Family Festival at Timberline Ranch, April 25th.

If you and the kiddos like all things Western…

Be sure to save the date for Timberline Ranch’s Family Festival on Saturday, April 25th, from 10am-4pm!

Timberline Ranch Family Festival

Timberline Ranch in Maple Ridge will be hosting their third annual Family Festival! This event will feature western shows, pony rides, hay rides, a petting zoo, a western photo booth, archery, climbing wall activities, door prizes, and a whole array of other exciting activities.

Timberline Ranch

Helping those who can’t help themselves. #MillionActsOfKindness #BCSPCA

Growing up, I had several pets…

Pets

Photo credit: The Island News

Dogs, cats, birds, chinchillas, rabbits.

Once, I adopted from the SPCA.

My Mom gave me some money for my 20th Birthday and I decided that I wanted a kitty. It was a pouring rainy day and I went down to my local SPCA shelter to see if they had any kittens available. When I entered the cat room, I was immediately drawn to one little lady who greeted me so enthusiastically. Her name was Sophie. She was a tortoiseshell with grey, white and peach fur. Her little tail was crooked at the end and she had a squeak of a meow.

I loved her and she loved me for 16 years. She was my little girl before I had my own little girl, and I miss her dearly.

Now that we are a family of four, hubby and I think it might be time for us to welcome a furry family member into our home.

We’ve discussed that when it’s time, we want to visit our local SPCA shelters to find the right pet for us. There are so many pets waiting in shelters looking for good homes, that we are adamant about getting one from there.

Not only do they have cats and dogs, but there are rodents like hamsters, ferrets and rabbits, that also need homes. But when you consider adopting a pet, keep in mind that they have needs to be met. Not only do they need feeding and activity, but in the case of rodents, their cages need to be kept clean as well.

A lot of people like to buy pets for their children as gifts for the holidays, like Birthdays, Christmas and Easter. And unfortunately, once these pets get bigger or the child tires of them, these little creatures get brought into shelters or let loose in local parks where they are unable to fend for themselves and usually die as a result. It’s a much better idea to really prepare your family to welcome a furry member by discussing what there needs will be.

Photo credit: The Inhabitots

Photo credit: The Inhabitots

This Easter, instead of getting your kiddos a bunny or chicks, stick to the stuffies, crafts, treats (if they’re allowed) or consider making a donation to the BCSPCA to help the shelter animals in need.

Please help the BCSPCA fulfill their #MillionActsOfKindness by donating, volunteering or adopting a pet!

Million Acts of Kindness

A little bit of Bohemia comes to town March 27-29, 2015 {Giveaway} #SaltSpringInTheCity 

Salt Spring Island is an area of BC that I have yet to discover. 

I have a friend who lives there and says that moving there was a fantastic decision for her family.

I love how there seems to be a great sense of community and more care-free way of living. We’ve been to local markets, on BC Ferries and shopped in unique retailers that carry products made on Salt Spring. There are so many AMAZING artisans who call it their home. 

Salt Spring in the City

A Piece of Bohemia Comes to Vancouver March 27 to 29th.

For its second year, Salt Spring in the City – a kind of village market meets art show – returns to Vancouver March 27 to 29th to showcase the treasures and flavours of the Salish Sea. Visitors to Vancouver’s Heritage Hall will get to experience food and fashion, paintings and pottery, wine and crafts, and a sense of nostalgia for the West Coast’s homesteading, handcrafted bohemian heritage.

At this now-annual fair-atmosphere event, Vancouverites get to discover the wares of woodworkers, designers, jewellers and potters, artisanal cheesemakers and preservers, weavers and painters, artists and foodies.

Admission is $3 for adults, and $1 for kids — with partial proceeds going to Save-On-Meats’ Sandwich Token Program, which helps those in need.

Salt Spring in the City will take over Heritage Hall (3102 Main Street) on Friday, March 27, 4-9pm, Saturday, March 28, 10am-6pm and on Sunday, March 29, from 10am-5pm.

 *The first 25 people through the door everyday will get an awesome gift bag filled with Salt Spring Island goodies.

 FREE COFFEE will be provided by Salt Spring Coffee for the duration of the event.

THE GIVEAWAY!!!

 I’ve joined forces with the uber amazing, 3Chickens and a Boat to offer a super fantastic gift basket to give away to one lucky reader! Please enter via the a Rafflecopter link below.

Prize Basket Includes:

Alvaro Sanchez: Sterling Silver Earrings ($45.- value)
Lee Ann Norgard: Mug
Organic Gaia Foods: Apple Chutney
Bruce Coney: Cruet Bottle
Big Bear and Wolf: Art Print
6 Sasspot: Shot Glasses
Monsoon Coast: Spices
Salt Spring Kitchen Co.: Jam
Salt Spring Cheese: Cheese
Ulrieke Benner: Salt Spring Key Chain and Love Heart
Harosef: Wall hanging trust print
Salt Spring Ales: Beer
Salt Spring Coffee: Travel mug & coffee

PLUS 2 event tickets!!!!!

NOTE: The prize can not be exchanged in anyway and MUST be picked up at the salt spring in the city event between March 27-29th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Missing Link {Kickstarter Campaign} #ToboToys

If you recall last year, I introduced you to the Tobo Track from Tobo Toys

Tobo Toys

Just in case you missed it, Tobo Track is a fantastic track set made from wood that your kids can use to play with all their cars and train sets. They can create different paths by connecting the pieces in a variety of patterns.

This year, Tobo Toys is launching a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the new adapter!

Tobo Toys Kickstarter campaign

The adapter will allow your kids to attach their Tobo Tracks to Thomas the Train and Lego sets that they may already have 😃 Now they can play with all their sets together!

If you would like to support Tobo Toys Kickstarter campaign for the new adapter, please follow this link to make your contribution.

Tobo Toys

What’s for Dinner? Turkey Swedish Meatballs

The other day, I had a hankering for meatballs and pasta, but didn’t want to go the standard spaghetti sauce route again, so I came up with this:

Turkey Swedish Meatballs

 

Turkey Swedish Meatballs

Adapted from Jessica Alba’s Turkey Meatballs & Damn Delicious’ Swedish Meatballs

Ingredients for the meatballs:

2 turkey breast whizzed through a food processor until ground

1 cup of Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

1/4 cup finely chopped carrots

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped zucchini
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

 

Ingredients for the gravy:

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  •  
  • 4 cups beef broth
  •  
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  •  
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  •  
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

 

Directions:

To make the meatballs: In a large bowl, mix turkey, panko, carrots, zucchini, onion, eggs, Italian seasoning, and salt until well combined; form into 1-inch balls.

Meatball ingredients

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add meatballs and cook, turning, until browned, about 7 minutes.

Turkey meatballs

  • To make the gravy: Melt butter in the skillet. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in beef broth and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in sour cream; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • The gravy
  • Stir in meatballs and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through and thickened, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

 I had some dregs of dry pasta sitting in the pantry, so I cooked them up to have with these yummy meatballs. I steamed up some asparagus and sliced up some fresh cucumber sprinkled with dill. Yummers!

Take the Kids Soaring Over Spring Break! #FlyOverCanada {Giveaway}

Wouldn’t it be super cool to see Canada from a bird’s-eye view?

Whizzing through the sky over mountains, plains, water, cityscapes, and bridges!

FlyOver Canada

Here’s some more info about FlyOver Canada:

FlyOver Canada is the must-see attraction for kids in Vancouver. This award-winning, cinematic thrill ride offers an unparalleled perspective of the country’s vast landscape, bringing the Canadian geography book to life in an amazing way!

Strapped into seats, feet dangling, riders tilt, dip and dive high up over mountain peaks, towering forests, and cascading waterfalls, which all appear on a giant dome projection before them. Unlike any imax, this film is 4D and fully immersive, stimulating the senses with refreshing breezes, scents and mists natural to each environment.

FlyOver Canada

From March 9-20, children and youth (under 17 years of age) are treated to a 25% “Spring Break” discount.

Tickets are available at flyovercanada.com. Children must be at least 102cm (40″) to enter FlyOver Canada (approximate height of average a 4 year-old). Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult or guardian aged 14 years or old.

FlyOver Canada has generously provided Raincity Parent, two (2) tickets to giveaway to one lucky reader! Please enter via the Rafflecopter link below. Contest runs from March 14th-21st, 2015 and is open to residents of Greater Vancouver and surrounding areas.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What’s for dinner? Shamrock Pizza

It’s Pizza Night at our house…

and our daughter has requested a shamrock-shaped pizza in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day next week.

I prefer to make homemade pizza crust rather than get the store-bought, and frozen pizza is a big no-no in our house.

We love to put our own toppings on our pizzas, especially black olives! We have two Olive Monsters in our house, so our pizzas are usually pretty smothered in those!

Here’s what I made:

Shamrock Pizza

Home-made Pizza Dough

Adapted from The Taylor House

Ingredients:

1 package or 2-1/4 tsp yeast 

1 cup hot water

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2-1/2 cups flour

1 tbsp Italian Seasoning

1 tbsp garlic powder

Directions:

Mix Yeast, hot water and sugar together and let sit for 10 minutes.

Next add the oil and seasonings.

Flour is added last.

Let sit for 10-15 minutes

After resting the dough, press out into your desired shape on a pre-greased pan. Top with sauce of your choice, this is a good one, and your favourite toppings. We like shredded chicken, salami and ham, peppers, onion, mushrooms, spinach, basil, loads of olives and a major amount of cheese!

Put into a pre-heated, 400 deg F oven for 20 minutes.

Let cool 5 minutes so the cheese settles down, then cut into slices.

We like to drizzle ours with Valentina hot sauce or sriracha sauce and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan.

Teaching Children Problem Solving and Communication Skills Through Art and Story-Telling #ColourWithMe {Promo Code + Giveaway}

Toronto-based, Colour With Me is coming to Vancouver for a fun afternoon of creative thinking and art for children on Easter Sunday. They are hosting their first workshop at the city’s best!  Swiss Bakery will be providing fresh baked goodies and coffee for parents. This workshop is suitable for kids aged 5-13, but if your 4yo is great at following instructions, they are welcomed as well.

Colour With Me

Here’s the details:

** SPACE IS LIMITED**

Ticket includes:

  • All supplies and materials
  • Apron to use
  • Painting project to take home to share with friends and family!
  • Yummy pastries by Swiss Bakery

Children will learn:

  • To llustrate ideas onto paper through sketching, pencil crayons or oil pastels.
  • How to communicate ideas and thought process through one-on-one interactions with the instructor and peers
  • To build on their ideas and use art to develop a plan for the final artwork (planning of colours, details, etc)
  • The fundamentals of painting with acrylic, handling various brushes, and colour mixing.

What will happen in their 1-hour workshop:

  1. Story-telling: Mr.Toffee and the giant red apple.
    Children will learn about our adventurous mascot cat, Mr.Toffee, who loves to explore the city by climbing on top of buildings.  One day he was on top of Swiss Bakery and looked across to find a giant red apple!  He tried using ropes, ladders and even building a bridge to get to the other side to break all of them before reaching the red apple.  Mr. Toffee remembers the children at Swiss Bakery to be very creative! So he asks the children for their help to think of a super fun and creative way to get to the giant red apple.
  2. Ideation: Children will sketch their ideas onto paper through a variety of dry mediums
  3. Communication: Children share their ideas and refine it.
  4. Planning: Children will take their refined idea and turn it into their new masterpiece and also learn the basics of painting with acrylic.

Purchase Early-bird tickets before Tuesday, March 24th.

  • Location: Swiss Bakery
  • Address: 143 East 3rd Avenue, V5T 1C7 Vancouver BC
  • Date: Sunday, April 5th, 2015

Due to the limited space, we are offering two separate time-slots to sign up for:

Group 1
1:00-2:00PM

Group 2
2:30-3:30PM

FAQs

What do parents do while they wait for their child?

They will have the patio set up for parents to relax!  Swiss Bakery will be offering coffee and baked goods.

What can/can’t I bring to the event?

All supplies and materials are included!  Just ensure to wear proper clothing to have lots of fun with paint!

Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Please email: colourwithme@gmail.com or call Eva @ 647-588-8480

View past events here.

Is my registration/ticket transferrable?

Yes – If you can not make it and have already purchased a ticket, you are more than welcome to give your friend the ticket.  We can collect additional information at location.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

Please print your ticket or present ticket from your phone on the day of the event.

Please click here to purchase your ticket(s).

COLOR WITH ME HAS GENEROUSLY OFFERED ALL RAINCITY PARENT READERS COMPLIMENTARY ADMISSION TO THIS FANTASTIC WORKSHOP!!! PLEASE CLICK ON THIS LINK AND USE PROMO CODE “RAINCITY100” ON YOUR TRANSACTION.

*ALSO, ONE LUCKY RAINCITY PARENT READER CAN WIN A COMPLIMENTARY PAINTING OF THEIR MASCOT, MR.TOFFEE! PLEASE ENTER VIA THE RAFFLECOPTER LINK BELOW. GIVEAWAY OPEN TO RESIDENTS OF THE GREATER VANCOUVER, BC AREA ONLY. GIVEAWAY RUNS FROM MARCH 13-31ST, 2015.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What’s for Breakfast? Chunky Monkey Pancakes

It’s Spring Break and thankfully, at least one of our kiddos is sleeping in!

I usually save the big breakfasts for the weekend, but it’s a rainy day today…so why not?

Here’s what I made:

Chunky Monkey Pancakes

Chunky Monkey Pancakes

Courtesy of One Sweet Appetite

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp sugar

3/4 cup buttermilk (of course I had no buttermilk, so I stirred 1tbsp of vinegar into 3/4 cup of 2% milk to make my own)

3 tbsp melted butter

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 large bananas, diced

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat a skillet to medium heat.

Whisk together the flour, powder, soda, salt, and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and butter. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry. Fold in the bananas, chocolate chips, and pecans.

Pour the batter onto the griddle. (I use a 1/4 C. measuring cup per each cake). Cook until the sides are slightly browned and the pancake starts to form little bubbles on the top. Flip and cook until browned.

Serve warm with butter and syrup, or for a little extra kick add chocolate syrup.

I really liked this recipe because there were chunks of banana and they were quite fluffy 😃 The kidlets gobbled these goodies up pretty quickly!

 

 

Snack Attack! Black Bean Brownies

It’s Spring Break for the next couple of weeks and we’ve got our daughter’s friend with us this week.

It’s great having him here…my kids are actually being nice to each other and they’re keeping busy showing him their toys and playing together.

This gives me an opportunity to try some new recipes. Here’s what I made:

Black Bean Brownies

Black Bean Brownies

Courtesy of Chocolate-Covered Katie

Ingredients:

1 x 15-oz can, drained and rinsed very well

2 tbsp cocoa powder 

1/2 cup quick oats

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup pure maple syrup 

1/4 cup coconut oil

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup to 2/3 cup chocolate chips

optional: more chips, for presentation

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. 

Combine all ingredients except chips in a good food processor, and blend until completely smooth. Really blend well. (A blender can work if you absolutely must, but the texture—and even the taste—will be much better in a food processor.) 

Stir in the chips, then pour into a greased 8×8 pan. Optional: sprinkle extra chocolate chips over the top. 

Cook the black bean brownies 15-18 minutes, then let cool at least 10 minutes before trying to cut. If they still look a bit undercooked, you can place them in the fridge overnight and they will magically firm up! 

Makes 9-12 brownies.

I was completely surprised at how yummy these brownies were! More texture than traditional brownies made with flour, but full-o-fibre 😜