Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Handmade Halloween

Ariel's food sensitivities mean she can't eat store bought candy.

So what to do when Halloween rolls around? Obviously, there's no point Trick Or Treating. But Halloween is her favourite holiday. She loves the spooky, dress up season even more than (gasp) Christmas. Could I allow her fun to be diminished just because she can't participate in the big candy gobble? 

No way.

Halloween's not about candy anyway. Okay, well, maybe it is mostly about candy. But leave out the bother of tromping around the neighbourhood lugging heavy bags full of belly-ache inducing sweets, and suddenly the whole evening opens up, full of possibilities for Halloween fun we normally don't have time for. 

So instead of Trick Or Treating this year, we're staying home to party. The kids and I are more excited about Halloween than ever before. We won't have to rush through dinner, we won't have to drag Graham's tired little legs through the dark, cold night, and we won't have to miss out on greeting all the kids that come to our door. Instead, we'll crank our spooky tunes, turn on the orange and purple lights, don our costumes, and just enjoy the magic of the night.

Will there be candy? Of course. Thanks mainly to recipes printed in the October/November issue of MaryJanes Farm Magazine, we made candy corns, coconut-almond chocolates, caramel toffee, and black cherry gum drops.

And, of course, pumpkin pie. 

I made everything myself, so I know every ingredient. We'll feast on them all evening knowing that, as candies go, they're not so bad for us. And making them together created lasting memories, too. 

If there's time, I may even make another cake like this seasonal one that I made for my sister's fall birthday:

What about the kids who come to our door? Well, no, they won't get candy. The days of being able to hand out homemade treats disappeared during my childhood. Instead, we've got a big bowl full of handmade hair barrettes, ties, wrist cuffs and brooch pins:

Plus a selection of fun goodies that should appeal to kids of all ages, boys or girls: 

So tell me: 

Who's coming to Trick Or Treat at my house? 

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

The Trip I Missed...

...blogging about. We actually took this trip in mid-August, but things were so busy right after that I didn't blog about this particular trip.

So here are the details!

Where: Gordon's Bay Campground, Cowichan Lake, BC

With: Two very special families. Between us, there were six adults, six kids (a boy and girl per couple), and one pooch (ours).

Special Mention: "Sparky," a brand new electric car driven by our friends Derek and Sarah, who recently launched a new family adventure based on making saving the environment fun! Read Sarah's inspiring blog here:

First, we had to put Bing on the ferry (she attracted lots of admirers!):

Then we had to find our perfect spot in the woods and set up camp. 

Pssst! I see an adorable camper playing hide and seek with the tents!

After that, we headed to the lake for a quick play before dinner.

Time for some chillaxin'!!

The sun came out again on Day Two and gloried up our swimming spot.

Beautiful British Columbia!

What could be a better end to a tri-family camping trip, than lunch at a 1950s diner? At the fabulous J&V's Burgers and Pizza, the milkshakes are as good as they come and the music rocks back to the good 'ole days. The only thing I forgot to pack was my poodle skirt!!

My pals.

Milkshakes taste so much better when shared with my special guy.

Next summer, we'll do it all again. Right gang?

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Just A Quick Jaunt

One of the major advantages of owning a teeny trailer--vintage or new--is that it can tuck into just about any space. We had only one night to camp so we headed to Island View Beach Campground, a mere fifteen minute drive down the seashore from the town of Sidney, where we live. Being the last weekend before school started, the RV site was full, so we tucked Bing into one of the tent sites and had a cozy stay.

Here's the RV site:

And here's our spot in the tent and tent-trailer area. The sky looks a little ominous, no? Fortunately, it was just a passing cloud and we didn't see a drop of rain.

There's not much privacy in a site like this, tucked as it is near the beach in an old farm field. But we had a little apple tree between us and our neighbours, and the tree was full of apricot sized apples ripe with that perfect sweet/tart balance that to me, is one of those flavours that is quintessentially fall.

Ariel quickly set to work making a centrepiece for the picnic table. 

Then she moved on to playing with crickets.

We're very lucky to live where we do, surrounded by scenery like this:

The weather and setting called for some portraiture:

Doug's parents joined us for dinner and a little beach time. 

I love the colour of a late summer evening. The sun is lower at this time of night, yet the air's still warm and the leaves haven't yet turned colour. It makes me feel nostalgic for the bright, endless days of July, yet excited about the cozy season soon to come.

The next morning, we were up bright an early to play on the beach at low tide. Island View Beach is a great place to swim on hot days. The gently sloped sand heats the water a fraction as the tide rises, and keeps the water shallow. Still, it has to be at least 26 degrees Celsius for me to venture in. Our Salish Sea waters are ice cold!

Vintage camper spotting! An Ideal and a Scamper. I longed to peek inside but the owners weren't "home" whenever we were nearby. I didn't want to poke around uninvited.

Unfortunately, the regional parks folks close this campground down after Labour Day, but the park remains open year round for playing. We'll come back again next summer whenever we want a quick getaway!

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Vroom, Vroom Vintage!

Every August, members of the local Torque Masters Car Club roll into our little town, filling the streets with polished chrome and eye candy in every shade, make, model and vintage. While huge speakers blast out old time rock 'n roll, folks crowd in to admire the beautiful automobiles that graced the roads in decades past.

To get right into the spirit of things, I pulled out my poodle skirt (my mom made it for me 20-ish years ago for a high school Halloween costume party) and Doug donned his old leather jacket, rolling up his jeans to get the '50s look. Ariel, of course, jumped at an opportunity to wear her vintage lace gloves.

This is how we roll around here!