Journal Notes

By:

27th Nov 2015

DIY Christmas Advent

It’s almost December and that means it is time to break out the Advent calendar to start counting down to the big day! Are you looking to create your own Advent calendar to fill up with fun daily treats, because this is the weekend to get it all ready to go before December 1st.

This year I wanted to get an Etsy shop open in time for the holidays, but I’ve been so busy doing freelance work that there just wasn’t enough time in the day to get the shop up in time. But that didn’t stop me from working on my own DIY Advent Calendar to kick off the holiday season. It’s no secret that Christmas is my favorite time of year to create fun new projects to decorate my home.

In the fall my sister-in-law asked me to help create a cute design for her bakery’s limited edition Christmas Advent, so I set to work to create the numbers for each day. It was a labour of love and I was so happy with how they turned out I decided to add them to my own Advent calendar. FIY if you are still looking for a calendar mine is available for purchase, just leave a message below if you are interested. Each day features a winter scene on the sides that I personally photographed and of course the hand drawn numbers I did for Cadeaux.

BONUS if you are a foodie, love tasty treats and don’t feel like making a calendar, Cadeaux Bakery is selling a wonderful Advent to celebrate the holiday season. Call or drop into Cadeaux Bakery to pick up yours up before they sell out!

Happy (almost) Holidays!

By:

5th Aug 2015

Hiking the Sea to Summit Trail

Sea to Summit Trail

This August long we spent time catching up with friends and enjoying the beautiful sunshine at Locarno Beach. On the Sunday we all discussed doing a hike on Monday to get some exercise and do something out of the city, so we decided to head up to Squamish to hike underneath the new Sea to Sky Gondola as we had done the Chief hike earlier this summer. We thought the hike would be a bit tamer than the Chief but we were in for a surprise because it was pretty challenging, but the spectacular views and varied trail were well worth the effort.

We started our hike at the base of the Sea to Sky Gondola where there is free parking, but keep in mind that during the summer season it will be busy so best to get there early (we were there by 11:30am and basically got last available spot).

As you start the hike the Sea to Summit Trail will join the Chief Trail where you have to climb the steep wooden stairs until you reach the sign indicating the Sea to Summit Trail to the Gondola Summit Lodge so keep an eye open to not miss that. Once you are on the Sea to Summit Trail you will travel along with varying levels of difficulty from easy inclines to steep rocky bits, sometimes on narrow wooden stairs and ropes to climb the steeper rock faces. Along the trail there are areas to rest on different rock faces including a small and refreshing waterfall that we chose to wet our heads in, I wouldn’t recommend trying to go in though the current was fast enough and rocks were smooth and slippery.

We stopped about mid-way up to eat our packed lunch on a nice big rock face with views of the valley and ocean below. I highly recommend bringing sandwiches to eat along the way to help keep your energy up or least pack some granola or power bars and plenty of water to keep you hydrated. Most of the trail is nice and shaded under the cover of trees but there are bits where you are in full sun and it gets hot, so plenty of water is essential to be safe.

When you are about 5km into the trail (total hike being 7.5km at an elevation of 2790 feet once at the top), you will come to a trail fork where you have the decision to keep following the Sea to Summit Trail which is more difficult but only 2.3 km or you can veer off onto the Shannon Basin Loop Trail which is easier but longer to the top at 3.5km. We decided to follow the more difficult route which has more steep rocks and ropes to climb, but it felt pretty great to high five the last Summit Trail marker at the top.

Once at the top we got to enjoy our rewards of cold beer and a patio to sit and take in the fantastic views. There is also a suspension bridge to cross to another viewing platform and many more trails at the top to try out with varying levels of difficulty. I’m sure we will do this again and maybe try some of the other hikes at the top. The bonus of doing this trail is being able to download on the Gondola for $10 per person, and for me and my achy knees it makes a huge difference in how my body feels the in the coming days.

We also did this hike with our 2 year old daughter who was carried up in a good quality children’s hiking backpack, so it is possible to do but I wouldn’t recommend this hike for small children or the elderly. It is a difficult hike and if you are in decent shape it shouldn’t be too tough to complete, but make sure you know what you are getting into before attempting.

Items I would pack/do for the hike:

  1. Sandwiches
  2. Water  - A litre per person if possible
  3. Protein Bars
  4. Granola/Trail Mix
  5. Small First Aid Kit
  6. Camera/iPhone to capture the views and trip
  7. Credit Card/Cash and ID for beer and ticket to download at Summit Lodge
  8. Sunglasses, Hat & Good Hiking Footwear (during summer)
  9. Apply sunscreen before hike
  10. Tell someone outside your hiking group you are going on the hike for emergencies

Sea to Summit Trail

 

By:

30th Jul 2015

Summer Fun Bucket List

How has your summer been, if you live in Vancouver I imagine it’s been pretty darn sweet because of the amazing June/July we have had. We have been taking advantage of all this great weather and checking our summer fun ideas off as we go. There is still plenty left to explore and time to do it, so what do you have planned for this August Long weekend? Need some inspiration, check out our list below and get out there and enjoy the sunshine!

  1. Take our first camping trip as a family of 3 
  2. Make frozen yogurt with fresh local in season fruits – yes please!
  3. Set up our patio table with a nice dining setting and eat el fresco as often as possible. (Reminder to buy wasp detractor and food covers)
  4. Go to my local farmer’s market on Sundays to buy speciality in season items
  5. Hike Rainbow Mountain in Whistler
  6. Practice yoga outdoors (there are free sessions hosted by Semperviva all summer long)
  7. Buy some local oysters and a nice bottle of Rose & enjoy (try this yummy dry Rose it’s my current fav)
  8. BBQ at the beach with friends
  9. Bike around the seawall and end at a waterfront patio for a cold beverage and some sunset action
  10. Stargaze on a blanket with my man
  11. Watch the annual fireworks – More to come this weekend!
  12. Make dessert with fresh in season fruit and eat it at the beach while the sunsets
  13. Make boozy slush drinks with my Vitamix
  14. Get my jam on and can some fresh foods for those long winter months when I need a bit of sunshine in a jar
  15. Go to an outdoor movie or the Drive-In
  16. Host an outdoor dinner party (doesn’t happen often enough)
  17. Go with the fam jam to the Food Cart Fest that happens every Sunday for the summer
  18. Float on a cool lake on a hot sunny day – wear sunscreen!
  19. Eat some fresh local crab 
  20. Make some yummy Smashed Bruschetta with tomatoes & basil picked from the garden – follow the link to see my fav recipe

Written in Pink means we completed some fun!

By:

12th May 2015

Weekend Getaway: Whidbey Island

Recently we packed up the car and headed to one of our favorite places for a weekend getaway, Whidbey Island just over the border in Washington. The island is a quaint place and I find that soon as I get there I feel instantly relaxed and happy. We had rented the cutest cottage that is nestled on a thin piece of land that borders a small lake/hillside and on the other side is the big wide open ocean with mountain views – HEAVEN.

When I found the cottage on AirBNB I knew it would be a place that I could stay for weeks on end and be completely content. All weekend I kept thinking how do I bring this feeling of peace and content back to our apartment in Vancouver. Why is it that being somewhere different can invoke all these emotions and connections that seem dulled down and muted in my home? Is it my daily routines that bring me down and make me bored, and how do I shake things up? Do I need new fun pillows for my couch or do I need to just get out of the house more so when I do spend time there it doesn’t feel so limiting.

One of the best features in the cottage was the places available to curl up and read a book, a favorite pastime of mine. There was a built in daybed in the living space that looked out at the hillside and lake, as well as some beach chairs and a hammock to read outside while enjoying the ocean air and sunshine. I had picked up Picnic in Provence a recipe memoir by Elizabeth Bard, it’s a wonderful read that follows a decision to move her family to Provence to lead a simpler life and open an ice cream shop with her husband. Best of all there’s recipes scattered throughout the book, just get ready to be hungry!

The sunsets were fantastic and lit up the cottage in a golden light. The light at this time of year is so beautiful and I love that days just keep getting longer, summer is the best.

We’ve already booked the cottage again in July for my birthday so I have another relaxing and lovely weekend away to look forward to with good friends, and I can’t wait to have another beach side fire under the stars.

By:

25th Mar 2015

Momma Diaries : Tips for Stay at Home Parents

I hear myself say out loud, yes I’m a stay at home Mom and in my head I think, wow how did that happen. Growing up I was raised by a hard working single Mom, so when I decided to stay home with our Sweet Pea I had no model to follow and I’ve had to figure it out as I go. I think a lot of parents are making this decision to stay home because of high costs of daycare (like we did) but no one really talks about what that means for the parent who stays home and the challenges that come with it.

So today I wanted to share some of my tips for being a sane stay at home parent.

  1. Get ready and dressed in the morning (when possible). It’s way too easy to stay in your PJs until noon and sometimes opportunities will present themselves (like another parent wanting to do a playdate) and you won’t be ready to go. Showering the night before or first thing in the morning (before your child wakes up) can make mornings easier and it helps me feel better.
  2. Make a point of getting outside. Whenever I start to feel down, usually a walk outside will change my perspective and clear my mind. I also like to download podcasts to my phone, so I can have something interesting to listen to while I’m walking.
  3. Try to make friends at the park and playgroups. I find this to be a difficult task, because I don’t enjoy making small talk with strangers but I have met some cool people this way and the chit chat makes me feel engaged and connected.
  4. Sign up for class or two. I find if I have paid for a class that has a set time, I’ll go. If I just rely on my own motivation to get me out, I’ll stay home or in my same routine that can get pretty boring quickly. Bonus is I can meet other parents and talk to other humans for an hour, which makes a huge difference my day.
  5. Ask for help! It takes a village to raise a child and often it is easy for me to take on everything by myself and I end up feeling rundown and resentful because I miss being me and not just a Mom. Asking for help will not only benefit me but it hugely benefits our daughter. Every person that loves and engages with her is another teacher that she learns from and that is great. I don’t have to be Super Mom.