{{Featured Post}} Volunteer Grandparents

I will always remember going over to my grandparents house for a visit when I was little…

My Grampa would make Pufferoo (this was an AMAZING baked omelet with only bacon in it) and potatoes for breakfast and my Gramma would pull out the Bunnykins dishes for my sister and I. After breakfast, we’d go down to the basement and pull out the old dolls that were stashed away and then run up to the attic and go into the games cupboard and play Clue, Dress Up dolls, and Monopoly.  

 

I will never forget the smells around their home. They lived in an old house in Vancouver and it had lath and plaster walls and probably asbestos insulation. My Grampa’s garage smelled of oil and grease, and he had a huge collection of tools. My Gramma always had fresh baked cookies in her St. Bernard cookie jar. These cookies were amazing…except for the walnut pieces 😜

I have some very fond memories of time spent with my grandparents. Kids need grandparents and grandparents need grandkids! 

 

Some families aren’t so fortunate to have these people in their lives. Perhaps the grandparents passed too soon, having children weren’t in some people’s cards, the distance is too great or family differences are the reason.

Fortunately, there is an organization out there called Volunteer Grandparents.  

 

Located in Burnaby, BC, Volunteer Grandparents is a program that brings young persons together with older adults. 

The intergenerational relationships created through our program are mutually beneficial. For children and families, a volunteer grandparent’s invaluable wisdom can be a positive guiding force in their life. The influence of a volunteer grandparent can help them through the challenges of school, peer group acceptance and self esteem building. 

For older adults, a strong relationship with a member of a younger generation can let them feel connected to a fast changing society, avoid loneliness and isolation, and allow them to have an influence on upcoming generations. In addition, seniors who volunteer often experience a great improvement in mental and physical health as a result of their active community involvement. 

If you are interested in finding a volunteer grandparent or if you are an older adult wishing to connect with families with children, be sure to visit the Volunteer Grandparent website to get more information about this great program.

http://www.volunteergrandparents.ca

  

That’s my boy! #YMCCommunity

As parents, we try our best to protect our precious little ones from violence and swearing…

but on occasion, there is no avoiding exposing them to the ugliness around us.

We spell out swear words when their little ears are nearby, and fumble to change the channel when adult content, whether violent or sexual, shows up on the TV screen.

Recently, we were privileged to be witness to an argument in public where swear words were being thrown around. Ugh! No avoiding that one.

Our 5-1/2yo daughter has always been very good at not repeating “grown up” words, even when she’s angry. But our 2-1/2 yo son, OY VEY! He is the BIGGEST parrot and has the most impeccable timing when he chooses to share his new found vocabulary.

I was picking our daughter up from school the other day and I brought along the wee dude. We always stay for a little while to play with friends and chit chat with the others parents.

When it was time to go, I hollered for my munchkins to head to the van and Tyrannosaurus Toddler yelled back, “Shut the F*€% up!”

Face Palm

I nearly died!

The playground got quiet and I felt all eyes on me. I wanted to disappear. How do you react to THAT!?

I quickly went to him, advised him that these words were grown up words and not appropriate for kids to use, but the more I did this, the more he thought it was funny and shared this with the onlookers.

I scooped him up and we made tracks to the van. I’m sure a great discussion was had in my absence, but whatever.

No, I don’t teach my kids these words. Yes, I have occasionally let a few slip out. Yes, I try to correct them when they are used. No, I’m not worried that others think I’m a terrible parent.

Life happens…roll with the punches. Kids will be kids and parents will always learn as we go along.

PS- I’m sorry my kid taught yours to swear. Next up…arm pit farts!

What’s for dinner? Creamy Mushroom & Spinach Pasta

The kids were driving me crazy today…

They were both home, as our little lady had a dodgey tummy and needed to be kept close to the washroom. It was also an epic weather day consisting of rain, sun and even hail, so going out wasn’t ideal either.

It’s always a good day when you have bored kids and NONE of their toys are desirable, except the one that the other kid is currently playing with, then it’s war!

Here’s what we had for dinner:

Creamy Mushroom and spinach pasta

Creamy Mushroom and Spinach Pasta

Adapted from She Wears Many Hats

Ingredients:

8 oz pasta, uncooked (I used rigatoni)

3 tbsp all-purpose flour

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup milk

½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

3 tbsp olive oil

8 oz sliced mushrooms

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup grated Parmesan or Gruyere

2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves

Directions:

Begin cooking pasta according to package instructions.

Whisk together flour, chicken broth, milk, salt and pepper. Set aside.

While pasta cooks, in a large skillet heat olive oil over medium-high heat. When oil begins to ripple add sliced mushrooms, sauté for 6 minutes. Add minced garlic, sauté for 2 more minutes until garlic just begins to brown.

Whisk flour, chicken broth, milk, salt and pepper mixture into mushrooms and garlic, bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 3-4 minutes.

Add shredded cheese, stir until cheese has melted.

Mix in spinach, allow to wilt.

Add drained pasta to skillet, toss to coat.

The kids weren’t really fans of the pasta that I had chosen, so next time I might use rotini, macaroni or a long pasta.

Add a little bit more sweetness to your day…naturally. #Honibe {Giveaway}

Waking up at the crack of dawn by being tickled by your little one is a pretty sweet way to wake up.

I’ve never been much of a morning person (I’m still not, but coffee helps), but getting up to spend the day with my kids sure beats the alarm clock yelling at me to get my rear in gear and off to work.

Until I was pregnant, breakfast was never something that I did. I just could not bring myself to eat anything until at least 10:00am, and usually be then, I was totally starvolo! I even started taking vitamins while I was pregnant. Another thing I hadn’t done since being a kid and choking back those aweful Flintstone vitamins.

Photo credit: Reddit

Photo credit: Reddit

Vitamins have come a long way since I was a kid. Consumers are more aware of what manufacturers include in their products and they are demanding less artificial junk and more natural ingredients.

Honibe® is a manufacturer who listens to what consumers wants.

HonibeThe number one ingredient in their products is honey!

Honey is a natural sugar produced by bees and is known for it’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is used to aid in digestion, athletes use it as a natural energy source, diabetics use it to help control sugar levels, it can help with weight loss, insomnia, cough relief and helps boost your immune system.

Honibe Honey Gummies

Honibe’s® Honey Gummies are delicious vitamins that both kids and grown-ups can enjoy. They contain honey and just the right amount of vitamins and minerals that you need to maintain a healthy body with only natural colours and flavours.

Honibe® Honey Gummies can be found at your local pharmacies or you can check here to locate the stores nearest to you.

Honibe Honey Gummies

GIVEAWAY!!!!

Enter to WIN a 1 year supply of Honibe® Honey Gummies! This contest is open to Canadian residents 18+ (excluding Quebec). Please enter via the Rafflecopter link below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What’s for dinner? Pork roast and all the fixin’s.

It was a cold, rainy day today and I thought a roast dinner would help warm us up.

Unfortunately, the roast beef at the local grocery store were practically a million dollars, so I settled on pork.

Here’s what I made:

Pork roast with all the fixin's

PART 1

Pork Roast with Onion Caraway Gravy

Courtesy of Canadian Living

Ingredients:

1 tbsp (15 mL) butter

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 pork loin centre roast boneless, (3-1/2 lb/1.75 kg)

2 tsp (10 mL) caraway seeds, crushed

1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

1/2 tsp (2 mL) pepper

1-3/4 cups (425 mL) hot sodium-reduced chicken stock

3/4 cup (175 mL) white wine or sodium-reduced chicken stock

2 tbsp (30 mL) all-purpose flour

 

Directions:

In skillet, melt butter over medium heat; fry onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Transfer to small roasting pan.Sprinkle pork with caraway seeds, salt and pepper; place on onion. Roast in 325°F (160°C) oven for 1-1/4 hours.Add hot stock and wine to pan. Roast until meat thermometer registers 160°F (71°C), about 1-1/4 hours. Transfer pork to cutting board; tent with foil and let stand for 15 minutes before carving.Place roasting pan over medium-high heat and bring pan juices to boil. In glass measure, whisk 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the hot juices with flour; whisk back into pan and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Serve with pork.

  • PART 2
  • Roasted Beets
  • Adapted from foodnetwork.com
  • Ingredients:
  • 4 beets
    2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    1-1/2 tsp thyme
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Directions:
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.Remove the tops and the roots of the beets and peel each one with a vegetable peeler. Cut the beets in 1-1/2-inch chunks. (Small beets can be halved, medium ones cut in quarters, and large beets cut in eighths.)Place the cut beets on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, thyme leaves, salt, and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, turning once or twice with a spatula, until the beets are tender.
  • I mashed up some potatoes with herb and garlic light cream cheese with a bit of milk and steamed up a mountain of spinach to serve along side. Thumbs up all around!

 

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