Category: Holidays

Two Weeks on The Beach

12 July, 2011 (09:04) | Holidays, The Beach, Uncategorized, Vacation | By: beachmama

We have only been home for two days but it already feels like The Beach was so far away. We had such a fabulous time, doing so much of nothing but a lot of everything.

Not sure if we will be able to top this years vacation, starting out with U2, sprinkling in some fireworks, and ending with a huge thunderstorm that shook the cottage. Nothing like going out with a bang.

Here is a sprinkling of pics from my iPhone that cover the two weeks on the Beach, we didn’t miss a day this year so that makes 14 days of sun, sand and surf.

Until next time…
The Beach

Koko Chocolates

23 December, 2009 (16:15) | Christmas, Food, Holidays, Kindness | By: beachmama

Last night I received the most delicious treat from a girlfriend of mine for Christmas.  My girlfriend lives in the Cayman Islands right now and I only wish we could make it there for a visit, but for now we share emails and phone calls and we get to visit when she comes home to see her Mom.  And while we are complaining of -20C temperatures, she is feeling the heat, sometimes too much to bear, but I still love her.

Now to tell you of this fabulous treat.   The courier handed me the most  beautiful little box.

And inside this little green box are the most delicious handmade chocolates, I have ever tasted.

A little map of their chocolates.

Now, look at this!

And if you think they look beautiful, just imagine how they melt in your mouth.  It was killing me to take these photos, and not gobble them all down in one shot.  However, they are not gobbling kinds of chocolates, they are cup of tea (or coffee) chocolates, where one is all you need to last you a little while.  They are chocolates to savour and enjoy.  They are Koko Chocolates.  A local (to Ottawa) company.  I loved them so much that I called immediately this morning to see where I could get some for my Mom’s stocking.  Unfortunately she is finished her Christmas chocolate batch, but there is a special little coffee shop that I love that carries little 3 packs, so I will be over there to pick up a couple tonight. Mmmm….

And yes, this truly was a little bite of Heaven.

p.s. I have tasted two more since I photographed these chocolates this morning and am still floating on a cloud.

Indeed, I still Believe.

22 December, 2009 (16:31) | Christmas, Fun Stuff to do with Kids, Holidays, Santa Clause | By: beachmama

In Santa that is.  No, I don’t believe that a man comes through my non-existent chimney and leaves gifts for the children.  But, I do believe in the Spirit of Santa.  To me, Santa goes hand in hand with the true meaning of Christmas.  The reason for the Season.  The Birthday.

Jesus is the reason we are celebrating this holiday and we make sure that the children know this.  But, yes there is another reason for this holiday.  The Spirit of giving.  Saying thank you to others and doing things for others because we can and want to.  I actually wrote about this two years ago, when my nephew was first told that there was no Santa.  It breaks my heart that other children don’t get the chance to believe.  There is something special about not really knowing but knowing.  Even though I grew up knowing there was no Santa, my older Sister and I always thought my parents were wrong and secretly believed. I remember how special that was to us, wondering if Santa was out there on the rooftops making deliveries.

How could you not believe in this guy, look at that smile.  He and J were having a great chat while I was taking some shots.  Apple really wanted nothing to do with it, but J spoke for her.

 This year, for the first time I decided not to buy the shots from the photo lab at the mall, but just bring my own camera.  I have brought it before, but always bought a package anyway.  Well, not this year.  I would have never got these great shots without the few minutes we had by ourselves.

Thank you Santa, you truly are an inspiration.

Decorating a Tree

19 December, 2009 (16:15) | Christmas, Holidays, Pay it Forward | By: beachmama

Not something I talk about here, at all really, but once a week I help out some friends of my Dad’s.  They are a Brother and Sister who are on the elderly side.  I am sure they didn’t plan on spending their latter years hanging out with each other day after day, let alone sharing a house, but such are things that this is the way it worked out for them.  They were both married and have lost their spouses.  The Sister had two sons and lost them as well. So now, they have each other.

Once a week I go over and do the general cleaning, pass a vacuum, clean the bathrooms, a little laundry.  My Dad and my Sister also take turns and do what is needed to keep them in their house.  Which is amazing, that they still live in their house.

A few weeks ago we got to talking about Christmas decorations and how there were some in the basement and wouldn’t it be lovely to put up the tree this year.

Last week, I grabbed my littlest helper and headed over to decorate their tree.

I’m not going to say she was the most help, but it was nice to have a little girl running around their house.  She certainly brightened up their day.

In the basement I found boxes and boxes of these totally retro decorations.

I only used about 1/8th of the decorations they had, but it did the trick and a tree was born.

Not bad for a busy Mom, a little girl and some antique decorations.

Day 2 & 3: 25 Days of Christmas

3 December, 2009 (21:06) | Christmas, Holidays, Kids | By: beachmama

For Day two we were supposed to watch Classic movies before bed.  But, since Hubby didn’t get the lights up last weekend, that is what we were doing after dinner and before bed.  I did let them watch a classic before dinner and took photos.  And as we do every year, the kids played hockey in the driveway while Hubby was finishing up.

Today we pushed the classic movie day before bed, which I didn’t take photos of (Parent Teacher interviews and my Mom can’t work the camera).  So I decided to use the photos from yesterday.

It has been fun so far making sure we do a little something from our Calendar.  Since tomorrow is a PD day, we will write Santa’s Letters tomorrow and put them in the mail.

Day 2:



Day 3:


Dear Martha Stewart

2 December, 2009 (21:38) | Holidays, Kids, Misc., Photography | By: beachmama

How I really enjoy you.  I have used many of your ideas and done them up in my own special way.  Your recipes have been made in our house year after year, cookies, rolled turkey with todd, cakes…  I even almost applied for a job in your offices just after my husband and I got married.  I chickened out at the thought of going to New York for the interview.

So today, when you (or one of your assistants) Tweeted that you were taking questions live on the air on Sirius Radio, I figured, why not.  I dialed the number and had the question ready that I have wanted to ask you for several years now.  But, your assistant wasn’t sure you would want to or know the answer so she encouraged me to think of another question. The only thing that came to mind was to ask you how to keep my fresh greenery fresh.

You probably thought, who is this Canadian girl asking me about a fresh tree?  Go artificial already!  You were quite sweet though and gave me a few suggestions including using prelit artificial garland that you are selling through Grandin Road and appropriately had on your show today.

But, just in case you drop by my little site, here is the real question I wanted to ask.  Why do you reuse so many of your photos in your magazine?  Sometimes you have a new recipe or at the very least a new spin on an old recipe, but instead of using a new photo you (and I mean your magazine, not you personally) reuse the same photo year after year.  Since I am a photographer it really plays on my heartstrings that a new photo can’t be taken to freshen things up.  That was my real question.  Bear in mind that I have many years worth of Martha Stewart Living gracing my bookshelves that I reference often and I still get inspired by your magazines.

Thank you for the opportunity to call in today, I never thought in a million years that I would get the chance to ever talk to you and certainly it wouldn’t have been about my Christmas tree and garland.  It was fun and truly made my day.

And most of all, I was so happy that these guys didn’t start fighting or screaming while I was talking to you.

Thank you,

BeachMama  from Ottawa, Canada

Day 1: 25 Days of Christmas

1 December, 2009 (21:46) | Christmas, Holidays, Kids, Winter | By: beachmama

And the first snow fall.

We made it until November 30th for the real first snowfall and accumulation of the year. But, true to form J was raring to go. Apple doesn’t really appreciate snow yet, but after her ride around the backyard after school yesterday she may be a little more excited when we get another drop.

I was able to sneak a few photos through the window as J pulled Apple back and forth across the lawn.

That was one of those rare Brother/Sister moments that I was so happy to catch. I just feel badly that Apple won’t be able to return the favour for a few years as he is just that much bigger than she is.

Today was Day 1 of the 25 Days of Christmas that Andrea started up. We prepared a little something for the kids that was supposed to be all in one box, but after I spent an hour setting up the Playmobil Advent Calendar for Apple, I was in no mood to stuff it in a box. So we set up the Advent’s on the table with some Old Fashioned (Frosty, Rudolf..) movies wrapped up, Home Alone 2, and some Christmas Music. We were going to throw in pj’s but I was having trouble finding what I wanted so will add those in this week sometime.

Both kids were on fire when they woke up this morning, jumping all over me in bed while Hubby did his shower thing. Finally, we were able to come down to the kitchen and they went straight for the table and started opening up the stuff. It was quite exciting. J was even explaining to Apple how she could only open one door each day to find a surprise inside.

And then, I was off for my shower and true start to the day. 6am is early.

Happy Easter!

12 April, 2009 (19:19) | Family, Fun Stuff to do with Kids, Holidays | By: beachmama

We dyed eggs that have been waiting for a while to be dyed.  We hunted for eggs and ate too much chocolate.  We discussed the reason we actually celebrate Easter. And we visited some family.  All in all not a bad Easter.  Now if only I can throw away all the chocolate.  Before I eat it all.

Let the Baking Begin.

9 December, 2008 (21:32) | Christmas, Holidays, Recipes | By: beachmama

As I have done for the last two years, I am going to bake again for Hubby’s staff.  I even searched for last years post, but I just can’t find it. I know I wrote one because I remember some of the comments.  Alas, if I keep searching I won’t get this one written either.

For the last two years I filled boxes full of cookies, and when I mean full, I mean full.  I bought 4x4x4 (inches) boxes the first Christmas and thought 400 cookies would be plenty to fill them.  Ten a piece for the staff, no problem.  Then the night came to fill the boxes.  Well, ten cookies looked like ten crumbs the boxes were so big.  So while I started baking another 400 cookies, Hubby went to the bulk store and picked up chocolate balls and sesame snaps to help fill the boxes.  Thankfully we started early and got them finished in time.  And the staff loved them, which I truthfully would never know the difference, but I do know that they were so surprised that Hubby even thought of his staff.  (It was his first year there and in the past we would buy a box of Chocolates for each of his staff, but back then he only had eleven staff members, not 44.)


 Last year, I was prepared.  I made a thousand cookies, bought sesame snaps and an ornament for each box.  Some of the staff called to Thank me, I was touched.


This year, I have started baking, in between other stuff and have about 300 cookies on hand in the freezer, ready for baking.  I also had to purchase more boxes this year, so I opted for the 3x3x3 (inches) size box which is considerably smaller, but I will be able to get away with ten cookies each and some sesame snaps.  I hope to tie them with some twine and an ornament again (we bought a big box of ornaments for very little money and so it was festive to put them in the boxes). And hopefully this will be the start of less cookies is more.

My waistline is almost (and I mean I am on my last 5lbs) as small as it was when I first got pregnant with J, so I don’t want to ruin it all by baking as much as I did last year.  Because when baking for others one must always sample the wares, just in case.  Actual cookie photos to come when baked, promise.

Ten of my Faves

27 November, 2008 (16:30) | Christmas, Holidays, Lists, Santa Clause, Wish List | By: beachmama

That make great stocking stuffers.

Odd that I would have favorites out there, considering that I am doing the whole handmade Christmas thing. The truth is though, that the handmade part is the part with all my family, which totals fourteen before adding Myself, Hubby and the kids.   For our home Christmas we are buying a few little things for each other.  Just a little something that we wouldn’t normally buy for ourselves.  So here are my ten favorites, hopefully you may be inspired for that person you were stuck buying for.

1. Cake Beauty   specifically the “You Deserve This” pack.  A wonderful hand cream that smells like dessert and leaves your hands feeling soft and their triplemint foot creme that keeps your feet beach fresh all year round.  Cake beauty is a Canadian company and their products are available online as well as in stores (such as Chapters and Bed Bath and Beyond) in both Canada and the US.

2. Journals.  I can never have enough journals.  Funny though I don’t actually Journal anymore, but I use them for notes.  I have one for knitting, one for all the library books I get, one for working out, one for food and my list could go on and one.  I have never met a Journal I didn’t use.  I really love these ones by Ecojot.  The covers are fabulous and I love the big spirals to flip over the pages.

3. Starbucks Cards or a Reload.  I know I should be keeping with Canadian, even for my treats, but truth be told, when I do go for a treat, I go to Starbucks.  I want the whole experience.  I want the multiple selections, I want my hair to smell like coffee, I want the jazz music in the background, I just want to go to Starbucks.  I love receiving a Card in my stocking, it makes treats after Christmas easier. I do enjoy a reload of my card too, my Sister and I do this for each other every now and then.  Even J asked for a Starbucks card in his stocking this year! (train them young I say)

4. OPI Nail Polish.  A girl can never have too much nail polish.  I think I have received one in my stocking for several years now, I love them all.  Now, if only I can find the time to polish my toes every now and then.  My favorite colour is Bubble Bath, but I also enjoy Back to the Beach Peach, among others.

5.  Laura Secord Chocolate Covered Marachino Cherries.  Truthfully, any good chocolate will do, but I mean good chocolate.  Not the boxes you buy at the grocery store, but the ones you have to go to the Chocolate Shop for.  I love Laura Secord and only get it once or twice a year these days, but I wouldn’t say no to some nice truffles from any other Chocolatiere that was would there.

6. Scarves.  And here, I don’t even think I have a website to offer, but I love getting scarves.  This comes from living in Canada with Fall and Winter that seem to last forever.  If you can change it up with a different scarf every day, it makes Winter a little more interesting.  I have funky ones, chunky ones, handmade ones, pashmina type ones.  A scarf a day keeps the winter blues away. {American Apparel has a good list right here}

7.  Chick Flicks.  Every year I give Hubby a list of Chick Flicks that I love and as the year goes on, I receive them when he sees them on sale somewhere.  I love getting a few good Chick Flicks in my Stocking, gives you something to laugh, relax and enjoy a cozy Winter evening.  Some of my Faves are: Sweet Home Alabama, 27 Dresses, How to Lose a Guy in 10 days, Pride and Prejudice… just to name a few.

8. Dessert.  My Sister Received this as a gift one year, and I have always wished to receive the same thing.  She received all the toppings you would need to make sundaes.  All you had to do was buy the ice cream.  In the basket was a jar of chocolate sauce, a jar of caramel sauce, coloured sprinkles, M&M’s, marshmallows, and waffle cones.  You could make this a big basket or a little basket, either way it is just so yummy to recieve.  It is one of my favorites though because I got to share in hers :) .
9. Magazines.  I don’t buy as many magazines as I used to, so I always love to receive a good magazine or two in my Stocking. In fact for my Birthday, Hubby picked up three of my favorites for me (Real Simple, Canadian Living, Photo Life) and I enjoyed them so much, just because they were a treat for me.

10. Photos in a frame.  Nothing is more thoughtful than receiving a photo already in a frame of my neices and nephews.  After a while you may not need frames anymore, but when the though is there and the photos arrive all ready to go, I just love it.  You can tailor the photos depending on the receiver.

And there is ten of my Favorite things to receive for Christmas.  I mean, I could add that I would love to receive a 1 million dollar cheque, but I am being realistic here. I was also trying to keep this to stocking stuffer type things.  If I were to have an unlimited budget there would definitely be some fancy camera equipment and software on this list. For now, I keep track of those on my Amazon wish list, just in case Santa asks.