Willows Beach & Estevan Village, Lovely even in the Rain

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Well, if you live in Victoria like me, you will agree that the weather has changed! The rains have started. It has been POURING! And since my poor little blog is in part about fun things to do with your kids in Victoria I have been negligent in posting- because what the heck do you do in the rain?? I suppose this will be the challenge for me over the next few months. My instinct is to curl up with a good book and read all day- but as I have children this is NOT HAPPENING! So stay tuned, I guess, for some creative ways to entertain children in crummy weather.

This past Sunday was no exception. Cabin Fever was setting in hard core, so we decided to suit up and get out. We went over to Willow’s Beach in Oak Bay. It was really only sprinkling so it wasn’t so bad…and once you are out there and engaged it’s easy to ignore the rain. Willows Beach is a pretty great all season beach. There is a play ground there, with a big and little kid area. There are swings for both age groups. There is a giant field to run around in. There is a little tea room- where you can warm up on brisk day. And of course there is that beautiful long sandy beach to roam around on.

On this day we found a stream that must have been an exit point for all the rain that the city received. It cut a thick path through the sand and into the ocean. Hudson had a ball mucking around in it, making giant sand avalanches drop into the stream by stomping sand down the small embankment, and by sending little bark pieces down in the rushing water to float out to sea. We helped some other kids gather sticks and small logs and try to build a damn. Baby Hank was even entertained by putting small stones on a log and crawling hell-pell towards the ocean.

After Willows Beach you can (and we did) walk up to Estevan Village. Here there are places to Eat and to Shop!

We went for a Hot Chocolate and Mini Cupcake at Crumsby’s Cupcake Cafe. This is a great great place to go with kids. It is Victoria’s only cafe with a good sized dedicated play area. There are ton’s of cars and trucks, a little kitchen area, a train table, books and more. The food is really good and fresh. The room is charming as charming can be. However, don’t be fools like us and go on a rainy Sunday…it was MENTAL in there!

Also in Estevan Village is Bungalow Gifts- which is for the mama’s. They have kitchen stuff, gift stuff, greeting cards, paper, and all sorts of home stuff that is fun to look at (and buy). Next door to that is Buddies Toys, which is one fab toy store. One of those stores where their merchandise is well curated. You won’t find a bunch of crap here! There are a few other shops and restaurants here as well…so it is a fun block to poke around!

Here is a map of the area and some pictures of our Lovely Day!

Mini Cheese Scones made with love by a Strangely Competitive Mama Bear

Mini Cheese Scones

Hudson’s Kindergarten had a ‘coffee’ event for all the parents the other day. It was really cute, the kids sang a couple of songs and we all had treats and coffee for the mama’s and the papa’s. The parents were asked to bring something to share. Of course I wanted to make a good impression and have my treat be the most talked about treat (why am I like this??)?? And of course I left it till the last-minute (or did I just want my goodies to be fresh from the oven?). So after drop off I raced home, put Hank down for an early nap and had around 45 minutes to whip something envy inducing up.

I didn’t want to do cookies, as the party was at 10am and I was showing mercy for Mme Crease…so I came up with mini cheese scones! I put on my Songza (Handclapping & Footstomping Indie Hits) and started to look for a recipes (with the clock ticking down). I suppose because scones originate in the UK- most recipes I found used gram’s instead of cups for measurements. So I was panicking a bit looking at recipe after recipe as my time was dwindling down…and down. Finally I found a recipe that used cups and teaspoons and such. And it happened to be from Chatelaine Magazine.

There was a time not so long ago that I mocked Chatelaine- I mean who reads that drivel? But how times have changed, now it is one of my favorite magazines. House stuff, food stuff, Parenting Stuff, sensible fashions, diy’s-and its Canadian, what else could you want in a magazine?? I like to think the magazine has just gotten a whole lot cooler- but I suspect I have just gotten a whole lot older and fit their demographic perfectly. Any-hoo, Chateliane saved the day, and I whipped up these delicious mini cheese scones.

I wanted to hang a teensy hand-made bunting banner that read:

‘home-made with love

by lhasa

organic mini cheese scones’

…but I didn’t. So no one knew who made the BEST treat there. And when I say best, I mean best other then the all the yummy cookies and the delicious apple pie squares that the other thoughtful parents brought!

Without further ado, here are some pics of said Mini Cheese Scones and the recipe which can also be found here.  I made mine mini and used a small glass to cut them out.  I baked them for 10 minutes.  I also think they would be good with  a sharper cheese mixed in, or say some dill.

 

20130926-165950.jpg

The Quick Judge

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Jeff (my Husband) and I were walking to the store yesterday and we walked by an attractive woman.  Once she was out of ear shot he grumbled to me, Girls don’t even check guys out anymore, they just look at other girls.  True that, right?

Now, the new thing is to not judge.  This is so true for things like Breast Feed/Formula Feed, TV/No TV.  Each to there own, right?  YES…but…in most cases we still micro-judge before we can stop ourselves.  What is she wearing? Is my butt bigger then her’s?  Hey she’s in a full sweat suit- at least I managed leggings and long top?

Mainly it comes from our secret insecure place rather then our bitchy place (except for the skinny blonde with the perfect blowout and the three kids and the nice new range rover- she’s for sure bitchy judging).  It has to be normal to have a quick comparison. Imagine if we didn’t?  What would be going though our brains all day? Nothing? Chirp-chirp.  How would we be motivated to try a little if we new no one was giving us the old up-and-down?

So, the moral of the story is- have a little judge.  Don’t dwell on it.  And move on.

Attached: Some moms looking hot.  (they only look good cause they have nanny’s, personal chef’s, trainers, and buckets of money)- but I’m not judging!

Hot Moms

Love affair with Chevron DIY

I just can’t get enough of the chevron Stripe! Don’t you just love it?? For sure I am a stripes girl, and chevron is just that- a big bold fun stripe. There are so many great chevron DIY’s out there. Here are a few I gathered up. 20130923-150701.jpg

This all ties in because the other day I happened to pop into Avenue Fabric Studio on Oak Bay Avenue. I have never been to this Fabric Store before, this place is SO charming! They have a small selection of really GREAT fabric with super modern prints. Both of the ladies I spoke to were so lovely and helpful. I fell in love with there Mississippi Cotton Grey and White Chevron fabric. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I decided to make curtains for Hank’s room. When I went back to buy the fabric one of the kind ladies sketched out my design for me to help determine the amount of fabric I would need and gave me some pointers that really helped my curtains look great (as opposed to looking like a pile of garbage the way most things I sew turn out).  As I mentioned, this store is fantastic.

Hank’s new curtain is finished and up and looks great. Now I am dreaming of Chevron stairs.

Attached are some pic’s of the Avenue Fabric Studio and my new curtain.

If you are in Oak Bay pop in and check out this shop- it is really worth it. 108- 1841 Oak Bay Avenue. They also offer workshops for adults and children. Do you think I could get Hudson into sewing???

 

Bad Mom lives Here

Aside

someecards_babysitter_mom-of-the-yearSometimes I feel like a bad mom.  I KNOW I am not one. Or at least I hope my shame list doesn’t really put me in this category!  Ultimately I know that I love my children.  A lot.  They are clean.  They are fed.  They have appropriate clothing.  They spend most of the day having a laughing it up and having a jolly old time…but these little things I do (or don’t do) sometimes sneak into my mom-guilt susceptible brain and weigh me down.

And for the confession:

  • I spend too much time on my computer.  Sometimes I just don’t want to  watch my sweet one year old crawl around and  just don’t want to play trash guys with my five year old.  I want to look at pretty things on Houzz!
  • I always talk about making muffins, but never do
  • I usually leave the artwork that Hudson brings home from school in his back-pack, and when I take it out it’s on recycling day- and, you get the idea…
  • If I’m doing something (like Kim Kardashian’s new Blonde Hair), I’ll let my kids have a long great bath- but if I have nothing going on then bath time is super short
  • I only can handle around five minutes at the park- maybe ten- unless I have a Latte and Magazine- then I can go until the Magazine is done
  • I tell the kids that it’s not dessert night, then as soon as they are in bed- surprise- it is dessert night (for me)
  • Sometimes I put them to bed early.  They can’t tell time yet!
  • I don’t turn the baby moniter on until I’ve been up for at least a coffee.  When I do turn it on I always hear little Hank down in his room singing to himself.  Hey- he’s happy!
  • The boys have never finger painted.  Too messy.
  • Same for Play-Doh.
  • If they are spoiled, it’s my fault.  I love to buy them things!!  I am ruining them!

See…Bad MOM!  Oh well, it could be worse.  Way worse.  At least I always manage to wash the sippy cup every night and set it out so that it dries completely before morning (GOOD MOM)!

I hope all you Bad Mama’s enjoy your day out there today!

 

An Hour at The Ogden Point Breakwater!

The Ogden Point Breakwater just outside of downtown Victoria is a lovely way to spend an hour or two. It is a low commitment trip (depending on where you are coming from). We live just a few minutes by car from here, so we can just go for an hour and then come home- and it’s not big deal.

The breakwater does not fulfill my eat, shop, play criteria (it lacks the shop element)- but it is forgiven because there is nothing about this excursion that is a hassle. Here is what it has going for it:

  • Free and Easy Parking
  • A sand beach that is adrift with drift wood and pebbles
  • A stroller friendly walk that ends up at a light house (it’s around 20 minutes round trip- more if you take the low level or have a slow walker)
  • For those more adventurous (and without a stroller) a walk along the wild side
  • A cafe to warm up with a hot chocolate and a treat
  • The chance to see- tug boats, cruise ships, sea life, murals, a light house, big waves, fog, fishing boats, a helicopter, people fishing from the lower level

We went on a foggy morning which made everything seem so calm and still. It was really beautiful, and a bit erie. There are two area’s to walk on. The top and main level is smoothly paved and has railings along either side. This is perfect for a stroller and for responsible toddler walkers. The lower level however is compiled of giant stones slabs. There are gaps between each slab- most small, but some are huge! You can hear the ocean slapping, gurgling, and crashing between the gaps down below. From this level you can also spy starfish, barnacles and clusters of mussels clinging to the walls in between the gaps. When a bigger boat goes by the wake can send a gyser of freezing salt water into the air.  It is fun to hop from one slab to the next (but can be slippery- so look out!).  There are always guys fishing from these levels- one time we saw someone catch and club a fish right in front of us. It was a bit gruesome, but neat to see. On this day we ran into some fisherman who had seen a pod of whales swim by them the day before! Of course my eyes were riveted to the ocean hoping to see them again. But they did not show up.

On the end of the Breakwater is a lighthouse , which makes a fine destination. On the way back we walked back along the top- where you can see the tugs and pilot boats in the protected harbor.  Sometimes there are seals poking around in this calm area as well.

Right at the entrance of the breakwater is Ogden Point Cafe, which is a good place to get a little snack and warm up when the weather is cold.

After this you can spend some time beachcombing on the little sandy beach.  There are always interesting finds down here.

All in all a lovely couple hours!

 

My Favorite Slippers- from Etsy!

slippers for real

Well, fall is here, sort of.  But enough of it is in the air that I am thinking cozy.  Of course, I can’t go through a season change without getting one or two (or ten) new things.  Today I am thinking a nice pair of slippers would fit the bill.  And of course, as always, I am obsessed with Etsy- I rounded up six toasty and lovely pairs of slippers that would look nice on my tootsie’s.  Perhaps a pair would look good on yours?

1.  Cute Knit Slippers with a POMPOM!

2. Corduroy Slippers!

3. Babouche Slippers!

4. Bootie Slippers!

5. Bright Knit Slippers!

6. Please Santa Slippers!

Banfield Park- A Really Lovely Playground in Victoria BC

Here is what makes a lovely day in my eyes. Well, lets clarify, a lovely day with kids. First, there has to be a good destination for them. Second, there has to be a good destination for me. Be it a shop or two, or maybe just a good latte and probably a treat. And total bonus if there is some good eats and we can wrap it all up into a nice picnick package!

Here is one of my favorite playgrounds in Victoria BC- plus it’s fantastic surrounding area ‘amenities’.

I’ll separate it into Eat, Play, Shop so you can see what is so fantastic about this little trip to Vic West.

Eat: Let’s start with Eat, because who doesn’t like eating?? We went on a Sunday and got to experience Fry’s Bakery Pizza. This stuff is so good! It’s italian style of pizza- thin crust, few toppings (but fresh and quality). They use local ingrediants and it’s all cooked up in a wood burning oven.  There were around 4 choices, plus a kids cheese pizza.  There are a couple of sweet check clothed tables outside…but we took ours to the park. They are open from noon until they sell out of Pizza- so go early and maybe have a back-up plan.

If you go on a non-Sunday they sell THE BEST crossiant in Victoria. This is no lie. They also have a few other pastery type things as well as bread. And, rumor has it they make sandwiches now.

They are closed Monday & Tuesday.

Right beside Fry’s is The Spiral Cafe. They make a good coffee, and are very kid friendly. There are some toys, a couple of high chairs, and what have you. They sell Mount Royal Bagels and lot’s of other treats.

Play: So, take your pizza/sandwich/coffee/muffin across the street to Banfield Park. This is a great park with two structures (one for littler and one for bigger kids). It’s all fairly new and sturdy. There is a swing set with baby and big kid swings. It is in a big field so there is lot’s of room for your kids to RUN around. There is a walkway at the bottom of the park that takes you along side The Gorge. If you take a right on the trail (towards town) you will get to a cool old trestle that you can walk across. It’s a around 10 minute walk to the trestle and then another 10 or so to go across…you are looking at 30 to 40 minutes round trip…so know your crowd. You can definitely take a good quality stroller or bike on this path- which will cut down on walk time.

Shop: A few shops down from the Spiral is a kids consigmnent store. Sailor Jacks. They have a  selection of clothes, toys and baby gear.

If you walk up one more block there is Impressa Antiques- which has an ever changing selection of shabby chic type furniture.

All in all Banfield Park and the surrounding area score pretty high on our ‘Lovely Day’ meter. Food, Fun, and Shopping- what a great way to spend the day with Kids in Victoria!!

 

Amelia’s Lovely Day

 

 

It finally happened. My gorgeous niece got married!! The day couldn’t have been better. It was sunny but not to hot. The sky was blue. The ocean was sparkling. It was stunning! She tied the knot at Sea Cider which is a fantastic venue. They mix modern architecture (steel, concrete, clean lines) with a definite nod to rustic. It’s really charming (and the cider sure is good)!

I have never been to a wedding of someone I am super close to before. It was really really beautiful, and really really emotional. Basically I cried (along with my lovely maids) from the beginning of the rehearsal to the conclusion of the wedding. Their Vow’s were so meaningful and full of love and just killed us. We sobbed.  Thank god or Blushing Bridey supplied her maids with kerchiefs.

When the ceremony was over and we all finally pulled it together it was time to eat. The tent they set up housed the tables and food (and a bar).  The tables were adorned with seersucker table runners, and then dotted with colourful flowers in milk glass vases, twinkly candles, and big bow napkins!  It was very cool, playful and chic. If I hadn’t been a bit tipsy I would have better pictures of the set up.   We feasted, did the speech thing (cried a bit more), and then boogied down.

This was also my fist greek wedding. Those greeks know how to party. We danced our buts off with them…you know the dance, you see it in the movies…everyone grabs hands and  circles around the dance floor undulating towards the center with every step.  This is the easiest dance to master!  When the macaroon tower had been served (again no picture- bad Lhasa!), and the home made smoked sea salt had been passed out, and the last spice girls song had been played, all the revelers  hopped on a big yellow school bus and headed home.

It was a sparkly magical evening with such an air of fun & love that is sure to start Amelia and Larry’s road to wedded bliss off on just the right foot!

Love you Niece- for always!

 

xxoo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Child Love

Lately I’v been reading a lot of ‘funny’ posts from moms joking about how annoying their kids are. You know the ones I mean, the ones where the mom hides so her kids don’t see her and she doesn’t have to deal with them. The ones where she sings a song, like go the f**K to sleep to her little baby. Or refers to them as little snot-mongering jerks. Trust me, I know these moms love their kids so much they could keel over from it. And usually I am right there with them laughing, because Kids can be pretty annoying and are very demented at times.

But lately, it has been making sad. I mean, these are our kids. Shouldn’t we be openly loving our children?? I should say here that I do not lean towards the make crafts all day kind of mum, instead, I hate to admit I am more the try to sneak in as much computer time while pretending to pay attention mom.

As I try to wrap my head around the new vogue to trash your kids I come up with the fact that they bug us because they are literally 100% dependent on us. They rely on us for almost every single thing they do- because they can’t do it themselves. This is pretty powerful. Imagine being in this situation. It would be so overwhelming. They don’t know any other way to be.

And of course they get in the way of what we would rather be doing. I mean, we all did have pre-kid/baby lives, where we could do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted. But with kids, we just can’t. They come first, and if they don’t they will try to find ways to make it so that they do, whichever way they can.

I think that all this negativity surrounding our children is just breading more negativity. Like how you can manifest things to yourself if you focus on them long enough. Focus on the negativity (even in a joshing around kind of way), and it breeds more negativity. A cycle that I am trying hard to stop in my house. Instead of seeing the loudness, the mess, the interrupted moments of my time, I am trying to see my children for who they are; curious, precocious, bright souls with an abundance of energy and good cheer that are just trying to get by, just like the rest of us. I need to learn to see the world through their eye’s. To appreciate their energy, draw from it even. To take the time to give them time. To share with them, and teach them, and learn from them…as opposed to just biding my time until they go to bed at night.

And it works, to see them this way, and appreciate their energy. The days I truly engage, and try a little at my ‘job’, are the most rewarding. My children end up getting what they need, and in turn I get to enjoy them at their best.

This is probably back to school time making me feel all gushy and sentimental…but I’m going to go with it. Because really, love feels better then sarcasm, now doesn’t it.

Here is love #1 on his big first day.

 

20130905-114333.jpg