Refreshing Summertime Beverage

It’s one of those hot summer days and my to-go drink is always a cold refreshing glass of Sekanjabin drink. Which is basically a mind n vinegar syrup drink.

This is a traditional Persian drink one of the oldest recipes that were passed on generation after generation. We don’t know exactly how old the recipe is but it was originally made with wild honey and not sugar so I imagine it dates before the invention of sugar.

The beauty of this drink is that it’s so easy to make. You can keep it for years in your pantry. And it’s so versatile. You can use it as a sweetener for lemonade or any smoothie, have it as a dip with fruits and vegetables or in alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks. Because it’s ingredients apple cider vinegar and mint it is also good for digestive health.

My absolute favourite is as a dip with roman lettuce. On hot summer days, nothing beats a healthy snack of roman lettuce dipped in Sekanjabin and ice.

Mint n Vinegar Syrup Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 Cups sugar – can be replaced by the equivalent of honey
  • 2 Cups water
  • 1/2 a Cup Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Bunch of Mint

Direction

In a large saucepan bring water and sugar into a boil. Tie the bunch of mints and let it boil with the water. ( in a lot of recipes they add the mint at the end when the heat is turned off, I like the taste and flavour of mint so I normally let the mint to boil in the syrup to the end)

When the syrup is starting to thicken add the vinegar, make sure you have a window open or the hood on as the smell of vinegar will be strong when added to the syrup. Let the mixture boil for another 10 – 15 minutes. Remove the source pan from the stove, and remove the mint. Let the syrup to cool off and then strain it through a cheesecloth into a wide mouth mason jar.

This is will be more of a concentrated and thick syrup, you can keep the syrup in your pantry for years. However, if you didn’t boil the syrup enough you may find film of molds forming on top, which in that case you can remove the moldy section and boil the syrup to get thicker. The beauty of having a thick syrup as the base of any drink is that you can make it to taste of each person you are serving the drink too.

 

To hot summer days enjoying this versatile drink with your family.

 

Cheers!

 

 

My Secret To Easy Waste Free Picnics

waste free picnic

Maybe not this year, COVID kind of threw us off our routine and plans for this summer. But we are a road trip kind of family. Every summer we go camping at least twice or three times which includes a short road trip going and coming back plus a road trip to Okanagan. We have a system that works for us, even the kids, well more teens’ bickering is accepted and very well tolerated by all in our road trips.

This year however we are going on more picnics than road trips. More because it’s safer and we get to go home at the end of the day.

There a few things I do and have around to minimized our waste as much as possible. Although I have an eco-friendly and waste free related business and mindset my whole family don’t share all those values. I know they are aware of it and better than many but in general if it’s not easy it can be avoided. In general my success in waste free living is my preparedness.

My trick to have a waste free picnics and road trips is to go prepared and make it as easy as A B C for all the people involved to follow through and be waste free as best as they can. And I have to emphasize the “as best as we can” I never aim for perfection just our best effort towards a waste free road trop or picnic.

As much I like to be organized and know about our plans well in advance, picnics are one of those things that happens spontaneously in this house. Well, living in Vancouver you need to take advantage of a surprise sunny day and if a friend is going on a picnic you want to tag along too.

To be able to go on a picnic anytime and be waste free I have a few things prepared in advance, ready to go on a short notice.

Here is the list of things for waste free picnics

  1. Old mugs
  2. Old reusable water bottle and to-go mugs
  3. Old reusable utensils
  4. Reusable plates, I’m using the set we had when the kids were young (Not plastic but unbreakable)
  5. Set of wash towels
  6. Loose leave tea, instant coffee, hot chocolate powder in separate reusable containers
  7. A set of reusable tea bags
  8. A few reusable snack and sandwich bags
  9. A set of old salt and pepper shakers
  10. Old tea towels
  11. Brown paper bag (to store food waste to compost either at the site or bring home)

Using my kids’ old lunch bags I have stored the above list in collections.

Mugs, plates, towels, and utensils in one bag. All edible items plus the tea towel, tea bags and the brown paper bags goes in another lunch bags. I always have snack and sandwich bags handy, I will add those to one of the bags as we heading out.

When you have these items ready to go, you won’t scramble around and end up buying disposable plates and cups. This means that beforehand we made a conscious choice to reuse some of our old kitchen wears that we needed to replace. That includes different sizes of plates and bowls, cups and mugs, utensils, tea towels and wash towels. When it was time to replace any of those items I simply stored them in the old lunch bags that I needed to replace and started using those on our camping, and road trips and now on our picnics.

When I have taken care of the things that can easily be replaced by disposable kind, having a waste free picnic will be way easier. I just make sure I have a thermos of hot and cold water with me, that will help us avoid water bottles and to-go drinks.

Of course, we take homemade sandwiches in gogoBags sandwich bags and fruits and salads in reusable containers. For more waste free ideas check out Plasticfreejuly they have a ton of waste free tips.

 

 

5 Simple Ways To Preserve Summer Fruits From Going To Waste

We are one week into summer and it’s getting exciting. I love all seasons, I love walking in rain and snow in fall and winter and love the rebirth of nature in spring but summer is something else. It stands out for me, gives me more energy than any other season. Maybe it relates to my favourite childhood memory.

I remember picking fruits in my grandfather’s orchard in summers. It was exciting to go there play in the dirt, climb a fruit tree, sit up there and eat fruits right from the branch. I was free labour but I didn’t mind it I would pay myself with fresh pick fruit. I think I ate more than I put in my pail, but nobody cared.

It was fun to see all those fruits to be picked and boxed to send away. I was too young to know if my grandfather actually sold those fruits to stores or not. I do remember that sometimes there was just too much fruit so my mom would turn my grandparents garage into a market.  She would sell these luscious fresh fruits to the neighbours. It was fun to run around the neighbourhood nock the doors and inform the neighbours of the fruit sale.

Now we know where do I get my entrepreneurship gene 😉

Then it would come days of turning those fruits to something that we could use for the rest of the year. Nothing would go to waste, that’s the beauty of it. The fruits that were ripe and looking good would go to neighbours. The ones with a few dots or something would be turned into jams or canned. And those that were just too ripe or mushed would be turned into sauces or fruit leathers.

Now you can imagine how I look at fruits and vegetables in my household. Exactly like in my memory, nothing goes to waste.

Here are a few tips and ideas on what to do with different fruits when you have too many of them or they are going to go bad.

Fruit leathers

This is the perfect way of preserving fruits that carry a lot of water. Plum fruit leathers are my favourite, and something we made a lot when I was a kid. You can turn any kind of berries or fruits into fruit leather. They are a perfect healthy snack especially if you don’t add sugar to your puree.

 

Sauces

Making sauces is perfect for the end of summer extra tomatoes you pick from your garden. Or if you just have some tomatoes that are just too soft to add to any dish. I make small batches just to avoid the fruit to go bad and keep in jar in the fridge. When I have more sauce I add that to the jar too.  To make this last longer in the fridge I add a little bit more salt into my sauce. If I have too many small batches of sauce added in one jar, I cook the content of the jar once more so that all different batches cook together.

Canning or pickling

This goes for a lot of fruits and vegetables. Green peas, peaches, apples, cherry tomatoes. I do love canned cherry tomatoes, not sure if I’m doing it right or not but it works for me. Whatever leftover I have of cherry tomato that are going soft of me. I broil and then transfer them into a jar then I add salt garlic and olive oil. It’s a nice garnish to any pasta sauce.

Same with cucumbers I have a jar of saltwater and garlic and every time I have extra cucumber it goes in there.  Not gonna lie, I don’t even make the saltwater, I just keep the juice of the store-bought pickles for this purpose.

Jams

That is given, and one of the most used forms of preservation.  Berries, apples, peaches, grapes, even peppers can be turned into healthy homemade jams with little to no sugar added.

Frozen treat

The freezer is my friend in the kitchen. I do freeze everything that I can’t cook to something else or if I don’t have time to do that. Things that come to mind that I freeze are bananas, grapes, berries, peaches, watermelon and melon balls. The best way to freeze these is spread around on a parchment paper on a tray uncovered in the freezer for a few hours and then transfer to a container or a freezer bag. I do use a silicon freezer bag and sometimes Ziploc bag which I wash and reuse many many times.

 

There you have it. These are my ways to keep fruits from going to waste. Share with us your way.

5 Socially Distant Father’s Day Activities

This blog post seems to be the most difficult one I’ve ever written. How do you show appreciation for a lifetime of wisdom and sacrifice? I’ve been struggling with this for a few days now. I know what to do for my husband, but for my dad, that’s something else. I have trouble deciding on this in normal situations, let alone in COVID time.

I know if I would ask him what he wants he would say just come sit with us for coffee or a drink. I do that, but I want to do something larger, something that can say ” hey dad, I see you, I know how much you sacrificed in your life for me to get me to where I am now, and I’m grateful for that.” Is there a gift for that? Didn’t think so.

So what do you do in the time of crisis that we are in right now? Thankfully I can go visit my parents. I can go sit with him have a cup of coffee or a few drinks 😉 but I was thinking of people who could not be with their dads and it breaks my heart. Would a video chat be enough????

Here is a few simple ideas that come to my mind. Before continuing I have to say that none of them are ideal, nothing beats the good old hug, but hear it goes. Oh and these ideas are for the elderly dad in your life with grandkids, some could work for younger dads too though.

1) Have An Online Feast

It takes a little bit of planning. Order a delivery of their favourite food to their house and yours at a certain time and eat together via zoom or one the apps that’s lets you see the other person. Share memories and enjoy his favourite food together through the power of interweb.

2) Go For A Nature Walk

In some areas, you can meet your family in an outdoor setting. If possible you can arrange a nature walk and a nice picnic after. This will give you the quality time you need with dad while social distancing.

3) Take Him To Memory Land

You’ve got the time. Print some of the old and newer photos and create a scrapbook with fun notes and memory jots. I love scrapbooks especially when you add your personal and fun memories to it. It can fill up dad’s time with good memories. You can even send it ahead of time to him and ask him to open it with you online. So you can go through the book and laugh and have fun together. Memory lands are always fun

4) Create A Family Celebratory Video

Create a video for him with every member of your family and your sibling’s family if you have some. Everyone participating in their own way with funny memories and comments. Grandkids are the joy of life and I’m sure grandpa, your dad will appreciate seeing their faces and funny comments. Most times each grandkid has a special bond over something with grandpa, imagine gathering them all in one place for him to enjoy for days to come.

5) Start Your Own Book Club With Him

It’s so amazing to sew how much wisdom our dad can still give us, even when we are parents ourselves. I’ve created a joint audible account for my dad and I. We listen to the same book and discuss that whenever we can. It’s the best thing ever, so amazing to see how different or similar we think of one subject. It also gives us something more to talk about. I generally don’t like to talk about politics or news and how much can you talk about grandkids. Having something different and common to talk about gives us the quality time we need.

 

There you have it, a few socially distant activities for this year’s father’s day, until next year that hopefully we go and hug him so dearly.

Oh and if you decide to get him a practical gift, check out our shop. Our kitchen products are perfect for elderly parents to preserve their vegetables for longer especially when they don’t get to use a whole lot of lettuce all at once.

 

Dessert Ideas Fit For The Holidays

 

December is a month that is often filled breakfast, brunch and dinner parties. Most of the time these gatherings happen a pre-booked locations where the guests just need to show up. However, sometimes the guests are invited to the host’s home. It may or may not be a potluck, so the guest may be expected to bring a dish or dessert.

Dessert Idea Number One: Is This the Best Vegan Apple Crisp Recipe Ever

Dessert
Photo Courtesy of Westpoint Naturals

 

This apple crisp recipe appears on Westpoint Naturals blog. It is a vegan recipe that uses cinnamon, oat flakes, and coconut oil and other healthy ingredients. I notice that there are gluten-free and organic ingredients in the list. The prep time takes 20 minutes and baking takes 60 minutes.

 

Dessert Idea Number Two: White Chocolate Matcha Holiday Rum Truffles

Dessert
Photo Courtesy of Whisk Matcha

 

Do you like matcha? Matcha is a type of antioxidant green tea that contains a high level of L-Theanine. L-Theanine helps with mental focus, which is a great asset during the busy holiday season. This truffle recipe from the blog post of Whisk Matcha does not require any baking at all. But, it does require some melting and combining of the ingredients in the microwave or double broiler.

 

Dessert Idea Number Three: Christmas Cookies

Dessert
Photo Courtesy of British Columbia Mom

 

There are fifteen different easy Christmas cookie recipes that one can make to bring to parties or even give away as homemade gifts! A local mommy blogger, British Columbia Mom’s blog compiles an extensive list of cookies from different bloggers to make it easier for busy people to choose. She collects both baking and non-baking recipes.

Have you seen anything that interests you? There are so many delicious sweets to choose from!! Which sweet recipe is the one that you like the best? Please share with us if you decide to make any one of these!

Five Fabulous Christmas Activities Happening In Our Neighbourhood

December is here! The Christmas holiday spirit is very apparent throughout our city. However, I am sure that there are a lot of different fun activities that are happening in your city too. As a parent, December can be a very expensive and stressful time.

First of all, many parents are doing a lot shopping for presents. Then, they are getting really tense about preparing for all the different parties and gift exchanges. Now, let us take a step back. We need to pause to discover five fun and almost free Christmas activities in our city instead!

Five Fabulous Christmas Family-Friendly Activities

1) Bright Nights At Stanley Park: Of the five activities, this popular event happens inside Stanley Park, which is a very large garden right near our downtown core. Initially, families can enter the park by donation. Afterwards, visitors can purchase train tickets to ride on the Christmas miniature train.
(This event starts from November 28 to January 1, except on December 25, Christmas Day.)
One of the five activities
Photo courtesy of https://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/bright-nights-train.aspx

 

2) Gingerbread House Lane at the Hyatt: Many of our local talents from different bakeries, and cooking schools build wonderful gingerbread houses. Even students from local schools participate in this gingerbread house baking competition. Then, visitors are welcome to vote for their favourite creations. Hence, from November 30 to December 31, 2019, you can go and admire their creative baking creations.
One of the five
Photo Courtesy of Vancouver’s Best Places https://vancouversbestplaces.com/events-calendar/december/top-things-to-do-at-christmas/gingerbread-lane/
3) Christmas at Canada Place: The Canada Place is where you can bring the little ones to view the beautiful and bright displays. So, as a family, you can participate in an assortment of fun and free art activities. Canada Place is open for visitors from December 6 to January 1, 2019.
One of the five activities
Photo Courtesy of Canada Place (https://www.canadaplace.ca/events/christmas/)
4) Ice Skating at Robson Square: So, if you own a pair of skates, you can skate for free at Robson Square’s outdoor rink! Therefore, you can skate to your heart’s content from 9am to 9pm. All this occurs till the end of February. If you do not own a pair of skate, you can rent a pair for just $4!
5) Holiday Hi-Light Festival at Park & Tilford: This shopping centre has its own garden.  Therefore, they decorate it with an abundance of Christmas lights and decorations. It isn’t as epic as the ones that I have mentioned. However, it still has live entertainments, and a visiting Santa!! Proceeds go to the City and District of North Vancouver Fire Fighters Societies.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are quite a lot of activities that the families in our neighbourhood! Which one would you love to visit?

Make A Gift Day: Time To Make One Today

Make a gift

 

Did you know that each December 3 is Make A Gift Day?

This unofficial fun holiday reminds us that handmade presents are excellent ways to add some personal touches and save some money too! As I mentioned before, I made most of my presents by hand. As an adult, I would shop for great deals on items that my family and friends needed, but, I would still make some of the gifts as I had always been quite crafty. Time was passing, I watched my children began to get older, they were also starting to make their own gifts for the family too.

Make A Gift

Make A Gift Ideas

Today is a perfect day to start brainstorming for ideas and inspirations to add some handmade gifts to add to your gifts. Here are some gifts that can be adapted to different skill levels

1. Beginners: ​

– Make a collage of past photos that you can download or cut out from photocopies. Then put it behind a frame.

-Using the same collage idea to make Christmas ornaments. Looks for those small photo frames that you can tie a ribbon to that they can hang it on their Christmas tree.

-Buy one of the Christmas cookie doughs that only require to cut and bake on a cookie sheet. Fill up some cookie tins and give them away!

2. The Next Level:

-Make a sketch, a drawing or paint something that the recipient loves. For example, you might even use some fancy calligraphy to write out a motivation quote and put that into a frame.

Make a gift

-Go to a craft store and buy some quick dry clay. Roll it out and use a Christmas theme cookie cutter to cut out some shapes. Remember to make little hole at the top of a piece of ribbon. Wait for them to dry and then paint  away! You can write the name of the recipient and the current year on the ornament.

-Search out for a nice and fancy cookie recipe and bake them from scratch…Yum!

Make a gift

Remember, the holiday season is about giving and sharing your love of others. We all need to step back and rethink about what kinds of messages are we trying to convey to our loved ones.

Holiday Party Zero Waste Inspirations

Christmas cookies

 

December is just coming around corner. Are you pondering what to do this holiday season? Are planning to host a holiday party yourself or visiting a friend’s home as a guest? There are many things to think about… As with any gathering, holiday parties are notorious for producing a large amount of plastic waste. Let us begin to think about how we can reduce this amount of waste as much as possible.

Holiday Party Hosting

Cup and plates

As soon as the host decides to invite guests over for a party, most tend to think about what to serve as food and drinks. Then, the shopping list begins to grow.

1. Serving utensils: Instead of running to the dollar shop to pick up those disposable plastic forks, and knifes, bring out your own washable utensils. If you do not own enough glass or stainless plates yourself, you can consider asking your guests to bring their own plate to use. Depending on the event, only purchase compostable paper plates if you really need to pick some disposable ones. Leftovers are common after a party, so have some reusable containers on hand for guests to pack and take home.
2. Decorations Around the House: Looks for décor lights that are rechargeable instead of ones that use batteries or remember to use rechargeable batteries if you must. Also, avoid using the plastic glitter, as you can make your own with a hole puncher on scrap paper wrappings and holiday catalogues. Try to reuse the decorations each year instead putting up disposable ones.

As A Guest

Christmas cookies

Here you are reading about the details in your invite, time to think about some concerns.

1. What: Is there a gift exchange? Look for presents that can be reused often. Furthermore, when you look wrapping the present, look for creative ways to wrap it like using a reusable cotton bag instead of plastic cellophane for baskets.
2. When: December tends to be quite busy on the road. Plan ahead to avoid traffic jams, where cars tend to spew out more exhaust when they are stuck in a jam.
3. Where: Look at the address of the holiday party…. Do you know if anyone of your family or friends that live near you are also invited to the party? Perhaps you can suggest to carpool with them so the guests will have less cars on the road that day.
4. How: As with many dinner parties, leftovers are the norm.You can bring your stainless steel or glass containers like Mason jars for soups.
HOliday party

 

It is important to remember that every little action helps. Remember that we need to be kind and respectful of others and not shame anyone into being zero waste. Instead, you need to use love and kindness to move the world.

Do It Yourself Christmas Decor

Since I was a little girl, I enjoyed making my own Christmas gifts and decorations. At school, the students would be asked to make our own Christmas crafts. Do It Yourself Christmas projects were everywhere.

Do it yourself

One of my most memorable Do It Yourself Christmas décor projects was the year that our family had to move into a small basement, while awaiting to move into our new home. My mother said that we could not put up our huge Christmas tree as there was not enough space. The ceiling of the basement was just not tall enough. I was so disappointed. My mother was a very creative person. She quickly looked around for some green construction paper. Folding and cutting, she made a paper Christmas tree and stuck it to a wall in the living room. Then, I remembered I was cutting up small circles to be the ornaments on our Do It Yourself Christmas Tree. We also cut up a lot of paper snowflakes to decorate the place.

Even as an adult, I enjoyed making my own Christmas decorations. The best part of making these decorations was spending some quality time with the children.

Do It Yourself Christmas Decor Ideas

Here are some ideas to spark your imagination:

1. Toilet Paper Roll Snowmen: You can collect those empty toilet paper rolls and glue cotton balls to cover them up like snow. Then, make some eyes and arms by using old magazines. You can cut out images of hats too!
2. Christmas Card Décor: Start keeping those old Christmas cards from previous years. I especially love the ones with family photos printed on it. You can hang them on your tree as ornaments.
Do it yourself
Can you make out those finger shapes?
3. Waving Hands Christmas Wreaths: Trace the hands of your family members and attach them in a circle, starting from the outer circle and working your way inwards. Then, add some sparkly stickers or cut out some Christmas –themed images to your wreath. You can then reuse a ribbon from a previous gift to end the final touch.
Do IT Yourself
I kept this piece of ribbon to reuse.

Have you made any Christmas décor by hand?

Jack o’ lantern Carving : How to Use the Pumpkin Seeds

As I was picking up the children from school, I noticed that some of the younger ones were carrying around different sizes of pumpkins. The students told me that they had just visited the pumpkin patch that day. What fun!! Did you visit your nearby pumpkin patch yet? For the past few years, my children got to pick out their pumpkins at a local community gathering. The coordinators would decorate the whole paring lot and community garden like a pumpkin patch. Then the children got to choose their pumpkins for their jack o’ lantern designs.

Initially, the children tended to search for the largest or the smallest ones. Then, I would remind them that they might want to think about how they were going to use the pumpkins. If the pumpkin was meant to be just painted on and left intact, then they might want the tiny ones. However, if they wanted to be able to carve a detailed jack o’lantern, then they perhaps needed a much larger one.

The Other Side of Jack o’lantern Carving

Painting a pumpkin with paints would just as fun as carving. However, the children and I enjoyed and looked forward to brainstorming for ideas. Back when they were small, I was the only one doing the carving by myself. The children would try their best to scoop out the strands of slimy pumpkin flesh. Afterwards, they helped me to separate the tiny little seeds into a strainer. It was a great way to practice their fine motor skills there.
Now, what did I do with those pumpkin seeds? I toasted them as a snack!

Here is my recipe:

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

  • Ingredients
    -Pumpkin seeds of one large pumpkin
    -1 or 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (mine was a Jalapeño flavoured)
    -A sprinkle of herb salt (I used Herbamare) or Himalayan pink salt

Directions
1. Rinse and dry the pumpkin seeds. I spread the seeds out on a cooking sheet, lined with parchment paper to dry overnight.
2. The coconut oil that I used was already liquefied, so melt yours before you drizzle onto the seeds.
3. Toss the seeds around on the cookie sheet while sprinkling the seasoning.
4. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F or 150 degrees C.
5. Once oven is ready, place in the middle rack and bake for around 45 minutes or until the pumpkin seeds begin to change colour. Golden brown is what you are looking for.

 

Enjoy those pumpkin ? seeds !!

Leftovers From Thanksgiving: What To Do

Thanksgiving Day was this past Monday for us up in Canada, and many of had a wonderful feast. Each family celebrated this feast in a different way. Traditionally, there would be a turkey with bread stuffing, garlic mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables and tons of gravy. Then, dessert would be pumpkin pie. This day would be one very special day. On this day, most of the family members would gather together. The overabundance of food often happened. This would result in an enormous amount of leftovers mounting up in the refrigerator. These leftovers would turn into a lot of food waste if not eaten. What could be done?

Use The Leftovers

In order to reduce the amount of food waste to left over in the host’s home, here are some ideas that you can think about for your next Thanksgiving!

1. BYOB: As the host, you can mention and remind your guests to bring their own box or reusable containers to bring back whatever leftover that they like to eat the next day. Make sure that you have some containers in your kitchen, just in case a guest forgets or run out of containers. Mason jars are a great idea to have in your kitchen because you can use these to fill up with soup without the worry of spillage.

 

2. Make some sandwiches: For the families that make turkey as their main dish, you can remove the leftover meat and make some delicious sandwiches for lunch the next day.

3. Make some broth: If you have a slow cooker at home, you can toss the bones in and add some water and root veggies to make a soup. In our family, we add a cup of rice to make congee (Chinese rice porridge). You can use this broth to make some delicious oatmeal too!

Do you tend to have leftovers at your Thanksgiving dinners also? What do you usually do with these leftovers?

Autumn Activities For The Families of All Ages

Autumn activities

The autumn season is beautiful time for us in the Northern Hemisphere. Bright shades of red, orange, and yellow fill the autumn sky and on the ground around us. The temperature is beginning to drop, but sometimes the sun is still continuing to come out the play. There is so much to do to celebrate this change of seasons, both inside the home and outside the home.

Autumn Activities

Here are two activities that you can do with the little ones:

Autumn Leaf Hand Print: Pour out platters of red, orange and yellow non-toxic finger paints and have the children and yourself, stamp an open hand print onto some scrap paper. Then, you can wait for them to dry. After the hand prints are dried, you can cut out the “leaves” with the children and begin to decorate the house! For example, you stick the leaves onto the windows for the falling leaves effect. For the more advanced little ones, you can make a wreath out of the “leaves”. Just cut out a circle from stiff cardboard and glue the “leaves” with the fingers facing outwards… The more layers you have, the fuller the wreath is going to be! You can even glue some acorns that you may have found outside as decorations too!
Pumpkin Patches: For a great outdoor activity for both the young and young at heart, you can visit a pumpkin patch. Depending on your family, you can choose a local one that is close to your neighbourhood or do some research for a farm that is out-of-town. Families with younger children may prefer the shorter car rides to and from the pumpkin patch. For the older children, going out further to visit a farm in the country is a learning experience all on its own! They are able to stay awake longer (no need for naps) and can actually have more hands-on activities. Some of these pumpkin patches even have their own corn mazes!

 

The autumn season is not only for the students going back to school, but it is also wonderful time to remember the farms and their dedication to the harvest of fruits and vegetables. What are you planning to do to celebrate this autumn season?

Ten Must-Do Outdoor Activities Before School Starts

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It’s the middle of August already! What happened? Where did the time go? Did you get to do everything you wanted to do with the children? Many young ones were busy with summer school or camps. Therefore, they spent a lot of time huddled indoors working on their indoor activities. Since the weather is still sunny and very peasant in most places, let us think about what else we can do outdoor! Depending on the age of the children, you may pick and choose which one is more suitable for your family.

Ten Must-Do Outdoor Activities Before School Starts

1) Go on a hike: First of all, do some research before you go to make sure that the demands of the trail matches the endurance level of the children and especially, your own.
2) Shop at your local farmer’s market: It is wonderful for the children to learn where their food and produce comes from by talking with the farmers themselves. Also, vendors showcase their homemade jams and delicious goods too. The children can learn that not all food comes from factories.
3) Take the bike out: Most the time the bicycles at our house is hidden away for most of the year. But, since the sun has been shining, the children try to take them out as much as possible.
4) Visit the local library: When was the last time that you visited the library? For most neighbourhood, there should be a library close to home or even a bike ride away.
5) Have a picnic: You can pack up some sandwiches and some reusable water bottles and head to a lovely lawn outside! It can be at the park or just outside your own lawn too.

6) Berry picking: There are many blackberry bushes around the city, so we usually can visit our friends and families and pick some berries anywhere. You can even visit those U-Pick Berry and Cherry Farms and make that a day trip too.
7) Dine at Dusk: The daylight time is getting shorter, but it is still quite bright at dinner time. Why not have an earlier dinner at the beach and watch the sun go down….?

Feeling Creative?

Murals in our city…

8) Art Installations: Summer time is the best time to slow down and search for the different art works that the city has commissioned to be put up. Walk up close and notice how each piece is put together.
9) Admire the Murals: Our city is very fortunate that there are parts of the city that official murals are decorating the walls of warehouses. They are meant to be walked up to and photographed too!

10) Finally, JUST GO OUTDOOR!:
Even if you only stand outside your front door and take a moment to savour the last couple weeks of the summer sun.

Plastic-Free Month is HERE!

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Plastic-free Month Is HERE

July is Plastic-free Month! It is an honour to be associated to so many wonderful businesses who actually care about our environment. It is such an important goal to be supportive of the small businesses in our neighbourhood. This can help to further enhance the needs of the locals too!

First of all, we, at GogoBags, are so ecstatic to be part of the enthusiastic group of zero waste family. Secondly, we want to highlight a few of our first supporters. These local shops recognizes our zero waste vision and welcomes us into their shops.

Bird on a Wire Creations

So, Bird on a Wire Creations began their business 8 years ago. Amazingly, they, now, carry over 27000 gifts ideas. These one of a kind and handmade items are chosen for their creativity and fun designs. Local artisans and artists can share their ideas and feel respected here.

Port Moody Refillery: Refill those Plastic Containers

This shop is Port Moody’s first refill shop. The owners, Teresa Johansson and Julie Veres, promote the “sustainable lifestyle”. A wonderful refill shop that carries nontoxic products that you can refill with your own containers or purchase the ones there. They sell by the weight and you can save between 10-15% when you refill 1 litre or more. Therefore, you use less plastics and save money too. Another zero waste supporter!

Bluhouse Market & Café

Initially, Jennifer McCarthy, founder of Bluhouse Market & Café, opened her store in 2011 after she visited the Trout Lake Farmer’s Market. Hence, this place is a combination of a Market and a lovely organic café.
The menu serves:
• Crepes
• Smoothies
• Wraps
• Sandwiches
• Soups

Nourish Market Lynn Valley

Nourish Market Lynn Valley is a family-owned Market. Since 2011, owner, Jeff Proseilo, focuses on:
• Vegan
• Keto
• Paleo
• Organic
• Grass fed meat and dairy
• Bodycare

The Soup Dispensary and Kitchen Staples : First to Fight Plastics on Main Street

First of all, The Soap Dispensary is the first refill shop of personal care products since its doors opened in 2011 on Main Street of Vancouver. At the beginning, bringing your own containers to refill a bottle of shampoo seemed like a novelty toy. But, using reusable containers help reduce those plastic containers! Zero waste is the way! Some didn’t think it would catch on. However, here we are in 2019 and this shop is still going strong!

Which one of these stores have you visited so far?