Saturday, August 01, 2015

summer camp at the fair

My girls were recently gifted with a week of summer camp. They were given the choice between two camps, but picking the brand new Ancaster Fair Day Camp was a no brainer for many many reasons, including Revill Family bestie, ML being the camp director. So there was zero worry about whether or not the girls would have the best week ever. In related news this summer has been chock full of the "best weeks ever" with more best weeks ever on the horizon! Yep, we are doing summer right!


So what is Ancaster Fair Camp all about? Not surprisingly they have animals! Not your average animals that most kids come in contact with, but there's a cow and goats and ducks and bunnies! Each one cuter than the last and the kids get hands on experience with them all!


Of course there are crafts. What self respecting summer camp doesn't have crafts. These crafts are special though, the kids can enter these crafts into the Ancaster Fair in September!


The girls came home with a stack of cute crafts with the entry tags already filled out! They can't wait to enter them. The kids got to spend time baking, playing, and learning camp songs all the while "earning their buttons".


By all reports my girls were game to try everything, they were friendly, respectful, they made new friends and as I mentioned, had the best week ever!


There was time spent with community heroes. Firefighters that let the kids have a try at working the fire hose. This picture just kills me. That's Maya back in the group, arms in the air cheering on one of the camp counselors. 


They had set up a pylon and the kids were trying successfully knock it over using the hose.


Looks like it was difficult business.


They wrapped a week of amazingly fun experiences with an animal parade and a trip to Ripley's Aquarium.


I am so incredibly grateful that my girls had the opportunity to attend not just a week of camp, but a week of camp put together by one of my very best friends. I have been an ear (and a hug) for her since this project was suggested. I have watched and listened to her put this whole thing together piece by piece for the past few months and it amazing. Every bit of it screams ML and trust me when I tell you, that is a good thing. I knew when she told me about this that it was going to be something great, but the reality has far outweighed my expectations. I am so proud of that chick!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

random bits

Mike and I finally wrapped up the final season of Sons of Anarchy. Yep, we are late to every cool party. No spoilers, but I was satisfied with the way the series closed out. I miss Nero and his old man cardigans already!

Big news our internet package improved greatly a few weeks ago, so I set us up with Netflix. We can't go crazy with it, but it's super great to be able to catch up on all the cool shows everyone else is watching like Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Once Upon a Time, The Unstoppable Kimmy Schmidt and Suits!

Derek is where we landed first. Mike and I are both huge Ricky Gervais fans, so it was kind of a no brainer. Derek is unlike anything else I have ever seen him do. It is incredibly sweet and each episode has been near tears. 

Is it just me or does this summer seem like it's just racing along?

Abby has braces. Maya is on the verge of finally losing a tooth. It's been a big summer so far.

Monday, July 20, 2015

summer loving

Lazy summer evening visits
Summer camp
Plants vs Zombies 2
Love Anthony

What are you summer loving?

Thursday, July 09, 2015

keeping it real

So the oldest recently became a teenager and in celebration of that we gifted her with a cellphone. I was super excited to give it to her. I had entered some trusted adults into her contacts and had them text her birthday messages. Then the best part.... I set her ring tone to happy birthday and we planned to call her on it first thing in the morning.

Here's the thing about me, I have an incredible Mom who took the time to make the little things special when we were growing up. She was probably the 70's equivalent of a pinterest Mom. I look back on my childhood with overwhelming fondness despite it being far from perfect and I want the same for my girls. To that end I get ridiculously excited when I put together a plan like the cellphone birthday plan. On the 13 year old's birthday eve I was busting with excitement. So much so I confided in MyPie as I tucked her in.

Me: Wanna know what we got Abbers for her birthday?
Maya: Yes!
Me: Can you keep this information to yourself until morning?
Maya: Uh, yeah.
Me: Okay, we got her a cellphone! She's going to freak out, right?
Maya: Yes!!!
Me: I can't wait to give it to her.

and then, in typical youngest child fashion...

Maya: Uh, could I put my name on that card? I didn't actually get her anything.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

the reptile man

This summer, for the first time, Maya has joined the Summer Reading Program at the library. Enrollment in the club comes with a nifty badge on a lanyard that keeps track of her accomplishments. Not surprisingly she needs to read six books, tell the librarian about one of the books she's read, download a book or magazine to a device and attend a program. Our branch of the library doesn't have a huge selection of programs available compared to other branches but as luck would have it the week we were off they were offering a session with the Reptile Man. Maya was in.


We've actually had the Reptile Man out to Maya's school for a special educational day. He was great then and he did not disappoint at the library. He had toads the size of dinner plates and lizards longer than his arm. He was great explaining to the kids where these animals originate and how they spend their days in the wild. He had one adorable (and I can say that because it was on the other side of the room from me) little lizard that was very interested in the kids. So interested in fact he took every opportunity to leap into the crowds amid squeals of delight/horror. 


And then he pulled out the snakes and if you know Mike at all then you know....... there is never enough room between Mike and a snake. This was just the little one.


That is a full grown boa constrictor he's got wrapped around his body. Mike was seriously considering hanging out in the parking lot for this bit, but he stayed.


Maya was a cool cat through the whole thing.

Do you frequent the library?

Sunday, July 05, 2015

strawberry jalapeno jam

Summer always signals the beginning of the canning season for me. We begin with jam of course. I am a jam lover and while the grocery store stuff will do in a pinch, homemade jam just tastes like sunshine.

This year had a couple of twists to the jam making process, first being my sous chef MyPie. Who decided that she needed to learn to cook and quick because what was going to happen when she was out in the big bad world all on her own without her Mama to cook her dinner? Obviously we needed to start the "taking care of yourself Life Classes" with a instructional session on jam making. Toast and jam shall always be on grown up Maya's menu.


Also this year I decided to try a strawberry jalapeno jam that I thought would be the perfect addition to our brie and goat cheese addiction.


And guys I was so so so right. It was actually pretty tasty on a croissant I'm not going to lie to you. If you already posses jam making skills it was incredibly easy to put together.

4 cups, crushed fresh strawberries
1 cup minced jalapeno peppers
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 package powdered fruit pectin
7 cups sugar (yeah I know but it's jam. Slot it in the sometimes food section.)

I put the berries, jalapeno, lemon juice, and pectin in a pot. I used my own pickled jalapenos for this and it took most of a 500ml jar to get the 1 cup minced just fyi. I brought it to a boil over high heat and then added the sugar all at once. It's a good idea to have to sugar pre-measured in a big bowl so you can quickly get it into the pot. Bring back up to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and divide between your canning jars. I got 7.5 - 250 ml jars of this deliciousness. Process for 10 minutes in your water bath and you're good to go.


I ended up making 2 batches of regular old strawberry jam, one batch of strawberry jalapeno and one of strawberry maple cinnamon but I am now wishing I had doubled up on the strawberry jalapeno. Notes for next year, I guess.


I also learned I prefer making jam with powdered pectin versus liquid pectin. The finished product just looks more appealing and the fruit seems to be better distributed. Again, notes for next year.


An afternoon well spent with my little sous chef. Are you canning anything this summer?

Saturday, July 04, 2015

oh Canada

This year we celebrated Canada Day in typical fashion. We are lucky that the little town right next to us puts together an excellent Canada Day program. We hit up the parade in the morning in our we love Canada/red finery.


For a smaller town Lynden puts together one heck of a great parade.




Over the years we've kind of fallen into a nice little Canada Day routine that involves hooking up with some old friends at some point in the day. This year it was for dinner and wine before the fireworks, also in Lynden and it's one heck of a show as well.



It was a great day lots of laughs with the greatest of friends. I can't think of a better way to celebrate this great country. How did you spend your Canada Day?