This post is all about the amazing men we have in our lives: the husbands, dads, brothers, uncles, friends; whoever they are, this post is for them. It’s been a little while since there has been something for the guys here on OHP so I thought it would be a good time to have a giveaway. I’m excited to be working with JORD watches again this Fall and will be spoiling a lucky reader with a $100 gift credit towards one of their amazing wood watches!
On the topic of spoiling… I feel like us mamas talk about how much it means to us to hear that what we do is appreciated (especially on those tough days when it feels like everything is going wrong), but I think it’s important that our hubbies do too. Families are a team effort and both moms and dads can feel left in the dust and forgotten after a crazy day. I know ours wouldn’t be as strong as it is if it wasn’t for the guy I’m on this crazy ride with, and he’s not just a great hubby, but an awesome Dad too.
Will is a pretty casual guy and I’ve always joked that his personal uniform is a t- shirt, hoodie, and cargo shorts or jeans. And now as a Dad, these wardrobe staples are pretty much perfect since he spends plenty of time chasing our two monkeys. He doesn’t treat himself very often so when I got the chance to work with JORD again I felt like one of their wood watches couldn’t go to a more deserving and selfless guy. This watch fits in nicely with his casual style, but will also look great dressed up for a night out (date night!). He went with the walnut and black option from the Hyde series, and it really suits him.
Whether the man in your life is a suit and tie kind of guy or more the t- shirt and jeans variety, JORD’s wood watches are the perfect accessory (they also make beautiful wood watches for women, see mine in this post from last year). Their watches combine classic with contemporary style making them a great choice for anyone whatever the occasion: from a day at the office to Dad life. If you have a guy that deserves a little spoiling, a JORD watch would make a nice gift (you can also get them engraved for an extra- special touch) plus you can enter to win a $100 gift credit towards one of their wood watches below! (Added bonus: everyone who enters will receive a $25 gift credit just for entering!).
Have you ever tried brisket? This cut of beef is amazing for a variety of meals and ideal for slow cooking. If you want a ‘set it and forget it’ kind of dinner, this is about as easy and delicious as it gets (this was my first time and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out). While I made this meal with Fall comfort food in mind, it really would be delicious year- round. I’ve teamed up again with Heritage Meats (see why I’ve shopped with them for years and check out delicious bison burgers in this post) to share a recipe idea that’s crowd- pleasing and pretty much fool- proof. This Langley store is my go- to for quality, organic meats and other specialty and gourmet foods (you an also read more about them below) and this brisket is proof of why they’re a popular spot for locals looking for quality options for everything from meats and deli items to gluten free and other specialty foods.
This smoky brisket is juicy and tender (I’m hoping to try pulled beef sandwiches next) and makes for a satisfying meal. You can enjoy it day- of, or serve it the next day (see my tip on why to give the 2- day option a try near the end of the recipe instructions). I served mine with rosemary mashed potatoes and seasonal veggies, but the combinations are endless. I’m looking forward to trying more recipes with this cut of beef and hope you’ll love adding this recipe to your Fall menu!
3- 3 1/2 lb cut of brisket
1 tsp each:
6- 8 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tsp liquid smoke
Start by creating a foil liner for your slow cooker (I just folded two large pieces together) and mixing the dry rub together.
2. Coat the entire surface area of the meat with the dry rub, working it in with your fingers.
Here’s how it looks after the dry rub has been applied. Those streaks of fat in the meat help make for a juicy and flavourful finished product! More on that juice below.
3. Crush the garlic and pour half of the liquid smoke and crushed garlic in the bottom of the foil liner (this will help flavour the bottom side of the meat as it cooks). Pour the other half of the liquid smoke and crushed garlic on the top side of the meat and rub it in.
4. Place the brisket in the foil liner and wrap up the top to seal in the heat. Slow cook on low for 6- 8 hours or high for 3- 4 hours (I opted for high since I started this recipe mid day and was it was as juicy and tender as ever).
5. When cooked you can either serve immediately or allow to cool in the crock pot insert and refrigerate overnight. Tip: by allowing the brisket to cool in the insert overnight you can skim off the fat from the liquid that seeped out during the cooking process (none of the liquid in the photos was added, that’s all from the brisket- yum!). Leave the remaining liquid that’s full of flavour in the slow cooker to keep the brisket juicy while you re- heat it and use it to make a delicious gravy. This is purely preference and not a necessary step, but I recommend giving it a try when you have the time.
I served mine with rosemary mashed potatoes and fresh carrots and beans from our garden. I glazed them with a simple seasoning of olive oil, salt and pepperand put them under the broiler to cook.For the gravy I simply added 1 tsp of organic corn starch to some warm water and mixed it in with the juices left over from the cooking process.
Don’t have a slow cooker or wanting to upgrade? Here are 4 options to check out:
Located in Langley, BC, Heritage Meats specializes in gourmet, high- quality, and specialty foods including gluten- free, organic, and premium quality meats. Since opening in 2003, it’s become a destination, offering a selection of everything from deli items, pantry staples, and meat to gourmet and specialty items (including exotic meats!) hard to find in most stores. All of the meat and poultry carried in the store is non- medicated- no hormones, antibiotics, or animal by- products- and the friendly staff can help you with any questions you may have.
In addition to the exotic meats mentioned in this post, they also carry a selection of other quality meat and deli items:
– Beef (non medicated Alberta beef, dry aged for flavour and tenderness)
– Chicken (local, non medicated, air chilled)
– Pork (local, non medicated, free run)
– Sausages (made in house, no fillers, gluten free)
– Entrees (made in house by the shop’s chef, with a large selection of gluten free options)
To learn more about the store and it’s product offerings, visit the Heritage Meats website and find them on social media:
It’s beginning to feel like Fall… And in less than two weeks the season will officially be here. Bring on all the cozy: the sweaters, boots, scarves, hats, hot apple cider (call me old fashioned but I like it better than PSLs), Fall decor, candles, baking……. all of it. I’ve started adding some Fall touches around the house and as much as I love LOVE candles, I wanted a flameless option to add a seasonal scent to the house.
This little DIY was inspired by none other than the food dehydrator that has been a staple in my kitchen for the past few weeks as we pick fresh herbs from the garden to dry (we have a round one like this one and love it). I’ve seen lots of cute ideas with dehydrated oranges (warning: this may not be the last one you see here 😉 ), and this DIY is a great way to add to the coziness of your home for the Fall by making it smell amazing. You can choose any scent combinations you like, but I really like the smell of coffee and added citrus essential oil to help keep the house smelling fresh. I opted to make a sachet that I can tuck out of reach from the kids, but pouring everything into a jar or vase would also make for a pretty home made potpourri to display (those dried oranges just make everything look pretty). This is also a great option if you’re trying to avoid artificial air fresheners- simply switch up the scents for the season to keep your home smelling fresh.
1 large navel orange
Citrus essential oil
Piece of paper towel or tissue paper
1- 2 cups coffee beans
Lightweight fabric bag (or use a piece of fabric tied at the top)
Begin by cutting the orange into slices not quite 1/4″ thick
2. Place slices into a food dehydrator (or you can preheat your oven to 250 degrees and dry the slices for 2- 3 hours)
3. When the orange slices have dried, allow to cool. Add a few drops to a piece of paper towel or tissue paper.
4. Pop all of the items into the paper bag- the dried orange slices, coffee beans, and paper towel/ tissue paper- and wrap it up so nothing can fall out. To be extra secure tape the seams so no coffee beans fall out.
5. Pop everything into the fabric bag and tie at the top. Pick where you want to have the scent in your home and place the sachet. You can tuck into a closet or add it to a Fall display/ vignette.
As I mentioned, you can also dry the orange slices in the oven at a low temp for a few hours, but I love the option of a dehydrator and the round one we have gets a lot of use. If you’re thinking of buying one, this one is similar to the one we have and works great.
Disclosure: This shop was compensated by Collective Bias, Inc., and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CanadianTire #QuakerState #CollectiveBias
It’s that time of year when we all get back into our Fall routines, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t time to squeeze in some fun family time around school and activities. Road trips and travelling are a popular activity for families any time of year, but if you’re looking for some shorter trip ideas, I’m sharing a few day trips you can take leaving from Vancouver. Whether you live in the city or one of the surrounding cities, you’ll be able to reach any of these places without spending the whole day on the road/ travelling.
The best part about these day trips is they don’t require as much planning/ packing, making them easy to organize and prepare for. Some simple prep before you go is all you need: pack up a cooler, get the kids outfits and bags ready the night before, make sure your car is gassed up and good to go (have you checked the fluids/ given it an oil change recently?), and maybe pack some driving snacks for everyone to keep them happy. And even though Summer is winding down, these day trips from Vancouver are fun year- round.
This place doesn’t need much of an intro. With it’s year- round activities, there’s always plenty to do. Whether you prefer hiking, biking, skiing/ snowboarding, or want to relax and enjoy good food, it’s all here (for good eats check out El Furniture Warehouse where all meals are $4.95). The drive along the Sea to Sky Highway is beautiful with plenty of places to stop along the way (Shannon Falls is my favourite pit stop), but there’s also the mining museum, Hells Gate, and plenty of other scenic stops/ attractions along the way.
Approx. 1.5- 2 hours drive from Vancouver.
2. Cultus Lake/ Chilliwack
Growing up I loved visiting Cultus Lake or the water slides across from the lake in the Summer. Rent a boat and go wakeboarding or slow things down and go fishing- the lake is a popular Summer spot, but beautiful all year (it doesn’t have to be hot and sunny to enjoy a picnic lakeside!). Chilliwack is a favourite day trip spot for families living in Vancouver and surrounding areas who want to get away and enjoy the country without having to go too far from home, and it’s gaining more and more attention for it’s growing local scene. Family- friendly events are held throughout the year, including markets, BBQs, craft beer festivals, and a corn maze (just to name a few) so even if it isn’t the middle of Summer there’s still plenty to enjoy.
Approx. 1 hour 15 min drive from Vancouver
3. Fort Langley
If you don’t want to go as far east as Chilliwack, Fort Langley is another scenic locale, within an hour’s drive of the City. Visit the Fort and soak up some local history, enjoy a variety of shopping and eating options (Trading Post Brewing’s Eatery and Ritual Ice Cream are two of my favourites, also check out Little White House, a converted heritage house featuring a boutique and cafe); or go for a walk in/ around this scenic town. The Fort- to- Fort Trail is a great option if you enjoy biking/ hiking, and you can rent kayaks, paddleboards, and canoes if you want to spend some time on the water. This historic town is full of character and has plenty to offer visitors who want to get away from the city within a short drive.
Approx. 45 min drive from Vancouver
4. Bowen Island
Being a city on the coast, Vancouver isn’t far from countless islands accessible by ferry and Bowen Island is just a quick 20 minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay in North Vancouver. This is the perfect place to slow down and enjoy ‘island time’. When you’re here it’s easy to forget how close to Vancouver you are. When you arrive off the ferry any number of choices await in Snug Cove, including restaurants and shops; you can also rent paddleboards and kayaks right by the marina/ ferry dock. If you enjoy handcrafted, artisanal work, Artisan Square is home to shops and galleries featuring locals artists/ artisans and just a quick drive up the hill from Snug Cove. Drive further into the island for scenic hikes and other activities (if you’re a yoga lover, Nectar Yoga B&B is worth a visit, even if you’re only there for the day).
Approx. travel time: 20 min ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay in North Vancouver
5. Vancouver Island
Hop on the ferry from Horseshoe Bay or Tsawassen and head to the Island for a day. Visit the province’s capital and hit up a museum or go shopping in downtown Victoria or check out any number of other cities/ attractions on the Island. Tofino is worth the extra drive once you get off the ferry, or stop in Ucluelet for a closer option; both offer up beautiful beaches and during storm season the waves are an attraction in themselves. Cathedral Grove on the way is a natural wonder that you’ll want to stop at (perfect for a picnic lunch and stretching your legs, and be prepared to take lots of nature photos among these old- growth trees) and Coombs is a quirky little town that’s fun to visit. For a ferry ride and drive, you’ve got plenty to choose from, you just have to decide how to spend your time.
Prepping a day or two in advance can save time and make getting on the road go much smoother morning- of, especially if you’ve got kids along for the ride. Stock up on food and drinks (fill a few extra water bottles for good measure) and any clothing/ gear you’ll need for your activities of choice. It’s easy to forget, but making sure your vehicle is ready to hit the road- whether for a long or short drive- is important. Since your vehicle is going to get you to and from your destination it’s a good idea to make sure it’s in good working order and this is a good time to check the oil and do a DIY oil change if needed. You can get everything you need at your local Canadian Tire (they’re made for life in Canada after all 😉 ), including oil change supplies plus other essentials for road trips (coolers, camping chairs, etc).
Tips for Performing an Oil Change
check your car’s owner’s manual before you start to ensure you pick up the right oil for your car
make sure you have all the supplies you need including funnel, drip tray, wrench, jack and jack stands or ramps, latex gloves, oil, oil filter, and any other items specific to your vehicle (like a drain plug washer)
take the safety precautions necessary to perform a DIY oil change safely, such as using blocks behind the wheels of the vehicle so it doesn’t roll if on a ramp
What Oil + Where to Buy
If you’re looking for a quality oil, Quaker State® Ultimate Durability™ Full Synthetic Motor Oil is a great choice and you can stock up for a great price at Canadian Tire. Their oils have been tested in severe driving conditions to ensure they help your car perform to the standard your family needs and protects your engine through it’s use- and then some. It’s not the first few kilometers after an oil change that you’ll appreciate the difference, it’s the thousands you drive after- think stop- and- go traffic, idling, and extreme temperature changes (hello Canadian weather!), that test the quality of the oil you use.
Quaker State puts quality first and tests their products (they tested their oils in taxi fleets throughout North America, with the results proving their oils provide twice the protection of the industry standard throughout its life) to ensure they provide the performance and durability you need:
Durability- oil remains fresh thanks to the fuel- saving additive
Engine life- heat- activated viscosity improvers and anti- wear additives kick in as the engine temperature increases to maintain oil thickness/ help extend your engine life
Performance- superior lubrication flow and pumpability in below- freezing temperatures
If you have never done a DIY oil change before, ask a staff member at Canadian Tire to help you find everything you need, including the right oil for your car. Quaker State is a great option, and whether you plan a long or a short road trip it will help your car get your family everywhere you need to go. I hope this post has given you some ideas for places around Vancouver to visit (and a friendly reminder to keep your vehicle maintenance up to date)!
Now I want to know: What are some of your favourite day trips to take with your family?
It’s hard to believe that this evening- The Secret Dinner– was almost two weeks ago already. After months of preparing and planning, the evening celebrating the launch of the Captured In Squares website (the photo styling company I run with friend and blogger, Janette of Ava to Zoe) came and went in a flash- don’t the best kind of nights always go by too fast? A lot of love and time went into planning what Janette and I hoped would be a creative way to launch our website and we’re sharing some of the details on our blogs.
The catch of The Secret Dinner was that hostesses and location would be kept a secret until the last minute (hence the name), but hints were dropped on the event’s Instagram page so guests would have some idea of what to expect. I had the task of taking Janette’s idea of a secret dinner (all credit goes to her for the idea) and bringing all the details together while she hustled away on getting the website ready for the launch. Inspired by a wall of dreamcatchers, we wanted to go with a style that was a little bit boho/ rustic/ vintage with a white, gold, green colour scheme with accents of dark red for drama/ contrast. Let the pinning marathon begin!
The theme of the evening was ‘a night to inspire’ and we wanted to use it as an opportunity to bring together some of our supporters and clients since starting Captured In Squares as a way of saying thank you. It was a chance to enjoy an al fresco meal in good company while swapping stories and experiences from being in business. Hose d’oeuvres from Fork & Knife Catering and flatbread from Rocky Mountain Flatbread were served alongside wine from Evolve Cellars, followed by a show- stopping naked cake by The Cake Mama.
We wanted the dinner to be outside to make the most of the last of the late Summer nights and our date in August didn’t disappoint. As a final way of keeping everything a secret until the last minute, guests had to walk down a path to enter the dinner area, turning a corner to see the set up. We opted for a low- lying palette table set with white and gold, vintage wine glasses, and wooden cutlery; menus were placed at each setting topped with a fresh sprig of greenery from my parent’s garden. Pretty finishing touches included a table- length runner of fresh seeded eucalyptus (Budget Blooms) from placed on top of sheet music and fabric, tea lights (Canvas Candle Co), the words ‘inspire’, ‘ignite’, ‘achieve’ in gold calligraphy (Paper + Parties Co) at each place setting, and a notebook topped with a mini dream catcher (Shop Ava to Zoe) for each guest. Since it was a low table, piles of cushions and blankets surrounded the table so the ladies could lay them out as desired and sit comfortably.
We kept the decor simple, using a palette to display a selection of the photos from Impressed App we’ve taken since starting Captured In Squares, and decorating the food table in a vintage lace tablecloth and fresh flower bouquet provided by Budget Blooms. Fresh greens and a dream catcher (another Shop Ave to Zoe piece) served as a backdrop, with a vintage magazine wrack as a wine holder on the table. The cake made for a pretty focal point, finished with fresh flowers from Budget Blooms and a gold ‘Captured In Squares’ calligraphy cake topper from Paper + Parties.
We ended the evening with prize bags contributed by some of the event’s sponsors: The Handpicked Home, Canvas Candle Co, Kristina Benson Art, Marsh&Mallow, and Budget Blooms, and a heartfelt thank you to the ladies in attendance. The notebooks and mini dream catchers from the table were sent home with the guests along with a swag bag of goodies as our way of showing our appreciation for everyone who came. And just like that, the evening was over. Janette and I couldn’t have been happier with how everything came together and how we marked the milestone of launching our website. It was a heart full moment and we are both so grateful for everyone who helped us bring it together and attended. For more details about The Secret Dinner, see below and visit this post on the CIS website.
Thank you to these sponsors for helping us bring together The Secret Dinner 2017!
How do you make the weekly routine a little easier? With school starting up this week, planning meals ahead can go a long way and for those really busy days, meal delivery services are a great way to make sure everyone is eating healthy even while on the go. Over the Summer I had the chance to try Fresh Prep, a meal delivery service here in the Metro Vancouver area that delivers everything you need for healthy meals right to your door; all you have to do is sign up and select the plan and meals your family wants. I’m sharing about one of the meals we tried from Fresh Prep plus giving OHP readers the chance to enjoy a week’s worth of meals for free! (see discount code at end of post).
If you’re looking for some options to take a little bit of the pressure off with busy schedules, a meal delivery service is a great option and much more affordable than you may think (meals start at just $10- click here to learn more). When you factor in the time it takes to go grocery shopping, prep and cook everything, and the expense of the ingredients, meal delivery services are a much more budget conscious option than you might think. They’re also a great way to try eating a little bit healthier when you’re feeling pressed for time. Sometimes it’s hard to fit everything into a day and preparing fresh healthy meals can get sidetracked and substituted with more convenient/ less healthy options.
I’ve been trying to get back into a meal planning routine but this was my first time trying a meal delivery service. What first got my attention when I checked out the Fresh Prep website is the attention to quality ingredients and offering full- flavoured, healthy options. We took this as a chance to try some meals we haven’t made at home before and Fresh Prep offers a great variety of meals to choose from.
We opted for the Indonesian Gado Gado with Peanut Dressing and Hot Bombay Chicken Salad with Roasted Cauliflower and Mint Yogurt Sauce. When the meals were delivered we were impressed by how simple Fresh Prep makes everything, from how the ingredients were pre- measured to the straight- forward recipes. Added bonus: all of the ingredients are organic/ non- GMO, meaning you’re not just simplifying meals, you’re making them with the best ingredients possible. It couldn’t have been easier to create a healthy meal in under half an hour, and everyone loved it (how often does that happen?!). Even if you’re only looking for a few meals a week rather than a full week’s worth, a meal delivery service like Fresh Prep can help take the pressure off.
Here’s how the Indonesian Gado Gado turned out- yummmmmmm!
How it works:
Go to the Fresh Prep website and select the meal plan you’d like (choose from 2- person meals and family plans for 4 people) and how many recipes you’d like delivered each week (choose from 2, 3, or 4). You can also add info if you have dietary requests such as vegan or vegetarian meals and if you’d like to skip a week.
Select the recipes you would like delivered and place your order.
Everything comes delivered in cooler bags in ensure freshness, so all you have to do is pop the ingredients into your fridge when they arrive. When it’s time to cook, simply follow the instructions on the recipe card provided and enjoy a delicious and healthy meal in 30 minutes or less.
Want to try Fresh Prep with your family? Use code OurHappyPlace to enjoy your first week of meals for free! Code valid until September 31, 2017.
Even thought it’s still Summer, the first day of September always feels like Fall to me. And with it comes a switch in the style department towards more layers and cozy additions (think scarves, hats & booties for starters). It’s a great time of year to shop your closet and maybe add a few key pieces that you’ve been missing or had your eye on.
But just because Summer’s coming to an end doesn’t mean you can’t wear some of your warmer weather items in the cooler months. Getting a bit creative can extend the wear you get out of certain pieces like shorts and tank tops and can stretch your style budget. Things like tights and sweaters are definitely Fall favourites and can mean you don’t have to put away some of your favourite lighter pieces just because the temperatures are cooling.
Since this time of year marks a change in seasons I’m sharing how to take a few key pieces from your Summer wardrobe and transition them to Fall, along with some footwear ideas. Booties are a favourite item that go with so many things and can get dressed up or dressed down. I’ve also included a pair of runners in this post that are great for errands or taking the kids to and from activities without compromising on style or comfort.
Starting with a few key pieces, shop your closet for different items to create a variety of outfits, and make note of items you’d like to purchase. Think of how you can pair the same piece with a variety of others you already own, only adding something to your shopping list when you identify something you know you can wear in a variety of ways (this will help you save money and ensure the pieces you buy will work well with what you’ve already got). I started with a Summer outfit of a top, shorts and flip flops, and shopped my closet for different pieces that could be mix- and- matched to create several outfits.
I created the outfits in this post with items most of us already have in our closets to show how adding just a few new pieces can be all it takes to inspire some Fall #ootds (jeans, tights, a denim vest, sweater, jacket, a scarf, hat, and footwear). The good news: it can be a as simple as adding layers and accessories to bring your Summery items into the Fall. If you want some ideas to transition your style into Fall, I hope you’ll find these tips helpful!
I started with this floral outfit: a light sleeveless top & shorts with my favourite flip flops…
Perfect for days when it’s cool vs cold and you just need an extra layer to keep your legs warm. Tights look really cute paired with booties and you can throw on a sweater if things really start to cool off. Mix and match shorts and tights with some favourite tops for a variety of looks (I love the combo of different patterns/ fabric textures). I definitely went for a casual outfit here, but how cute would heels be to dress things up?
2. A jacket (+ scarf)
Need a little extra warmth? Swap out a sweater for your favourite jacket. Stay warm without feeling like your outfit is too heavy. And if things are really starting to cool off…
…add a scarf for a little extra warmth/ style. Cool Fall days are a perfect excuse to add an extra layer and add contrast/ interest to an outfit (I love the combo of different patterns like stripes and florals).
Great year- round, no? For those in- between days when things are cool but not cold, a denim vest is a classic item that works with lots of wardrobe pieces. It can add a different texture/ colour to your outfit and is a great piece for those days where it’s cool but still warm enough to skip sleeves. And who doesn’t own a pair of jeans? I liked pairing this floral top with my white jeans but classic blue denim goes with pretty much everything. Also- a cute excuse to rock a Canadian tuxedo with denim on top and bottom. 😉 I went with black lace runners for this outfit but booties would look super cute too (see what I mean about how easy/ interchangeable everything is when you have the right pieces?).
4. A hat
Hats are the perfect finishing touch to many an outfit and add an extra element of style and personality. Dig through those ones you put away for the Summer or treat yourself to a new one (or a few!) for the Fall to help keep cozy. A cute pom pom toque is a fun option on colder days, with a wide- brimmed beauty being a great choice that you can wear throughout the seasons. Just a little warning: once you become a hat person there’s no going back. 😉
It’s that time of year again! The PNE is a Summer tradition here in BC and along with the rides, the animals, the dog races, and outdoor concerts (I know I’m missing some things, there’s just too much to list!), the food is one of the highlights for many visitors. There’s a novelty about the food at The Fair- maybe it’s the atmosphere, maybe it’s the people serving it, maybe it’s the food itself (or all of the above) but it’s definitely on another level than your everyday meals. Add in that some of the items are only available once a year at the PNE and it’s the perfect excuse to try something new (food dares have definitely become an annual tradition for a many, but more on that later) alongside classic favourites like the infamous mini donuts and elephant ears.
Whether you want to go with some classics or go a little crazy (or maybe a try a little bit of everything) you’ll get a sample of of what’s available this year at the PNE to indulge your cravings in this post. There are so many options to choose from it’s hard to narrow down the choices, but I’d definitely suggest trying something new alongside something classic/ familiar. I’ve got a total sweet tooth so I couldn’t resist including 2 sweet options on this list (one’s a classic and one’s new this year), alongside 3 savoury options + I’ve also included some extras at the end that I didn’t want to leave out.
What food are you wanting to try at the PNE this year?
Waffle Ice Cream Cone aka #TheWaffleTaco- Steve O’s Public House
Picture a taco made out of a waffle cone filled with ice cream, whipped cream, and finished with your favourite toppings. Need I say more? This is a twist on the classic waffle cone that deserves a place on your PNE food list: the waffle taco is dipped in chocolate, filled with rolled ice cream that’s mixed with your favourite toppings (here’s just a few of the options you can choose from: Oreos, Skor, and strawberries) and topped with whipped cream. Choose up to two toppings to customize your waffle cone and indulge your inner sweet tooth. If you love ice cream don’t miss #thewaffletaco this year!
Dumplings- Dim Sum Express
Want to try something different than typical fair food? If you’re looking for something outside of burgers and hot dogs, dim sum is a refreshing option. Added bonus: you can eat it on the go as you walk around the fair.
A PNE classic. What’s a BeaverTail exactly? It’s thinly- rolled dough that’s deep fried and topped with cinnamon and sugar (the classic version) or choose from other topping combos like bananas and peanut butter. If you really want to indulge try the Triple Trip: chocolate hazelnut spread, peanut butter and Reece’s Pieces (shown). Oh em gee so good!
Jamaican Style Fish & Chips- Double Decker Diner
Two reasons not to miss this: 1) Fusion cuisine always produces some amazing combinations and these fish and chips are no different and 2) Everything is cooked and served in a converted double decker bus! This British classic gets an update with Jamaican flavour served alongside hand- cut fries (these aren’t the frozen, out of the bag variety!). If there’s room, eat your meal on the open air patio atop the second level of the bus and enjoy great views while you eat. Come for the food, stay for the bus!
Cricket Burgers & Fries- Gourmet Burgers
Maybe you’re wanting a burger while you’re at the PNE. But maybe you want to take it to a whole new level…? Enter the cricket burger new to the fair this year. Add this to your food dare list but be prepared to enjoy it more than you might think (if you’re willing to give it a try!). Crickets are a great source of protein and while they aren’t a standard burger topping, don’t be afraid of them adding a weird flavour (they don’t). This makes for a great foodie bucket list item to check off and some entertaining photos. Definitely one of the more adventurous items available this year at the PNE and worth a try!
Other foods to check out:
Double Bacon Mac N’ Cheese Super Footlong Hotdogs- Super Footlong
Funnel Cake Poutine- Funnel Cakes
FOOD DARE: Chicken Feet- Chicky’s Chicken (definitely one of the crazier foods available this year!)
What’s on your PNE food list this year?
For full details about The Fair at the PNE, check out their website and find them on social media:
There. I’ve said it. I think balance is a cruel word that gets tossed around as we try and convince ourselves that we can do it all in the same day. Someone once told me ‘balance’ is about making choices and being at peace with them, and I’ve reflected on that ever since; on days when I feel like I’m struggling I try to step back and think about what my focuses for that day are and regroup around them, simplify things. I absolutely believe we can do it all– just not all at once. Different days may have different priorities, we just have to accept that there may be/ will be other things that don’t happen- they’ll happen some other time. In other words, I think the concept of balance is more of an outlook than an actual thing we can achieve.
Some days it feels like I can get everything done and I feel like a champion (aren’t those the best!?), and other days I feel like the biggest achievement is that the kids and I make it to the end of the day in one piece (a big, crazy, messy piece). Either way the same thing happens: I go into the day with a list of priorities- this may be a mental list or one I write down and includes things like time with the kids, house work, work, appointments that have to be made, yard work, etc- and inevitably there are usually things that get left for the next day or the next (or the next!)- or if it’s a particularly chaotic day, I throw out that list (unless there’s something that falls under ‘must happen today’), and re- write it for the next. It’s not always easy- some days it feels painful to give up and tell myself ‘it’s not going to happen today’- but I’m learning what’s more important than that to- do list is my outlook towards it. It’s how I think about things and move through the day, not how much I can get done in a day that matters (hands up who else is Type A like me and always tries to cram as much as possible into the day?). Sounds so simple right? But oooooh creating mental habits/ changing your perspective can be just as challenging as changing other habits!!! It takes time and baby steps, and patience, and, and, and…. moral of the story: we have to have patience with ourselves.
As I sit here and talk about choices, figuring out priorities, and finding ‘balance’- whatever that means- I don’t think I could do so without talking about one of the things I’ve made a priority over the past year, something I’ve made time for regardless of whatever else is going on. This choice didn’t come out of thin air, I’ve had to carve out the time from other things, but ultimately I’m happy with the choice of how I spend this time. The interesting thing about a year is you have a very distinct start and end point to reflect on, and I’ve been doing that lately as I look back on the progress I’ve made. Some days I’m stressed out about the time it takes, overwhelmed with everything else I have to get done, but ultimately I feel so much better after having made time for it, happy with the choice I made. The choice I’m referring to is exercise, and the time I’ve taken for yoga and running (and swimming when I get the chance).
It’s been a year since I started running- the longest that I have been committed to exercise in my adult life- and it is something I choose to make a priority (I share more about it in this post). For the most part I have gone on a run every week for a year; there is the odd week that I’ve missed one and weeks I’ve managed to go for two if I felt like I needed it (even if I’m stressed about finding the time for other things that have to get done, I ultimately feel better/ handle my workload better if I’ve taken some time away to give my mind a break with the added bonus of feeling better physically from the exercise). And before you tell me you don’t know where you’d find the time for exercise, I’ll confess this to you: I don’t have a lot of time for exercise. And I know a lot of other people who feel the same. It may not be exercise for them, it might be something else that they’re struggling to fit into their schedules, but either way finding time for some things is harder than others. The trick is to find it, then the second hardest part is to create a habit/ add it to your routine and then stick with it.
We all have other things to do, other things that take up our time, we all have our daily mix that fill our days. And in the end we look back on the day and hopefully feel good about what we got accomplished. Taking care of ourselves and our health is something we’re told to make a priority and rightfully so, but as with many things it’s often easier said than done. How many times do you tell yourself I’ll do it today and then brush it off: Oh well, I’ll do it tomorrow… It’s not hard to put stuff off that doesn’t really appeal to us, or that’s inconvenient/ uncomfortable- let’s face it, fitness isn’t usually something people do for fun (even though it can be), they do it to stay healthy. And we tend to lump health stuff under ‘boring’ and ‘have to but don’t want to’ instead of making it something to look forward to (see how a change in perspective might make that more appealing?). But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be a priority- that finding some time to take care of yourself isn’t important enough to warrant a little bit of time each week. And that’s just it: even just a little bit of time is better than no time at all. And that’s what I’ve told myself this past year when I’ve wanted to make an excuse to get out of running: it’s just. a. few. minutes. (and for the record, I didn’t let weather become an excuse either, no matter how tempting/ easy it would have been). I don’t always want to, but ultimately I know how much better I feel, how much happier I am afterwards; it’s worth it and something I’m glad I’ve added to my routine, even if it’s at the expense of something else.
I’m still working on calming down about all the things I want to get done in a day, letting go and really thinking about what I consider a priority- in other words, I’m still making peace with imbalance (see what I did there? 😉 ). But one thing I’m glad I did, even though I’ve had to choose the time to make it happen this past year is to stop making excuses for getting in some exercise each week. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I have your life all figured out and how easy it is to make changes, to make time for these things. It’s rarely, if ever, that simple. But it is about re- thinking your priorities, re- thinking the choices you make and asking yourself ‘Is this making me a better or worse version of myself?’. We’re grown ups, so obviously things like bills and mortgages aren’t going to go away and make the choice to work less any easier (oh adulting…), but for the things on a simpler level, those things we have within our control, it’s amazing the difference a few different choices and a change of mind set can make. I’m not any less of a to- do list loving person than I was a year ago, but I’m chipping away at changing my outlook on things (instead of thinking ‘these are all the things I didn’t get done today’ turning it around and thinking about all that did get done), letting go, and not making excuses for things that should be more of a priority/ deserve more time. I’m responsible for two little people and keeping them happy and healthy, and at some point I have to make sure I’m doing the same for myself. It’s the choices I make and the perspective I have that creates the happiness and inner peace that I think ‘balance’ is supposed to bring- and it’s not a perfect one- size- fits- all solution- but just making the effort alone has been a big step forward for me. Exercise has been ‘my thing’ this past year that I’ve made a priority, now I want to know: what do you want to make more time for?
Last week I posted about the Lemonade Stand Party that a group of us got together and organized and I wanted to follow up this week with the lemonade popsicles I made. These popsicles are super simple to make and you can either make them with homemade lemonade or use a mix like I did (I used a Lemon Lavender cordial from The Handpicked Home). For a pretty finishing touch I added a fresh sprig of lavender from my garden and used sparkling water instead of regular to make them bubbly. We’ve still got a few weeks left of Summer and these are a perfect sweet treat to cool down with, or serve them up as a refreshing addition to a dessert bar at your next party.
Homemade lemonade or a lemonade mix made with sparkling water instead of regular water or
Fresh sprigs of lavender
Optional: slices of fresh lemon
Mix up your lemonade to your desired sweetness, using sparkling water instead of regular
Pour into popsicle molds, leaving a little extra room at the top so you can add lavender sprigs and/ or lemon slices, plus the popsicle sticks
Freeze overnight, pop out, serve, and enjoy!
That’s it, told you these were easy to make! 😉
Tip: serve in a container with ice to keep them from melting as fast