mypostcardsfromhome


Get Outside with Family Geocaching!

As a family, we often get out and explore nature:  family hikes, biking the trails, beach-combing, or, my personal favourite, our vacation pyjama walks.

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Now we can add geocaching to our list of family adventures.

Yesterday, we set off for the first time and found several hidden treasures close to home.  The boys were keen – even in the rain.  Normally if we walk to the park and there aren’t any friends around to play with or it starts to rain, they would complain!  Or if I say, “lets go for a walk” they ask “where?”  But not this time.

What is Geocaching?

According to Geocaching.com “Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.”

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How to get started?

This is the best part.  All you need is your GPS-enabled cell phone* and a free membership plus the free app!  Start with the map, follow the GPS plus any clues and search until you find the hidden item.  We found 4 that were within a 5 block radius of our house!

What will you find?

This is the fun part!  With a little effort, you should find a hidden or camouflaged, waterproof container known as the “cache.”  Inside you will find a “log” or notepad/piece of paper and (hopefully) a pen or pencil to record your name and the date.

Sometimes, you’ll come across little treasures; you can trade these, so be sure to pack a few small items with you that you can leave behind for the next person to discover (good etiquette suggests they be of equal or greater value).  Some great ideas for the kids are mini erasers, small toys, glowsticks, bouncy balls etc.  (Avoid non-perishables that might get slimy or rotten if they get wet.)

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Some tips:

  • wear comfortable shoes
  • bring a pen, just in case
  • pack a snack & water
  • take a camera

If you’re super keen, you could also pack a plastic bag and some tongs to clean up any litter you find en route!

Have a look at the map and see what’s nearby.  My boys and I were thrilled to see lots in our immediate area, but even more excited to see that they are EVERYWHERE!  Any time we go camping, skiing, hiking or even just visiting friends and family, we now have another reason to get out and explore.

We’re hooked!

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* we’ve been warned to be cautious of data-usage on the cell phone as this may incur extra charges depending on the plan


It’s Strawberry Season!

It’s officially strawberry season in BC which means there are fresh, juicy, ripe, local strawberries everywhere!  Road-side stands, farmer’s markets, even the big-chain grocery stores are selling them.

At the same time, our school teachers are on strike which means my boys are missing the last two weeks of school. I’ll admit, it’s a mixed blessing; it’s nice not to be packing lunches and rushing off to school and activities everyday, but it also means the kids are underfoot and full of energy.

What to do?

Pile into the car with some friends and head out to the fields. IMG_1265

We drove out to Emma Lea Farm in scenic Westham Island, Ladner BC.  It was our first time there, but they clearly know what they’re doing.  A playground, tractors to climb on and ice cream for sale and, of course, fresh fruit to be picked and purchased. Once our buckets were weighed we set off to the fields. The boys did a great job of filling their buckets with the odd berry tasted for quality control purposes, of course.

Now that we have all these delicious, juicy, strawberries, it’s time to try out some new recipes such as these moist Strawberry Muffins and these flaky, Strawberry Scones. Both recipes are easy to make with great results.

Do you have a favourite strawberry recipe?

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“Every job is done halfway. Then the other half is done.”

I just came across this post written by a fellow mom, Kathryn Thompson, and am feeling better about my own half-hearted attempts.

Sometimes my intentions just don’t reach fruition.

Some days I manage to cross a few items off of my To Do list; sometimes I’m super productive, but it seems like I don’t have enough hours in the day for my Want To Do list.  So many ideas and projects I’d like to work on, but I’m either out of time or out of energy (or both!!) once the kids are out the door or tucked in for the night.

Half Hearted Attempt

http://www.howdoesshe.com/in-defense-of-half-hearted-attempts/

The author says: “…people talk about doing a job halfway as being a negative thing. What gives? Every job is done halfway. Then the other half is done. And if you stop after the first half, that’s one half more than you would have completed if you’d never tried at all.”

Perhaps I’ll just set my sights on accomplishing half of what I want to do; odds are, once I start, I’ll finish!  Photo books?  Archiving kids’ art? Sewing projects? Train for a triathlon? So many options. . .

But first, I think I’ll go half-heartedly clean the kitchen and taste the blueberry scones I just made with my son.

blueberry scones

PS.  they are delicious!

 



Winter S’mores Cookies: an indoor twist on an outdoor classic.

It’s cold outside.

Not as cold as many other places on the continent, but cold, nonetheless.  We don’t have snow, just rock-hard, frosty ground.  It’s too cold to jump on the trampoline. Too cold to go for a bike ride. Certainly too cold to go camping or hang around a campfire making S’mores.

But it is perfect weather for baking. I thought it would be nice to warm things up a little and was reminiscing about warmer weather, campfires and s’mores. My kids don’t actually like S’mores.  Oh sure, they like the individual ingredients.  Who doesn’t like chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers?  Just not in a melted-together-in-a-sandwich kind of way.  So it’s S’mores Cookies instead.

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I found this cookie recipe on Pinterest (of course).  It’s adapted from KevinandAmanda.com and the cookies are delicious.  Kid and adult approved; they are gooey inside, but keep a nice shape.  Don’t make them too big, you’ll want to come back for more!

S’mores Cookies

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1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cups flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (7 full graham cracker sheets)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup mini-marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla then beat for an additional 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, crush 7 graham cracker sheets into 3/4 cup fine crumbs (I get the kids to help by putting them in a ziploc bag and having them crush them with a rolling pin).  In a separate bowl, whisk together the graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix on low speed until the dough just comes together. Add the chocolate and marshmallows and stir to combine.

Place 1.5 tablespoon sized scoops of dough onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

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Enjoy!



Weekly Photo Challenge: One Shot, Two Ways

While on vacation with my family last weekend, I managed to take another 200+ photos over four days.  Most of them are of my kids & husband, but many are photos of nature, animals, the sky, and other shots that I like to have as reminders of what we saw and did while away at the Ranch.

This weekly challenge was a perfect theme as I was trying to capture the various colors in the stormy skies.

Caught it before the rain began to fall!



No Skirt, No Service
July 26, 2013, 10:12 am
Filed under: family, kids, organized | Tags: , , ,

mypostcardsfromhome:

My great friend had me laughing out loud this morning – enjoy!

Originally posted on Growing Signs:

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I woke up this morning realizing that exactly 10 years ago today, I had taught my first baby sign language class at Cambie Community Centre. My daughter was just a year old and I had been creating a curriculum to teach my own baby sign language classes, which would allow me to make my own schedule instead of returning to my previous full-time job designing & teaching kids’ recreation programs.

You should know that I am one of those people who likes to plan, prepare, and practice when I teach. I have shelves full of binders and folders of my teaching notes. For this new venture I had written up everything I was going to say, every sign I was going to teach, every song I was going to sing during the hour-long class, and even some anecdotes to share. I had 11 pages of notes and 10 flashcards. I…

View original 506 more words



Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh
July 23, 2013, 1:22 pm
Filed under: 365, challenge, food, life, photography | Tags: , , , , ,

I’ve been busy with fun in the sun and missed the recent weekly photo challenges, but this one caught my attention.

So many photo options:  swimming in a lake, a newborn baby, a delicious-looking cocktail, muffins just out of the oven, but I chose these two:

What’s “fresh” in your life?




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