Kauai Day 1 – Exploring our Neighbourhood
March 19, 2016, 2:31 pm
Filed under: family fun, travel | Tags: , , , , ,

So what do you do at 6:30am as the adrenaline rush wears off and you’re jet-lagged with two kids? You go out for a walk, of course. Armed with hoodies against the morning chill and coffee (tea for me), we strolled out of our condo and followed the path toward the ocean.

Along the way, we passed the pool (you need a key to get in, but our climber found a way around that, of course!). We were impressed by the variety of tropical flowers. After following the boardwalk along Shipwreck Beach, we strolled down and put our feet in the sand as the sun came up and peeked out from behind some clouds.

With a taste of the ocean waves, we strolled past the Hyatt’s lovely lagoon and gardens, back to our condo to get our swimmers on and went for a dip in the pool. We had the place to ourselves and enjoyed the cool water, warm sun and some trees to climb (of course!).

The call of the ocean was strong so we wandered back to the beach to jump waves and play in the water. The red flags were flying high at Shipwreck Beach; did you know that red flags “warn swimmers of serious hazards in the water… means that the surf is high or there are dangerous currents, or both”? We stayed safely at the edge in the sandy surf and then explored the Hyatt’s saltwater lagoon before indulging in some afternoon snacks.

Then it was happy hour, so I put the cameras away!

Family Fun in Kauai, Hawaii – Arrival
March 18, 2016, 10:53 pm
Filed under: family fun, kids, life, travel | Tags: , , , , ,

After our successful family trip to Belize last year, my husband went ahead and booked our family for two weeks in Hawaii.  I must admit, two weeks away was a daunting idea … I love to travel and enjoy new adventures, but the thought of being cooped up with the boys in a small condo without any friends to play with (for the kids or us!) was a little less than appealing.  But everyone assured me that we would have a great time and I figured I could squeeze in a little running and swimming, maybe some tennis and hopefully find some time to do some watercolour painting.  Plus, I have only been to Hawaii once so why not?

I packed our bags (too many bags) and we departed for Kauai late Saturday afternoon.  (Thanks Bubby, for giving us a lift).  Our direct flight was on time and, in spite of the airline’s wifi system being out of commission, the boys were entertained with books, a downloaded movie, snacks and a little bit of video game time.

I even managed to read a magazine, but as I pulled out my laptop to sort through my photos, the little guy complained that he felt dizzy.  “No, no, you’re just tired because it’s past bedtime,” I assure him.  He tried to get comfortable and I hoped he would nap, but then he sat up and coughed.  Quickly, I grabbed the little white, waxy bag in the seat back pocket in front of me; desperately hoping he wasn’t going to puke.

And he did.

Three times.

Thank you to my husband for clearing the aisle so we could get to the bathroom for the second round.  And thank you to the mom of two teenage boys in the row ahead of us for passing me another bag for the third round at our seats.  Once the excitement passed, my little guy finally fell asleep with his head in my hand.  Who knew that a 7 yIMG_3447ear old boy’s head could weigh so much?

(Not to be outdone by his brother, my older son got in on the action and complained profusely that his legs hurt and he couldn’t get comfortable.  Thankfully his discomfort was short-lived.)  We finally arrived at our destination in Lihue on the island of Kauai, collected our luggage, shuttled to the rental car, drove to our accommodations and settled down to sleep sometime after midnight.

The real excitement began at 5:30am when my husband woke me up and told me to get the kids dressed because there was a fire outside our condo!   Flames were reaching high enough to see from our second floor bedroom and the toxic stench of burning plastic and metal wafted through our open windows.

All of those school fire drills paid off; the boys were all business.  They got dressed, grabbed their stuffies and calmly walked outside.  We hopped in our rental car and drove a short distance away from the fire that was burning below their bedroom window!  The local fire department showed up and doused the flames of what was once a golf cart.

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You can see from the photos how much damage this small vehicle fire caused; singed foliage, burned and cracked pavement.  We were thankful that it wasn’t our rental car damaged by the fire.  Unfortunately, the rush of adrenaline prevented us from going back to sleep so our first day started off very early!

Stay tuned for photos taken while exploring our neighbourhood…


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.


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 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.”

IMG_1251     IMG_1262     IMG_1252

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.)


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!



* 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?



“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

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.


I found this cookie recipe on Pinterest (of course).  It’s adapted from 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


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.



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!

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