Courtesy of Kevin Kelly

Kevin's Mini Mag

Volume 15 | Number 6


If you’re one of the many people who have started working remotely over the past couple of years, you’ve likely realized that living close to the office is further down your priority list. But is moving to a smaller city or town the right choice for you? Here are three pros and three cons to help you make the decision. • Pro: More affordable housing is one of the biggest reasons people move out of the city.

• Con: House prices are on the rise even in smaller towns, so you may not find as big of a deal as you’re hoping for. Pro: Smaller municipalities have much less traffic congestion. Con: There may be less traffic, but the option to take public transit will likely also be gone – meaning you’ll probably need to own a vehicle. Pro: Living in a small town often means the great wide open is only a hop, skip and jump away. In fact, you may need to only drive a few minutes before you’re out in the country. • Con: Smaller cities and towns won’t have the same amenities and entertainment options as a big city. But they often have smaller community events that can be just as enjoyable! • • •



1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional

2-1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)

Pinch sea salt

1/2 cup chia seeds

3 to 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup, honey, or agave


1. Pour the almond milk into a jar, or sealable container, followed by the chia seeds, pure maple syrup, vanilla extract, and sea salt.

2. Secure the lid firmly on the jar and shake well until the contents are well combined.

3. Refrigerate the pudding overnight, or until very thick, at least 4 hours. If possible, stir once or twice throughout the chilling process. 4. Once the pudding is thick, taste it for flavor and add sweetener to taste. Serve with your choice of fresh fruit, nuts, and/or granola.


An American author and journalist, Jeannette Walls was born in 1960 and is widely known as a former gossip columnist and author of the memoir The Glass Castle . Published in 2005, The Glass Castle was on the New York Times’ Best Seller List for 421 weeks and details her nomadic childhood, which included several periods of homelessness, but also her ability to work her way through university and eventually graduate with honours. Her first novel, Half Broke Horses, is based on the life of her grandmother.


WHAT’S MY HARDINESS ZONE? If you’re new to gardening and have never heard of hardiness zones, you’re going to want to learn about them before getting started. Growing plants that don’t thrive in your specific climate can lead to disappointment. Knowing your hardiness zone is the best way to set yourself up for success. In Canada there are ten zones, which are further split into A or B. For example, the coldest zones are 0a and 0b and can be found across the northern part of most of the provinces – excluding the Maritimes, as well as across all three territories. Meanwhile, the highest numbered zone is the southern tip of Vancouver Island at 9a. These numbers coordinate with the information you can find on plant labels and seed packages.

If you find a plant you’d like to add to your yard or garden, you’ll need to ensure it can survive in your zone. Of course, these numbers mostly apply to shrubs, trees and perennials because they need to survive through the winter. You can still plant something rated for a much higher zone if you only want to enjoy it for the summer season. However, if you’re someone who feels sad when something you’ve planted and cared for doesn’t come back in the spring, sticking to your zone number is the best choice for you. Another way to incorporate plants that prefer higher zone numbers is to create a microclimate in your outdoor space. Microclimates are made by using other plants and forms of shelter to replicate a warmer zone. Also, greenhouses are always an option!


Ask nearly anyone who has a pet, and they’ll tell you pets are more than just an animal we live with. Pets – especially cats and dogs – are our family members. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that more and more homebuyers are looking for a pet-friendly space. If you also have a pet and are thinking of renovating before listing, consider these three pet-friendly upgrades. They’re sure to woo any buyer who considers the needs of their furry companion to be just as important as their own.

1. A well-designed mudroom. Pets – much like children – are known to bring the outside world indoors on a regular basis. A mudroom with tiled floors, perhaps even partially tiled walls, is easy to clean when it comes to muddy paw prints. If you have space in your mudroom for a sink or doggy shower – even better! 2. A pet nook. You’ve heard of a reading nook, but how about a pet nook? If there’s a small area of your home such as under the stairs or in an unused corner, consider creating a mini pet retreat.

Place their bed in the nook as well as their food and a basket of toys. It will keep the rest of your home looking neater if you have all your pet stuff in one area. 3. A “catio.” Let ’s not forget about our feline companions. Indoor cats deserve to have some fresh air too, of course you wouldn’t want them wandering away. A cat patio, or “catio,” is an enclosed space in your yard where a cat can wander and bask in the sun safely.

RIVER RIDDLE Courtesy of Four people need to cross a dark river at night. They have only one torch and the river is too risky to cross without the torch. If all people cross simultaneously, the torch light won’t be sufficient.

The speed of each person of crossing the river is different. The cross time for each person is 1 minute, 2 minutes, 7 minutes and 10 minutes. What is the shortest time needed for all four of them to cross the river?

across, 2 comes back. 7 and 10 go across, 1 comes back. 1 and 2 go across.)

Answers: 17 minutes (1 and 2 go

WORD SEARCH Try to find all of the hidden

Word List

• Bloom • Butterfly • Cloudy • Farmer • Garden • Grow • Petals • Rainbow • Storm • Umbrella • Vacation • Warm

words inside the puzzle. (Words can be spelled forwards, backwards, diagonally, up or down.)

Courtesy of



The most well-known way to save money on any home renovation project is to do it yourself. But what if you don’t have the skills? The secret is to find a contractor who will work with you to save money in other areas. The most important aspect of taking this approach when renovating is to maintain open and honest communication with your contractor from the start. Tell them what your budget is and ask how you can work together to achieve that amount. If they seem reluctant or won’t answer you directly, they likely aren’t the right contractor for you. Once you’ve found a professional who is happy to work within your budget, ask them how you can help reduce costs. For example,

even if you don’t know how to install kitchen cabinets, you may be perfectly comfortable removing your old ones and transporting them off-site. Ask your contractor what other site prep you can tackle before they arrive, because the less they have to do the less it will cost you. You might also not know how to tile a floor, but if your contractor is willing to let you source and deliver the materials to the construction site that can save on labour. You can keep the material cost low by shopping on local buy and sells – where people often list items remaining from their own projects. But while many of these cost-saving approaches still take time, they certainly don’t require the same skillset needed to fully DIY a reno.


One of the reasons rustic design can be hard to pin down is that it actually plays a role in many of today’s most popular design styles. For example, modern farmhouse, shabby chic and Scandinavian all have rustic elements woven into them. Aside from homes already embracing these common rustic-loving styles, the well worn, warm and cozy vibe can be added to any interior space using these four guiding principles. 1. Use real wood that is textured instead of smooth. Avoid adding manufactured wooden furniture and accessories. Choose real wood with texture – even imperfections. 2. Incorporate elements from nature. One of the main features of a rustic space is that it brings the feeling of the outside world indoors. Think dried flowers, shed antlers and artwork featuring plants and animals. 3. Focus on simple lines. Rustic design tends to let the materials do the talking and avoids overly complicated lines and fussy details.

4. Buy handmade items or make them yourself. The cozy feeling that rustic spaces embody often comes from handmade, unique and not-quite-perfect items.

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