we would even run a red light or two….shhhh…  (Also, I was hardly an athlete so all these extra practices weren’t going to make or break my swim ‘career’. I could organize a hell of a bar/house crawl though. #goodatotherthings)
  • The first time he dropped an ‘F’ bomb. I was maybe 7 and he came home from work and there was no peanut butter left. I remember feeling shocked that my Dad knew how to swear.
  • His twitter account. When Dad got twitter, he liked to believe all the tweets he was reading were sent just to him. So in the mornings, he would say, “let’s see who tweeted me today”. His hashtag game was on point and his love of twitter was pure joy. 
  • Roadtrips. We went everywhere as a family. He (and momma!) instilled a love of travel in my siblings and I. To never stop exploring- be curious, be kind and be open to new things always.
  • His love. He loved life. He loved my momma, my sibs,his family and everyone I loved. One of my last great memories is when Jeff and I were home on PEI and we had a ‘drop in’ night at my parents place for my friends. He helped teach my friends how to shuck oysters, he had some drinks with us and it was so much fun. Having my parents, Jeff and friends all together at my childhood home was magical. What a night to remember- or forget. Dad was never stingy with the tequila in a margarita either.

 While we are all trying to get our heads around the horrible things going on around the world, let’s remember all the good things in the world too. I know this is far easier said than done on those extra tricky days. For all those who need it, I’m sending you love. Oh, and call your parents- tell them you love them.




Szen Zone : A Book Review

You know those people on instagram that claim their whole world runs smoother, more efficiently and just better because they start (or end) their day with some inspirational reading? I can only assume their lives are falling apart at the seams.

Alas, I decided to jump on this train anyway. I figured the worst case scenario would be a more productive life and increased positive vibes throughout the day. September always feels like the start of a new year for me (it’s a teacher thing I reckon) and since I have a new last name (Linnen) and new grade (junior kindergarten/kindergarten) I thought a new approach to positivity would only help me and my students. After looking at some options, the book Szen Zone by Gary Szenderski landed in my hands.

In the introduction, the author suggests reading the book however you want. Doesn’t have to be in order, just flip and stop at any page. I love this option when it comes to a book of short stories. It just feels more fun, am I right? This book is full of stories, insights and inspirational tales. Each section ends in a szenippet- aka a take away phrase to keep you thinking for the day. Or night. No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to find extra moments in the morning to read. I chose instead to end my day with a section from this book. We all know it’s better to end your day by looking at anything besides a screen, so I found this book a good way to wind down before sleep.

An underlying theme in this book is that change is constant. It is how we look at and react to these changes that can make the difference. The author says, “this book can help you establish the context and right frame of mind to embrace and manage change.”

positive vibes in cape breton

This book put positive thinking in the forefront of my mind. By being more aware of how I was personally reacting to change it made me realize I do have more control than perhaps I realized before. For that alone, I am happy I read this book.

While I was reading this book, I would chat about it to my friends and coworkers and it would spark conversations between us that we would not have otherwise. Getting other people’s perspectives on how they chose to react to change is interesting and I appreciated the organic conversations that came from things I read in the Szen Zone. 

Lastly, there were some sections of this book like I liked more than others. My one criticism would be that some of the sections were too short. The author quickly develops these character struggling in some aspect of life and then he gets to the moral of the story, where as I was often left wanting to know more. Where are they now, what happened since then, etc. I wanted the whole journey. I did, however, particularly enjoy the parts where empathy, encouragement and living life to the fullest were highlighted. For me, the fact that the reading each night wasn’t more than a few paragraphs kept me engaged and wanting to read more and it never felt like a chore.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who is seeking a little kick in the butt for starting a new chapter in their life or just want to infuse some positive reading into their day. Or if your life is literally falling apart at the seams. It’s easy, quick and encouraging.   On a scale of one to ten, I would give this book a solid 7. Happy reading my friends! 

Want to know more about the book, the author or his other book? Click here –> <–

Guess what?! We are doing a give away! One of our Facebook followers will have the chance to win a copy of this book. Be sure to ‘like’ our Facebook page for a chance to win.

Happy Blogiversary To Us!

Happy First Blogiversary to Ladies that Life!

Year one was a real learning curve. For two ladies who love to talk, talking about yourself and personal things is surprisingly difficult. The fear of being judged is a real thing, one that we are both still working on. Nonetheless, the blog has taken shape into something we are both really proud of and continue to be proud of post after post. We are beyond appreciative of all of the people out there who support this creative journey that we have embarked upon! Our grammar has also improved by at least 85%.

After a two month summer break, the Ladies that Life are back in action. As we launch into our second year of blogging, we have lots of great articles coming your way including more healthy recipes, posts about Janna’s wedding and even a give away or two. Stay tuned and check out the links below to catch up on some of our favorite articles from over the past year.

The Ten Year Old CEO 

Minimal Living 

Breastfeeding- Mind your own tits

What the eff is gluten?

A year of grief

Thank you to everyone for your continued support. We love love love feedback so if you have any article suggestions, want to contribute or just have something to say, email us-

Much love,



I need it for the kids: Tall tales of stocking the house with treats 24/7

Okay first thing is first. I must acknowledge summer has turned me into the world’s worst blogger. I can only hope our loyal fans are too busy to read as we are too busy to write. That too would be an excuse because we all have time…working on that. Onwards and upwards.

It may be no secret that I am indeed a Registered Dietitian, an opinionated one at that perhaps. Today I am here to share, yet another, opinion. This even borders on a rant. Okay it is a rant. Can we all cut the bull shit and stop saying we, as adults, are struggling to lead a healthier lifestyle/lose weight/control diabetes/blood pressure/fatty liver/etc. because the biggest hurdle is that avoiding treats is hard because our houses are stocked full of them FOR THE KIDS. Okay what!?

I literally hear this weekly, and now that summer has thankfully graced our lives, I hear it almost daily. The thing is, if you are struggling to lead a healthier lifestyle and eating almost the same food as your children are, would it not make sense that they will fall into the exact same pattern where they struggle with your exact same health issues!

Please, for the love of all that is good, stop stocking your house with treats. Set great examples of how to eat healthy and lead a healthy lifestyle. I promise, when treat night rolls around both you and your kids will actually appreciate the treat that much more! So goodbye chips, goodbye 2 for 1 ice cream sales, fruit gummies, and sweet, sweet cookies. You too fudge sticks and ice cream sandwiches, you too.

Here are some ideas for what to replace them with to make your entire household healthier!

70 Healthy On The Go Portable Snacks



The Ten Year Old CEO

 James F. Peggs. Remember that name because he is bound to change the world.

He’s a CEO, he works hard, he runs his own successful business and he just had his 10th birthday.

James moved to Yellowknife a few years ago with his family and noticed that there was lots of litter around the city. Yellowknife does not offer roadside pick up of recyclables. There are recycling centers but people are responsible for bringing (and sorting) their own items. James thought that was something he could help change, not to mention put a little money in his newly opened bank account. He put together a business plan and set out to make his mark. He presented his plan to his parents, who were very pleased and were willing to help him get started. The Recycling Guy was born. Two years later business is booming.

The Recycling Guy provides an amazing service. He charges $10/month for weekly pick up of all recyclables (no, you don’t have to sort them),  he provides you the bin to put the recycling in, and replaces it with a clean one each week. He is reliable, friendly, and accepts e-transfers (talk about convenience)! 

James can be found walking around his neighborhood in his high visibility vest and Recycling Guy hat, pulling his custom cart on Saturday afternoons. His parents happily and graciously donate their time (and gas) to drive James to the houses he can’t walk to with his cart. Once he gets home the sort begins in the family’s garage, which according to his dad smells less than enjoyable on those warm Yellowknife summer days. When he has everything ready to go, he heads to the Recycling Centre in Yellowknife. Due to the fact that he is so well organized, the crew working at the center often show off his sorting skills to other, less organized ‘knifers.

I had the chance to sit down with the 2016 Yellowknife Recycling Award winner and ask some of the burning questions that I thought the world must know about this pint sized CEO.

Favorite Food?  Marshmallows and Perogies (but not together)

Hobbies?  Lego, Soccer and Comics

Favorite School Subject? Gym and Math

What do you want to be when you grow up?? Pro Soccer player or an Author

Do you have any employees?  Sometimes I hire my 13-year-old brother Sam

How do you keep track of customers and payments?  My mom taught me how to use spreadsheets.

What is a negative about the Recycling business?  When people put old food in the bin. One time someone put his or her leftover pot roast dinner in there.

What do you do with all the money you make?

  •    10% of my earnings go to charity
  •    10% goes to my retirement
  •    Most goes to my car savings account
  •    I tip the guy who helps me at the Recycling Centre
  •    I always have a few dollars of walking around money just in case I find something in my travels worth buying

Have you ever found anything interesting in the bin? I like to collect bottle caps and I use the wine corks to make Christmas decorations for my customers and one time I found a skeleton arm, which I used to scare my dad.

What kind of car do you plan to buy (6 years from now)?  A Camaro or a Mustang.

Finally the most burning of questions……

What does the F in James F. Peggs stand for? My middle name is Fremont.

Speaking with James it was clear that his parents are doing a wonderful job of raising a respectful, polite and kindhearted young man. The world could use more kids like James, of that I have no doubt. If young Mr. Peggs is any indication of what the future has to hold for Canada I would say we are in very good shape. 

If you live in Yellowknife and would like to hire The Recycling Guy he can be contacted at the following email

He can also be contacted for one-time pick-ups after that big summer BBQ or backyard wedding.

Photo credit: Riley Veldhuizen

More of Rileys (amazing) photos can be found on her Instagram and Flickr pages!

why ya gotta be so critical, self?

 We have these rock star friends who recently moved north and turned their hobby (photography) into a business (MT Photography). We knew they would be great since they are our friends, but on top of that they were professional, funny and didn’t make it awkward at all. They had their work cut out for them as both Jeff and I are mega squinty smilers at the best of times, let alone the near blinding sun that still shines bright at 6 pm up here, in the land of the midnight sun.

Anyway. We wanted to have some engagement photos taken and seeing as its less than 8 weeks until our wedding, we had to get cracking. So, we made it happen. It was really fun. Before I knew it, we got our photos back and yay! we had our engagement photos.

As I showed them to people, the response was positive. (I mean, who is going to tell me to my face that I looked like garbage in those photos anyway ?!) At first I struggled to see what they saw. I totally and completely zoomed in and focused on all my flaws. Correction, what I saw to be my flaws. Why didn’t I initially see all the positives? Or the bursting happiness from two people about to be married?

Fast forward a day later. I had looked over the photos millions of times. And I started to realize I liked more and more of them. I began to see the positives over the negatives.

 But then I felt something…. guilt?….. for not being grateful and appreciative of the photos the first 100 times through. I still don’t understand it, but I know I love these photos and will be happy for a lifetime to have them. Thanks again MT Photography. Not only did you capture love and memories, but also for unknowingly giving me a harsh lesson in self love.

Next stop of this journey- wedding photos! J

school thoughts in june


As we wrap up the 2016/17 school year, it is time to countdown reflect. Let’s review the highlights….. (lowlights?)

Fidget spinners.  Assume all teachers hate them. Self regulation is big in schools these days (and it’s a good thing) and yes, fidget tools do exist. But, they are introduced as tools, not toys, and they come with certain expectations and rules. Fidget spinners on the other hand….. not my favourite. I’m hoping the buzz will be over by the fall. It has to be, right? 

Slime. I’m not sure when slime decided to take over as the ‘it’ thing to have at schools. Mixing random ingredients like glue, corn starch, glitter, conditioner, etc together and bringing it to school as a toy has also been hard on the head. I’m ready for the next DIY toy phase.

Donald Trump. If there is anything good that has come from American politics, it is this: kids are talking politics. They are asking questions that spark conversation: how did he get it? why don’t people like him? what were the other options? It’s been interesting to see students curious about politics. I’m digging that, not Trump. Let’s be crystal clear.

Hockey cards. One of my favourite things that my kiddos (aka my students) are currently into is hockey cards. They organically require skills in literacy, comparison, conversation, and on and on to ‘play’ hockey cards. I love watching them play, chat and discover cool things about their favourite players. It’s also a step up from Pokemon cards in my books!

home made slime…

THE END! And finally, how much I am going to miss them over the summer. Despite the craziness that is June, I will miss their stories, hugs, and inquisitive questions like why can’t we leave caterpillars in our hair? Why can’t we all come to your wedding? Do you think I can design your wedding dress?

Happy June everyone ! -J