My Summer has Ended

For me, Summer has ended.  I just recently returned from a weekend trip to Whistler, and that marks the end of my “summer days.”  I always try to plan a vacation in the month of September, when the weather is still nice, but not too hot.

This year, though, the weather stayed blazing hot, making it feel as though it were still August.  I don’t like the blazing hot sun… especially when the hotel you are staying at has no air-conditioning.  No A/C?  What???  Yes, I knew there would be no A/C.  I read many hotel reviews online, before selecting this hotel.  There were few complaints about this hotel, other than the lack of air-conditioning.  So why did we choose this hotel?  It had almost everything that we wanted, and the price was satisfactory to the wallet.  Who knew that Whistler in September would be between 28 to 31 degrees Celsius, at it’s high??  My family and I figured A/C would not be needed in September weather.  We were wrong.  Thank goodness for swimming pools.

Yes, swimming pools.  I haven’t been in a pool or large body of water since my honeymoon, in 2007.  YES, that long!  But in any case, out of desperation to cool down, some of us headed to the pool.  What fun!  And how hungry-inducing it was, too!  Yes, we burned calories, merely by splashing in the water – muscle-meets-resistance means very hungry people, afterwards.  But I’d rather be cool and hungry, than hot and cranky – which is what we were before splashing into the pool.  In any case, while we enjoyed our time in the pool, and cooled ourselves off in the water, it did not make up for the lack of A/C in our rooms.  But it did provide some reprieve.

So having said that, I am now revising my list of wants and needs, when booking accommodations for vacations and other trips.  Swimming pools are now a “want” (or bonus), and air-conditioning almost at a need.  The majority of customer reviews must be all positive, and the price must offer good value for the type of accommodation.  There are a few other points to my list, but they are mostly “wants” and not “needs”, depending on the type of vacation and who my vacation companions are.

In any case, my weekend and my Summer “ended” as we drove from blazing hot Whistler, to cloudy and windy Squamish, to rainy and cloudy Vancouver coast.  I look forward to pulling out my sweaters, jeans, boots, and scarves.  I welcome Fall weather.  I’ve had my fun in the sun, and now I await the cooler weather, and for the holidays that come with it!

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McDonald’s Coupons are In!

Woot, I love finding McDonald’s coupons in my mailbox!  Why?  Because that’s the only time I will ever go to McDonalds, is with a coupon (well, with the exception of when I’m on a road trip.  Road trips inevitably lead to fast-food meals).

My favourite purchase (with a coupon) at McDonald’s has to be their breakfasts.  I’m not fussy about the burgers, or McCafe drinks, but I do love their hasbrowns and Egg McMuffins, served with a nice hot coffee.  There’s something about their McMuffins that can’t be reproduced at home, in your very own kitchen.  Although, if anybody reading this has their own method of making an Egg McMuffin (from home), I’d appreciate the recipe.  I’m willing to keep trying!

In any case, McDonald’s breakfasts, here I come!  🙂

Summer Fresh Fruit

I love summertime for it’s abundance of fresh fruit.  Being on the West Coast in British Columbia, the weather is perfect for growing berries, fruit trees, and whatever else you can think of.  Fresh corn on the cob is also a favourite of mine.  The best way to eat summer fruit, is simply rinsed/washed, and then down into the tummy it goes!

A few places I’ve been to for picking fresh fruit, is Krause Berry Farms, and Dreidiger Farms,  There are also many other farms, of which I haven’t visited, some in Richmond, Delta, Surrey, and Maple Ridge.

Many years back, I’ve also frequented Meadows Maze, at least 3 or 4 times.   There are hay rides, a corn maze, petting zoo for small children, etc..  It’s a great place for adults who enjoy the challenge of getting lost in a maze, and a great place for families too.

Unfortunately, we will not have the chance to visit any farms or corn-mazes this year.  So the next best method of getting fresh farm fruit, is via Farmer’s Markets.  I enjoy walking amongst the stalls of Farmer’s Markets, seeing the fresh fruit and vegetables, eyeing the jars of delicious honey, smelling the fresh baked bread…  I should say, though, that not all Farmers Markets are equal.  Some are larger than others, some have more variety, and others have more of a “community” feel to them, with local performers attending the event, and with kids’ tents to entertain and attract children.

If you are in an area where Farmers Markets are few and far-between, or simply non-existent, I encourage you to purchase locally-produced fruit.  Look for the “Made in BC” sticker (or “Made in wherever you happen to live” sticker).  Local fruit and vegetables are more fresh, and your “local” purchase helps the domestic economy.

In any case, I believe I will be visiting Farmers Markets more frequently, as I am now beginning to prepare my own baby foods – fresh, local, and organic (whenever possible) are what I’ll be looking for, for my baby’s produce!

 

 

Review: David’s Tea

I have never been to a David’s Tea before, until two weekends ago, and I must say that I enjoyed it very much.  It will be my new go-to place for a refreshing beverage – a much healthier, less sugary, tapioca-less alternative to bubble-tea.  Ah yes, bubble-tea.  I used to crave bubble-tea regularly, until I became more conscious of the amounts of sugar I was consuming with each sip.  Even asking for “less sweet” at the counter, still had me wondering if they actually added less sugar (which of course, they did).  But now, bubble-tea, move aside, I have discovered iced-teas at David’s Tea, and they are thirst-quenchingly tasty.

So what did I order, that now has me hooked?

On my first visit, I tried a tea-pop.  Flavour: Tropicalia.  I liked the flavour of the tea, sweetened with agave, but the carbonated water was a bit too… “pop”py.  I decided that tea-pop was not for me.

On my second visit, I tried an iced-tea.  Flavour: Guava Cadabra Lemonade, sweetened with honey.  It had the perfect flavour of guava-tropical-fruitiness, without being too sweet, or too overwhelming.  It was also thirst-quenching.  Cost?  $3.  A very good price, for what I was getting, in my opinion.

There has only been two visits, though, but I like what I’ve tried, and so many of their flavours look promising!

Something to look forward to – Austenland

When it comes to Victorian literature, and Victorian authors, I become a little giddy – but that’s because I’m an English Lit Major.  And that is why Austenland has me grinning from ear to ear.  I’ve been informed that in fact, Austenland is a novel, turned into a movie.  I now have to find that novel.  And I look forward to watching this silly movie.

Want a sneak peak?  Here is the trailer for the goofy movie.

Release Date: September 27, 2013.

I think I will be making a movie date with my girly friends, and leaving behind the babies and husband.  🙂  Girl’s night, Yay!

Daily Make-Up Regimen

What is your daily make-up regimen?

There are days when I go out without make-up, and those days are usually fun “I don’t care” days with the family – those are most days.

Then there are days when I feel like being extra pretty, or work days, or date nights with friends and family.  That’s when I put on a little bit of make-up.

My current basics are:

  • Foundation – Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse (Nude, Light – 4)
  • Blush – Paul and Joe Face Colour – 07
  • Lip Gloss – Bloom in Pink
  • Brown eyeliner
  • (if needed) Concealer – Maybelline New York, in Sand (20).

I’m a drug-store make-up shopper.  Price is an important factor in what I buy, mostly because I don’t use make-up too often.  However, if I were to use it on a daily basis, I think I may choose to go more with brand, than price.  Otherwise, I have no problems with purchasing Maybelline, Cover Girl, etc..  Those are still perfectly good brands, just not as “glitzy” or glamorous as Shiseido or other similar brands.

I do wonder though, about what more I could do with my eyes.  I have sensitive eyes, so do not like putting too much product around them.  Some eye powders end up making my eye lids puffy, due to irritation, which is why I generally stick to using only an eyeliner, and on occasion mascara.  If anyone has other ideas on a daily eye-make-up routine, post in the comments, and let me know!  I’m always up for improving my make-up routine!

Kid’s Feature: Jungle Jacs in Pitt Meadows

Last weekend, my 3 year old went to a birthday party at Jungle Jacs in Pitt Meadows, BC.  It’s basically a giant jungle gym for kids, that includes a toddler play area, ball area, sports area, and many other places where kids can “monkey around”.  This is not a place for helicopter parents, or for timid children.  Laser Tag and Mini-Golf are also available, although I did not see it, or participate in any of it.

So how did my 3 year old like this place?  Well, she just turned 3 years old in June, and sometimes feels more comfortable playing with littler kids, than older kids.  She first warmed up in the toddler area (technically for kids 3 and under), and then moved on to exploring other areas, tagged along with a parent (my husband).  It took some time, but the kid finally found her niche in the ball launcher area, not so daring as the big slides, but fun and tame enough for her to have fun and feel “safe”.

After about an hour of exploring and playing, the birthday party crew were called over into a Party Room, over the P.A. system.  The birthday party crew had exactly one hour in the room before being kicked out – just enough time to eat a snack and cake, and quickly open presents.  One hour, in my opinion, is not long enough for a group to enjoy their cake and opening presents.  However, Jungle Jacs is super-popular as a birthday-party-destination, and there seemed to be non-stop birthday announcements over the P.A. system.  I am guessing that there were at least 5 or 6 parties there within a 2 hour span.  Therefore, given it’s popularity, I suppose a one-hour time-slot for a party room is fair.

So would I return?  Maybe when my youngest is old enough to enjoy it.  I definitely think it is a fun birthday destination for kids, and I am a fan of mini-golf.  I definitely wouldn’t mind trying that with my family.  I’m a sucker for family activities, like this, though, possibly because I never experienced activities like this when I was growing up (not that I feel particularly deprived, or anything). I really just enjoy channelling my inner-kid.  Thank goodness I can use my own kids as an excuse to do something childish like this!

 

What’s for Dinner?

Today’s dinner is Honey Mustard Chicken.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken Thighs *Mine are boneless, but you can use bone-in
  • Mustard
  • Honey
  • Onions, sliced
  • Carrots,  sliced

I basically just threw in whatever I had, and put it in the oven at 350 degrees F, for 45 minutes.  It’s cooking now, so unfortunately I do not have a photo to post, unless you’d like a photo of the inside of my oven… No?  Didn’t think so.

Method.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (edited… I originally said C)
  2. Marinate your chicken in mustard, and honey (mixed up, of course) – if you have forethought, unlike me, you can marinate it much earlier for fuller flavour.
  3. Slice onions and carrots.  Place on the bottom of an oven-proof pan (I used corningware)
  4.  Place marinated chicken into the pan.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, blog, or watch tv, or do whatever until chicken is ready.  Or prep your sides – whatever you prefer.

I’ll be serving my dinner with rice, and possibly canned corn or frozen veggies, so not much additional prepping for me, for my sides – hence, why I’m blogging.

And that’s what I’ll be eating for dinner!

PS.  I’m not a chef, so if you don’t like this recipe, sorry about that.  This is just something I threw together very quickly.

Share bear follow-up

So I took the kiddos to the mall and saw poor Share Bear all cooped up in his cell. His digs weren’t so bad, actually. He had a lovely ottoman to sit on, and he had many visitors dropping by to chat and take pictures. Share Bear certainly has many friends – friends who couldn’t bare to see him go hungry, or be locked up in his cell. I certainly hope that Share Society meets its goal.

Below is a pic of Share Bear and some hand-painting, done by a lovely volunteer.

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