With Canada Day celebrations less than 24 hours behind us, it’s hard not to call this week pretty fabulous. We HEARD fireworks from afar an pretty much enjoyed an evening sitting and chatting in the screened in porch. We still can’t believe we have 3 more days of lake time ahead of us. Tomorrow will bring on a full dock day – between the trek into town, a stop at the beach, and only 2 boat rides, we feel spoiled. Raisin is so happy to have these full days with us, and is looking forward to seeing more family down for the weekend to show them everything he’s done. Not to mention he’ll be turning 4 soon…what the heck right? Goes by way to fast so I’ll just have to make sure and enjoy every single moment whole heartedly.
Looks like we had a blast celebrating 148 years. We decided to extend our weekend by starting on Wednesday…Canada Day! We headed down to the cottage right after work and it was the best decision we could have made.
Waking up here is always so calming. And the bonus was that we were waking up to enjoy Canada Day. We decided to hit up the harbour front in Kenora and it was beyond! Raisin LOVED the festivities. I mean he was pretty much in toddler paradise. Between bouncy castles, train tractor rides, a petting farm, balloon animals, a cupcake decorating corner, tie dying your own t-shirt, a parade and of course multiple mini Canadian flags…this lil man had his fill of fun all before noon. So of course it was reasonable to expect he’d fall asleep in the car…I mean I was ready to nap after it all too!
After a little snooze and relaxing, we spent the afternoon on the dock fishing, Raisin rowing in mini inflatable boat, filling up buckets of water because of course that’s totally fun, right? And to cap off the evening a nice boat ride after dinner. I’d say it was a pretty perfect day to enjoy the lake, and most of all this gorgeous country we get to call home. Happy Canada Day, friends.
Well we did it. We made our first trip out to the lake as a little family. Let the summer begin! We left right after school/work and about 10 minutes into our 2 hour trek, we realized we forgot 2 essential pieces – Raisin’s blanket and sleep stuffies! We hit the breaks, turned the car around, grabbed them and then hit the road again. Let the summer begin again! The drive took a little longer than usual. Either it was because we were anxious to see the cottage, anxious to get Raisin there sooner than later so he wouldn’t go to bed so late, and also maaaaybe because of 3 construction sites on the highway leaving us all with one lane and bumper to bumper traffic.
We always try to make the drive entertaining however we can. Raisin has a toy, each of us has a snack, Chris and I listen to a stand up comedian or some Canadian classic Vinyl Cafe, Obviously we chat with each other and ask Raisin what he wants to do at the lake as soon as we arrive. The drive is pretty easy and we have timed land markers, one being the fruit stand which we stop at a few times on the way out. Clearly with the first drive of the season we had to pop in. I needed my cherry fix – and it was the best bucket to kick off the season. Of course I had to grab some fresh corn too because seriously, what weekend would it be at the lake without grilled corn and making s’mores?
We arrived about 2 hours and 30 minutes later (thanks summer construction), unpacked in record speed while Raisin ran in and found all his summer toys and activities within seconds and showed them to us all excitedly. We hit the dock and fished for a bit before getting Raisin into bed. Then we all sat down and enjoyed the first bbq of many in the screened in porch.
Dinner at the lake is always fun. Cocktail hour kinda starts around 5ish (mocktails for me), and we take our time all together to kick off the evening. We all take turns making meals, or make them all together as a group. Coming up with a meal is all part of the fun and coming up with new recipes is pretty much a give in. Last year I made this Cheesy Mexican Corn on the Cob at home and decided to test it out with the family for dinner one night. It’s pretty much corn elevated to bacon status. Yes that good. If you like corn, mayo and cheese…then you’re welcome.
I mean corn is already tasty grilled and slathered up with some butter, right? But hear me out, let’s mix some mayo spiked with lime zest and juice and a sprinkle of paprika. Still with me? Okay, now roll that yellow cob and slather it up with this sauce and then roll it in some cheese…and then…well then you’re going to typewriter eat the heck out of it. Next.level.corn on the cob.
The only hard part here…well it’s trying to refrain from eating too much. It’s an easy side dish that goes right on the grill. I love the smell of the BBQ ANY time of the year, but even more so in the summer, because testing out fun new recipes is always a plus. Do yourself a favour and next time your going to make some corn, take an extra 5 min to whip it up into something spectacular.
Cheesy Mexican Corn on the Cob
Recipe from: Jamie Oliver
6 corn on the cob, with husks intact
5 tablespoons light mayonnaise
extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked paprika or cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
90 g mild, hard cheese, such as Parmesan, Zamorano or Pecorino
1 – Soak the corn (husks and all) in cold water for at least 30 minutes – if you can’t find cobs with the husks intact, you don’t need to do this.
2 – Meanwhile, place the mayo into a bowl with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, the zest from the limes and the juice from 1. Mix well, taste and add a squeeze more juice, if needed.
3 – Spread the mayo onto a plate, then dust with the paprika or cayenne pepper and put to one side.
4 – Grate the cheese onto another large plate, then set aside also.
5 – Preheat a BBQ over high heat. Add the corn and grill for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the husks are black and charred all over, turning occasionally – the husks will help to steam the corn until tender.
6 – Peel back the husks, keeping them intact at the base, then roll each cob into the lime-spiked mayo, before rolling into the cheese. Shake off any excess.
Well here we are again Good News, and it looks like this week has been prettttty sweet. After flying solo for a few days we hit up soccer, a play date at the park, and a backyard playdate with the neighbours. As for Thursday, in the afternoon our company is having an outdoor BBQ and the temps are going to be unreal! I can’t wait to be outside for an afternoon that’s not on the weekend. Oh and speaking about the weekend…here we come LAKE! First time for the season and I’m totally salivating. I’ve been waiting to hear the boats buzzing by, and Raisin has been talking about fishing and the dock since the winter. He’s convinced the lake is still frozen for some reason, and will be totally toddler happy when he sees it’s ready for his shenanigans. Looking forward to packing up and heading out after this week! Have a good one guys.
Since Chris has been away on a work trip in Kelowna for the last few days, I’m getting a dose of solo parenting. It’s busy, but it’s been pretty smooth…dare I jinx it!? This means Raisin and I are a tag team. Everything has been status quo. We start the morning with him gathering his stuffies, packing them in his backpack while he tells me “they like it in there mama, and they have to be ready for adventures!” We make our way down together after making the beds, and eat our breakfast in pj’s. He’s been a great helper all around, and clearly we’ve been counting down the sleeps until daddy comes home.
This Monday was his first day back at mini school for the summer. I was totally waiting for a melt down because he was headed into a new room, with new kids, and new everything! One of the reasons Chris takes Raisin to school in the a.m is because when I do, he doesn’t want me to leave…so I was expecting the same. He hesitated for a millisecond and then saw a toy crane…he immediately called it home. We said our goodbyes and I went to his original room to say we’d miss seeing them…and enter water works. What the heck is up with pregnancy hormones?! I think it was a combo of his new room, not seeing the smiling faces I’m used to, and the change for me, not so much for him. Seriously hormones, ya gotta give me a little break.
I couldn’t wait to pick him up at the end of the day. He seriously brings us so much joy. Chris has been texting for updates and photos every chance he gets and I don’t blame him, it’s totally hard to be the one that is away on so many levels. We’ll be picking him up at the airport, and before we know it the trio will be back in action.
Here’s the thing about summer – it’s awesome. Right? Don’t even try to convince me otherwise, because summer and I are very good friends. Sun, sandals, sunglasses, the smell of bbq mixed with sunscreen, laughter, music – kinda can’t complain about it if you ask me. And if you say it’s too hot…there’s always a way to escape the heat (unless you live in a desert)! A splash pad, a pool, an air conditioned store, or the most fun – a patio for some refreshing drinks.
When May rolls around, my instinct is to put away all the snow things! But around here that’s a bit premature – let’s just say we get snow every now and then when you least expect and want it. Really though in the end there’s only things to look forward to. As soon as the snow melts, it’s an open invitation to set up the backyard and prep for summer fun. Dreaming of dining al fresco and then lighting up a bonfire at night to stay toasty are the staples of easing into steady warm summer days.
As the temps rise, we end up bbq’ing pretty much daily and eating fresh, light meals outside. Wish I could say the same for winter, but we carb load up around here and eat at the table or standing in the kitchen catching up on our day. But come summer, salads, veggies, fruits and drinks filled with icecubes are where it’s at…plus a little songza on the side.
Summer also brings more food experimenting. I don’t know why, but it’s always fun to try different meals or desserts. This is kinda where cauliflower chocolate cake comes into the picture. I had some extra cauliflower on hand and used the power of google to see what I could possibly whip up. Cauliflower … in cake popped up. Seems legit google, and news flash it totally is. The only down fall is I totally hate the way boiling cauliflower makes the house smell. Thank the summer for allowing all windows to be open, with the kitchen fan going at the same time. Another summer bonus – open all the windows!
Okay, okay so you’re probably wondering, can you TASTE cauliflower in this? I dare you to give it to anyone who hates veggies of any kind to try an detect it. It pretty much tastes like chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting (so the best).
I don’t know if it’s the cauliflower, but the cake ends up with this fudge like texture, and is totally delicious. I know you might be thinking it’s crazy, but in my opinion, so is snow in May. I’m not sure how you spend your summers, but I hope it’s outdoors with a few laughs, a few drinks, dinner al fresco, and maybe followed by a dessert in the form of chocolate cake with cauliflower. Give it a whirl, or two, cause I’m pretty sure you’ll make it more than once just to tell people there’s cauliflower in it.
Recipe adapted from: All Recipes
Ingredients for the Cake
2 handfuls raw cauliflower florets
2 cups white sugar
1 – 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 – 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 – 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
1 – Boil cauliflower gently, covered or uncovered for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain let cool and puree. Should yeild about 1/2 a cup.
2 – Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two nine inch round pans.
3 – In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil, cauliflower puree and vanilla, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed of mixer. Stir in the boiling water last. Batter will be thin. Pour evenly into the prepared pans.
4 – Bake 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Ingredients for the Cream Cheese Frosting
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of half a lemon (optional)
1 – In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and yogurt until creamy.
2 – Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar.
3 – Frost cake, and store the rest in refrigerator after use.
One birthday down, 2 carnivals in the bag, and 3 father’s to celebrate on Sunday. Woah June, you’re all kinds of fun aren’t you? We had one of the best weekends so far starting with the celebration of Chris’ birthday weekend. Chris, Raisin and I kicked off Friday with a trip to NuBurger, then headed over to Baked Expectations for a slice of cake the size of our heads. Needless to say we were in food coma’s for the night.
Saturday was an outing to The Red River Ex for rides, street meat and games with the Raisin. And that night Chris and I went out for his birthday – it’s been awhile since we went out solo together. It was a perfect date. We walked over to a little restaurant, had 4 amazing dishes and walked back home to end the evening. Sunday was a fun morning of coffee and errands – mainly washing and purging out the garage (this made me ridiculously happy) and I cleaned out my car like nobodies’ business. The afternoon was spent poolside with Chris’ parents at their place for a fun gathering to cap of the birthday weekend festivities!
This weekend we’ll be doing more celebrating of course! I’m off on Friday with Raisin as his school is closed – totally looking forward to a mama, Raisin day which kicks off the weekend for us. Hopefully the weather holds up on Saturday and we can hit up the zoo and see some polar bears. It’s been awhile since we’ve gone and I think we’re about due for a trip. And of course, Father’s day galore which will take all of Sunday. We’re thinking brunch, but plans are still up in the air to solidify if we go out, or do a fun BBQ all together. Here’s hoping you’re all having a fab week and an even better weekend!
Check these beaded bracelets out. Pretty snazzy right!? But you know what makes them even cooler? The fact that they’re all about sun safety!
The other day at Raisins’ school, a volunteer from Cancer Care came over to help the kids make these bracelets while teaching them about uv index. If you’re like me, you already slather your child up with sunscreen, make them wear a hat (which hopefully stays on for more than 5 minutes in our case), and protect their little skin from those harsh UV rays. No matter how much we reinforce it, sometimes it’s with a path of resistance, but for some reason when you get to make a bracelet that changes colours in the sun to tell you how much you need to protect yourself from the uv rays…well then it’s a game changer!
So here’s how these things work. If you’ve gathered what I mentioned above, the little clear beads on this bracelet change colour once you step outside. The colour scale goes from low to high. Order is: green, yellow, orange, red, and purple.
Green < 2 (low) Minimal sun protection required. Cover up and use sunscreen if outside longer than 60 minutes.
Yellow 3 to 5 (moderate) Cover up, wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen when outside for 30 minutes or more
Orange 6 to 7 (high) UV damages the skin and can cause sunburn - Reduce sun time between 11am and 4pm, seek shade, cover up and use sunscreen
Red 8 to 10 (very hight) Extra precautions required. Avoid the sun between 11am and 4pm, seek shade, over up and use sunscreen
Purple 11+ (extreme) Take full precautions - Unprotected skin will be damaged and burn in minutes.
So ultimately the darker the shade of the bead colour, the higher the UV.
Raisin adores this bracelet, and for the parents it’s a bonus of informing not just our little ones, but a nice reminder for us as well to slather up pretty much ALL the time. The clear beads for the most part have been purple. In all honestly it shocked even me a bit to see how even with loads of cloud cover you’re getting more sun than you think! Slather up people, and wear a stylish hat to boot!
When I was younger, my friends and I would always play this game called M.A.S.H. Does this ring a bell at all to anyone? How about slum books? These must have been an 80’s or early 90’s thing. We totally loved this game and played it over and over until we eventually ended up with what we truly wanted for our “futures.”
If you’re wondering, M.A.S.H stands for Mansion, Apartment, Shack, and House – the places you’d ideally like to live in. This is how it all starts. You then have to select 4 of your crushes, choose 4 different amounts of children you’d like to have, and 4 different types of cars you’d like to own. Whoever was jotting down the info would then start match-sticking numbers until you frantically yelled “Stop!” A tally of numbers would be made, and then they’d begin counting clockwise starting at the M and eliminate/scratch off a potential person, car or amount of children at the tallied number. This would continue on until you had one of each left per category. If this isn’t making ANY sense or if you haven’t played it…check it out here —> How to Play MASH.
I know it sounds like a silly game, but it was one of those fun games to play on paper right after x’s and o’s, hangman, or the most popular of all time, the paper fortune teller. All so simple, yet totally fun. It’s nice to think that these games still exist and are totally easy enough for anyone to play. I’m all over taking a step back and enjoying the simple things sometimes, don’t ya agree? Although ending up with 10 kids, in a shack, driving a Mazda MPV doesn’t sound all that desirable from my M.A.S.H. memories, but it’s beyond hilarious nonetheless!
Aside from fun games when it comes to simple, recipes totally come to mind. You know, kinda like playing a game like M.A.S.H. or making this ridiculously easy Baba Ghanoush recipe. Who needs to buy dip when you can make your own with a few simple ingredients and flavour that kicks the store bought kinds behind? I honestly stumbled into making this one day after I baked a Chocolate Eggplant Torte and had eggplant to spare. Low and behold a dip was the winner, and now I make it weekly to have on hand to devour with some crunchy veggies or naan bread.
If you’ve never tried making this, I highly recommend it. It’s creamy, savoury and tangy all at the same time. Plus it totally rivals any tzaziki or hummus as your go to dips. After making this, try to switch back and I bet you one Ghanoush you’ll be seriously disappointed that ya did. You’ll want to inhale it with anything, and will probably do so while reminiscing and playing a solo game of M.A.S.H. at the same time. Now excuse me while I go and lick the bowl clean of what’s leftover from yesterday’s batch. P.S my real life, House, Chris, 1 Raisin (with another on the way), Chevy Equinox – and I’m pretty happy with the real life result!
1 Medium size eggplant
2 Garlic cloves, minced
4 Tablespoons tahini
1 Lemon, juiced
Dash of sea salt
Olive oil, for drizzling
2 Tablespoons Basil, chopped (optional but tasty)
1 – Set your oven to broil on high setting. Place parchment paper on cookie sheet. Slice the eggplant length wise, drizzle olive oil on the fleshy part and place on the cookie sheet, cut side down.
2 – Broil for 20 minutes, or until the eggplant is cooked through and very soft. Remove the eggplant and let reset until cool to touch.
3 – Scoop flesh out of eggplant into food processor, it should be really soft and tender and fall easily out of the skin.
4 – Add tahini, garlic, sea salt and lemon juice. Mix until creamy and drizzle in a bit of olive oil and pulse a few extra times. Add in basil of using and pulse a few times more.
5 – Serve with desired veggies, crackers, or naan bread. If leftovers manage to stick around #doubtit, it will store nicely in the fridge for a few days in an air tight container.
Dip it real good.
This weekend will be filled with presents, cake, a few rides at the Red River Ex, and a pool party. This post will be short and sweet, but it’s a little kick off to our birthday weekend celebration for this guy. Lucky lady over here. We LOVE birthdays, so this weekend will be way too much fun!