Getting our Brew On!

This mid June weather we are having is absolutely AMAZING! I had waited all week for Sunday Funday! I had my heart set on getting some yummy BC spot prawns, as it’s the time of year for them. As well, I know Papa Bird loves his craft beer, so it was a perfect opportunity to go and explore two more craft beer breweries in Vancouver and get my prawns.

Papa Bird has really developed a love for this stuff. Honestly, not being a beer drinker, I am trying really hard to like it. Today, I tried ‘sours’.Well, I must say, the sours I sampled weren’t all that bad. I could drink a glass of it I think! Why hadn’t I tried these last year when we went to Bend, Oregon on the Ale Trail tour. For beer lovers, I highly recommend this. Try to hit all the breweries on the map, get the ‘passport’ stamped, and than turn it in for your commemorative mug.

Today we went to the famous Parallel 49 brewery in Vancouver, as well R&B Brewing. The two of them had completely different feels, but were both awesome. I think it is the combination of the service, the energy, the environment, the swag and the beer. Swag=growlers, t-shirts, hats etc, (I could become addicted to collecting growlers!).

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We arrived early to Parallel 49, and it was wonderful to be the only ones in there, lots of samples, great information and great conversation with staff. The infused beer was different, but I kind of liked it, lime & sage!

Our second brewery stop, we honestly kind of stumbled upon. We parked the car, looked over and there it was! Again, we were the only ones there as it had just opened. Colby greeted us with an introduction and a handshake, he was so lovely, I just wanted to take him home with us! After trying a few samples Papa Bird decided on filling the growler with their Red Devil IPA it was time to hit the road for some Whiskey Hazelnut ice cream at Ernest Ice Cream, another MUST GO  to place!

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Some other breweries we have been to and recommend in the area are Old Abbey Ale, Postmark Brewery, Granville Island, Steel and Toad, Steamworks, Steel and Oak, Old Yale, and 33 Acres. We highly recommend all the listed ones, you will not be disappointed! We can’t pick a favourite as we enjoy all of them!

We had tentative camping plans for next weekend but are already discussing the desire to go back and find more beer!

Where are some of your favourite craft beer places? I would love to hear about it and what you recommend we visit!

Fresh Strawberry Heaven!

This time of year gets me very excited with all the wonderful berries that are coming in to season. I start researching well in advance as to what I can make that’s new with the local berries that are coming out.

Today was the first trip of 2015 to the strawberry patch! Today little bird and baby bird came with me to get some berries. After a recommendation, we decided to try a new berry patch, Krause Farms in Aldergrove. We arrived around 10 am, and the parking lot was nearly full, so of course a little panic set in, are there any berries left!?

Lucky for us there were!  Although it was somewhat picked over, we did manage to pick what we needed. IMG_7848IMG_7857

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Once I got home, it was time to make something yummy for dessert with the strawberries. I am always wanting to try new recipes, and I hit the jackpot on this one. I found this cute little blog that has everything on it that I love! Here is a link to her recipe for the Strawberry Pie. Of course it said you could use a store bought pie shell, but that is kind of against my baking religion! I resort to my old stand by recipe from Butter Baked Goods for a pie shell. Of course I use Rogers flour, I have to support where papa bird works!

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I must say, if you have fresh strawberries handy, try this recipe, it is delicious and simple. Papa bird who doesn’t like pies, really enjoyed it!!!

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If you have a favourite berry recipe, please share!!!

Country Folks go to the City!

I feel so lucky to be living in our little city in the country. We live amidst the mountains, with famous fishing rivers a 5 minute walk from our house, lakes so close and amazing agriculture all around us. Also one of the perks is living a short drive to the BIG city of Vancouver! For some it seems so far to drive and hour and a quarter, but for us, heck we would drive it for a pint of beer! Yes, we like adventures! So as often as possible, we head in to the city, the country folk load up and away we go!

Us girls like the pretty, girly things, the boys, they love craft beer! So we all compromise so we can get a little of both.

On Sunday we were minus one, as she had to work, and the rest of us packed in to Papa’s truck and away we went.

First stop was to take little bird to Butter Baked Goods as she had never been. This was my second time, and oh boy, it just made my heart smile to be there. The smell, the decor, the treats!!!! Even the bathroom was beautiful….I am a huge fan of this bakery nestled away on Nanaimo St in Vancouver. I own the first recipe book of their’s and am instant that everyone I know should own one copy. It was too difficult to order one treat, so I ate one there and purchased another to take home with me. My reasoning was I had to see if these two items were close to what I had made at home from their book. I must say, it did not disappoint!!! If you get the chance, go to this bakery and BUY the book!!! I have already pre-ordered the next one which will be released in October 2015 for me and my girls.

You can order the book here.

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After a stroll on Granville St and a visit to my favourite store, Elm St Market, it was time to head in to Gastown and to find a craft beer brewery. I knew the boys were wanting to try a new one, and we were not disappointed. After parking and an interesting walk thru a neighborhood, we arrived at Postmark Brewing. What I just love about visiting these craft breweries is that they are all so unique and different. From the outside looking in, one does not know what they are about to enter in to. This brewery was gorgeous and BUSY! The boys each ordered a sampler paddle of 4 different beers. The atmosphere was cozy and urbanesque, with quite the buzz inside. Here are a couple of pics, I would love to go back again.

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Once wrapped up at Postmark our tummies were a little hungry and Steamworks was not too far away. Gosh, we all like Steamworks, so lets go! There we had burgers, fish taco’s and drinks, me I had to have the sangria. Next time I go, I definitely need to order the fishbowl, it’s HUGE!

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We all had full tummies, and were starting to feel a little tired from the fresh air. I was determined to get some ice cream, hey, it was ‘treat day’. We had passed Soft Peaks Ice Cream and I needed to check it out. Here me and little bird decided to get dessert!

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That was our Sunday in the city! I am already planning next Saturday’s evenings adventure, back in to the city for Hawkers Market, I cannot wait! It’s being held downtown at Main Street’s train station, there will be good food and drinks along with entertainment! Who’s in!!??

What adventures have you been on lately, I would love to hear about them!

Anniversary Reflection…

This past week we returned from a little one week getaway to Puerto Vallarta. We actually didn’t plan to go away for our anniversary, it just so happened that the vacation coincided with this date!

I sat and thought to myself this past April 27th many thoughts….I reflected on the past 24 years of marriage. Firstly, where has the time gone. Back to that day when our son said he was marrying mommy and daddy, when the Justice of the Peace came to my parents home and we said I Do.

So many years, so much growing, so much I have learned. I have learned about patience, (which I still struggle with!), learned to listen, to love unconditionally, and to forgive. I will never forget the day my father had a talk with me and spoke to me about forgiveness. I have reflected on this topic many times and went back to that conversation, sitting in his car, tears rolling down my face….how that talk has affected important decisions in my life.

As I sat in the sun this past April 27th, I wondered what would have happened if…..on so many topics. I am glad I have chosen the road to get me to where I am now. If my father only knew how he has impacted my life by that conversation we had.

I sat and thought, gosh, I am lucky to be celebrating this many years with the one I love. My best friend, the father of our children, the Papa to the most wonderful grandchild. I am excited to celebrate 24 more anniversaries with this man, who has loved me unconditionally, and is the patient one!!!

xox

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Leaving the Nest

Today was the day….yes today was the day we officially became empty nesters. This is something parents look forward to as their children grow. Naturally, they dream of the day when it’s the 2 of them again, the home to themselves, the quietness, the time to grow together in this new chapter in their lives.

To be honest, I am already missing my lil bird. Our daughter and son in law moved in with us when they returned to Canada. Our son in law is from Mexico, has been a permanent resident for going on 2 1/2 years. When they came ‘home’, they moved in with us so they could get established and save for a down payment on a new place. Shortly after settling, we were told there would be another roomy coming to this world, our sweet grandson.

There have been 4 adults and 1 infant living in this average size home for a while now, as baby is now 14 months old. To be honest, we have been bursting, as we were running out of space. After all, he does need the toys that Gramma brings home, or that mom would find for him!

Like I said, today was the day. They purchased their first home, and we are so proud of them, and happy for them. Moving day came, and I was purely happy. Happy that they were happy, happy that they were getting a great place, happy that they were staying in Canada! Happy that we would get some space back, happy that we won’t be bursting at the seams, happy I get to redecorate!

I can do this, I can get through this day I kept telling myself. I was fine all day long…until….I had to kiss the lil grandson goodbye. It came to me that my lil shadow won’t be at my home anymore, for daily snuggles, to hear his giggles, to visit with him in the mornings when I get ready for work, to eat dinner with….Our daughter is the last to leave the nest. Although it wasn’t as hard on me as when I left my son in Texas for college, it’s still tough. I am still weepy, but I know in my heart it was time, time for all of us.

So my beautiful girly bird and my precious lil bird are just up the road starting their new chapter, as we are here in our nest.

There is always room in our nest for our birds to come home to visit and have sleepovers, which makes my heart smile.

Love all my little birds and are so very proud of you!

xox

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Prepare for Adventure

Two weekends ago, my husband and I went in to the city for a dining experience. For Christmas I had purchased him a dinner for two, of course to include me, at a restaurant in Vancouver. When I first heard of this restaurant, I knew we had to attend. In my world, I see the abilities that people have, and not the label that some people have ,disABILITY.

The restaurant we went to was The Dark Table. For those who are not familiar with this restaurant, I suggest you see if there is one near you, and experience it. I will not give too many details, as it is something one needs to go in to with an open mind. I will tell you though, that the servers are blind or visually impaired. The dining experience is in the dark, yes the pitch black dark.

Driving to the restaurant it occurred to me that I people watch when I am out with my husband. What was I going to do, I was going to have to have a conversation with him throughout the meal! Needless to say, it was fantastic!

By far, this was the best service we have ever received at any restaurant. The food was good, and we could not tell you anything about the decor!

If you would like to learn more about the Dark Table, here is the link.

It was amazing to use our other senses throughout the evening, and makes one appreciate the gifts one has.

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Cleaning the Inside of Me….

Yes, as the title says, I am trying to clean the inside of me. In December a co-worker came to me and asked me if I would like to do the Whole 30 with her. Without even thinking, I immediately said sure!! I had no clue what the Whole 30 was, so when I came home that day and told my husband we are doing the whole 30, I really had no further information. I had till January 5th, to get my head around what I had gotten myself in to. The more I read, I thought, heck I can do this, although I will miss sushi nights.

January 5th came, and it began. I had meal plans made out, shopping lists in hand for groceries, and a shit load of processed crap still in my pantry! The 30 days flew by, and honestly, it was the best thing that could have happened to us. Our eyes were opened as to what just has been going in our bodies. Don’t get me wrong, I love crackers, cheese, wine and chocolate! And I will never give it up entirely, but will eat and drink it in moderation now.

Hubby and I thought that immediately on Day 31, we would be rushing to go for sushi and a glass of wine (craft beer for him). Well guess what, we didn’t. This past weekend was my first glass of wine, his first drink too. Our eyes have been opened to delicious and fresh food. I am in love with making soups, which we take in our lunches to work. I am ever so grateful for Pinterest and Instagram for recipes and inspiration. I thought I would share today’s soup, which is just cooling right now. I am embarrassed to say that this was my first time cooking an acorn squash!

Here is the recipe. I doubled it, added extra sage, along with garlic powder and dill. It’s a great Roasted Acorn Squash Soup recipe!

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I will continue to share my Whole 30 recipes with you! Off to make Spagetti Squash Pad Thai!!