our canadian vacation

This August, I packed up the kids and took them on a two week vacation to British Columbia. Not a fan of flying, I chose to instead drive the 4000 km (round trip). We spent the first eleven days driving there and then venturing across the province. We stayed with family in various parts and went to at least one attraction everyday. A lot of the time, we did two things. Naps were skipped and we were wiped out by the end of each day, but in the best way possible. Geoffrey then flew out to meet us on the twelfth day, and drove back with us over the next three days.

Before leaving, I prayed that it would go well and that we would make it back safely. So many things could have gone wrong, but they didn’t. God certainly kept us out of harm’s way, and we had the trip of a lifetime. Here are the highlights taken from the day Geoff joined us until we made it home.

August 28:

Early that morning my brother, Wilder, and I picked up Geoff from the airport and we met Remy, her cousins, and my sister-in-law at a nearby park and lake. We visited for less than 1 hour then sadly said goodbye. Thus began our trip as a family of four.

We made it to 3 Valley Gap around noon. We had already stopped at the ghost town on our way through about two weeks prior. We loved it so much that we decided to visit it again, this time bringing dada.

We explored old buildings, rode a train, played, ate, and ran around. It is such a fun place to visit, and spending a couple hours there is almost not enough time. Revelstoke is definitely a city of immense possibilities for families, from the Enchanted Forest to the Locomotive Museum. It is one that I look forward to visiting again and again.

After leaving 3 Valley Gap, we drove for a few more hours and made it to Golden, BC that evening. I had already stayed the night in Golden with the kids, and knew that there weren’t any attractions in the small but beautiful town. That said, we still needed something to do that evening as well as the next morning before hitting the road. I therefore asked Geoff to book us a room at the Kicking Horse mountain resort, hoping that there would be trails and/or parks within walking distance.

Located just outside of Golden, it is one of the most picturesque places that I have ever been to. We acquired a room at Winston Lodge and given that the busy season was just ending, a room turned out to be the same price as one at a lower-rate hotel within Golden.

The lodge reminded me of The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO. It was huge, beautiful, homey, full of history, had amazing food, and so much more. Guys, if you need to stay the night in Golden, please stay at the lodge or anywhere else in the Kicking Horse resort. What a gorgeous end to an overall fun and fulfilling day.

August 29:

The next morning we ate our complimentary breakfast. Then we went back to our room, packed up, and headed to a park before returning to the road once again. I didn’t want to leave, and wished that we could have stayed another night. Being in the mountains and in a secluded resort felt so freeing! I would have loved to explore the trails and ride the gondola for one more day. Alas, we had to go.

Our next stop was in Banff, AB. We drove through the Rocky Mountains and made it there within two hours.

Once in Banff we parked downtown and went to Central Park so Remy and Wilder could run around and work up an appetite. Then we walked the main street until we settled on a restaurant. After we ate, we went shopping. Afterwards, we returned to our vehicle and loaded everyone up.

Our final destination that day was Drumheller, AB. We arrived around supper time and went straight to the Royal Tyrrell Museum. Remy is in love with dinosaurs, and so naturally she had a blast. We chased her around the museum, going from exhibit to exhibit, naming all of the dinosaurs. Wilder sat content in his stroller.

At the end of the museum visit, she and Geoff climbed the large hill outside, and Wilder and I took photos of them from below. What an amazing place for children!

August 30:

The next day was dedicated to the long drive back home. Although our time with Geoff was short, it became our favourite family vacation to date.

Emory

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british columbia : video

I seem to be inundating you with videos lately! I hope that you are enjoying watching them as much as I have been in creating them.

Seen above is my latest video that I recently made for HSB. It’s of the journey that my mum and I took when we went to see her new home in British Columbia, Canada. The second half of this blog post is a letter that my mum wrote to my sister and I, since she will be moving away from us in a few short months. Feel free to read and watch, and to comment below.

Emory

British Columbia Trip 14A Letter to My Daughters

My darlin Girls,

I have cared for you since you were placed in my arms 30 plus years ago. I had no clue what I was doing. I had only cared for dogs and horses, and you were a mystery. I didn’t even know how to bathe a baby. I tried to live a conventional life raising you with a father, a big home, mortgage, car pooling and the trappings. Didn’t work. So, I took you little children and did it my way. I hope it was enough. I watched you grow and change from toddlers to balky teens to strong young women with lives of your own. I am so proud of you. 

Now dear hearts it is my time to start my new chapter. I understand you assume I will fall down my mountain retreat unable to call for help. One of you thinks I will be a target of crime. You may think I will be lonely. Well, it is true I will miss you physically but I have years and years of memories of you to carry along with me. 

I have raised you, buried both my parents and I have found my Mecca. 

I want to wake in the morning on that little mountain with the stillness and crisp air around me. Night Owl is a solid little structure that will not fall down around my ears I promise. My new perimeter fencing around my acres of heaven will deter predators. Night Owl is waiting. And calling. I hear her in my dreams. Last thing at night and first thing in the morning. It is true I am downsizing, but that is to make it manageable. I want to spend my days reading, and walking, napping, sampling the local wine, yes doing lots of equine chores but also reflecting. This is my final chapter in life. 

So, daughters, enjoy living. And being young! It really does gallop too quickly. 

My words to you? For what it is worth:

1. Stay close to nature

2. Love each other

3. Harbour no jealousy

4. Exercise 

5. Read

6. Find work you love and it won’t seem like work

7. Moisturize! You live in a harsh climate

8. Keep on rescuing animals 

9. Love who you see in the mirror

10. You get knocked down? Get back in that saddle real quick

11. Love your mama with all your heart. She loves you

Mum

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road trip : british columbia

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 9.26.37 PMIf you can recall this post from the beginning of last summer, my mum and I flew across the country to see the house that she thought she had fallen for. What then ensued felt like an episode of Catfish. At first, the home appeared to be my mum’s dream house. In person, it was a different story, and was very rough around the edges to say the least. Typical Catfish. After flying back home and reconsidering it, my mum changed her mind and fell in love with it one more time. Then she purchased it! Although she would never admit it, she’s a hopeless romantic.

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 9.25.01 PMThese Instagram photos were taken during our last trip. If you would like to see exactly what we are up to, then you can follow me here.

IMG_7153

Until Friday!

<3

Emory

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a blogger’s dozen: drinking fine chocolate (liv a lil chocolate)

liv a lil chocolate - HSB - Display Photo copyHello, friends! This post is a very bittersweet one for me, and I’ll explain why. The bitterness comes from the fact that today marks the end of ‘A Bloggers Dozen’ series. It began as an idea to reach out to other bloggers that I either admired, hardly knew, or that liked my own site, coupled with the desire to introduce more recipes into HSB, and grew into something much more than that. The sweetness is the fact that I successfully featured a new guest blogger each month, beginning with myself and now ending with my brother and sister-in-law!

When I first introduced this food series last January, I neither had direction as to where I wanted to take it, nor did I know how to approach any potential writers. Now, nearly twelve months later, I finally feel as if I have a good handle on how to present these posts to you, and I love the opportunities that have stemmed as a result from this series. I have formed friendships with a few of you from all over the world, and have learned the value in working together with someone, merely for the sake of our creativity and passion. We don’t get paid for this after all, at least not in the monetary sense. However, the benefits that I have reaped from this series have far outweighed any superficial profits.

Come January 2015, I hope to introduce a new series. One that is similar in that it features a new guest blogger each month, but different because it will not centre on food. More to come on that later.

The saying is that all good things must come to an end. I also believe in making an exit while still on top, and for each door that closes, another opens. That’s a shitload of platitudes. Yet, that opening that I speak of is in the incredibly delicious form of liv a lil chocolate. This is a company that not only do I have familial ties to, but one that is so new that it was just launched this weekend in Kelowna, British Columbia! I can honestly say with 100% guarantee, that everything that comes from liv a lil chocolate is absolutely amazing. Don’t only take my word for it. Try this recipe, and when your tastebuds feel so alive that you feel as if they may just jump out of your mouths, then go to this website and order some of their other forms of chocolate. Do it now. With Christmas being but days away, your family and friends will thank you for it.

I couldn’t think of a better way to bid farewell to ‘A Blogger’s Dozen’ than to feature a recipe from liv a lil chocolate, and the people behind it. Thank you for reading these posts over the last twelve months! Enjoy this one, and in the meantime, patiently await my new series that’ll begin again next month!

<3

Emory

Decadent Drinking Chocolate - 1Drinking Chocolate:

Ingredients:

40 g (1/4 cup) of dark chocolate shavings

250 mL (1 cup) of whole milk

Decadent Drinking Chocolate - 2Steps:

1. Select your chocolate. The type and quality of the chocolate you select will directly determine the outcome of the resulting drink. We prefer a 70% dark chocolate (this number represents the % of cocoa solids), which we find produces a rich, full-bodied drink. However, some prefer a drinking chocolate with a sweeter finish in which chocolate around 55%-60% cocoa solids may be more ideal.

2. For optimal dispersion of the chocolate into the milk it is best to grate the chocolate. Alternatively, the chocolate may be finely chopped using a knife.

3. Warm the milk in a saucepan. Once at a simmer (careful not to boil or scald) add the chocolate shavings. Using an immersion blender or whisk, mix the chocolate into the milk until completely emulsified and smooth.

4. Pour into a mug and enjoy.

Decadent Drinking Chocolate - 3For centuries, from the Mayans to the Aztecs, chocolate was revered as a magical elixir and was consumed as a drink to nourish and stimulate both the body and mind. In fact, the history of chocolate is as rich as the substance itself as cocoa beans were once a common currency while the botanical name of the tree from which they grow (Theobroma cacao) literally translates from Greek to mean “food of the gods.”

While the chocolaty drink consumed by these ancient cultures would have been quite bitter and harsh, modern varieties of hot chocolate have been tarnished with “artificial flavouring” and the practice of mixing powder into water. Fortunately, it is incredibly easy to whip up your own batch of this velvety tonic and restore this drink into the hall of liquid legends.

This basic recipe will produce a true drinking chocolate that is incredibly more complex and decadent than anything delivered from a tin. For those that enjoy experimentation, this drink can be topped with whipping cream (as seen in the photo), enhanced with a pinch of cinnamon, or for those long, cold winter nights, complimented with a shot of Baileys. The possibilities of personalization using this base recipe are endless.

Chocolate is incredibly complex and naturally contains over 300 chemical compounds, many of which have proven, positive effects on mood, concentration and sex-drive. Additionally, the anti-oxidants and flavanols found in chocolate have been demonstrated to have many health-boosting effects. However, science aside there is one aspect of chocolate that is indisputable: in moderation its effect on the soul is immeasurable. After all, our time here on this little blue dot is limited and whether you prefer chocolate in a solid or liquid medium (or both), we encourage you to live a little and enjoy fine chocolate!

Jordan and Julia

mama and emma in oliver

1.jpg1-2.jpg2.jpg3.jpg4.jpg5.jpg 6.jpg9.jpg 10.jpg11.jpg 12.jpg13.jpg15.jpg16.jpgA few weeks ago, my mum and I took our first trip together in eight years. Our last vacation was in 2006, and I had just completed the first year of my postsecondary schooling in Toronto, Ontario. That summer I moved back to Saskatoon to live with my parents and to finish my degree at the University of Saskatchewan. Picture an anal retentive daughter who felt a little unsure of her future, a mother who flew by the seat of her pants while holidaying, a bullmastiff puppy who chewed everything in site, and a group of cabins that weren’t fit to live in all dumped in the middle of the woods with a patch of grass for a beach. Yet, the somewhat disastrous nature of that trip has since turned into hilarious and subsequently happy memories. It is certainly one that I will never forget. 

Our destination for this vacation was Oliver, British Columbia. My mum recently put an offer on an acreage two provinces away from where we live and had yet to see it in person. A few days before the sale was to be finalized, she made the decision to fly out there. My brother and his family live only a few hours away from the property, so the trip doubled as an excuse to visit them. The original title of this post was going to be “Nev And Max Do Oliver.” Have any of you seen Catfish? Based on our personalities and my need to document everything, my mum was dubbed the carefree Nev and I was her more organized partner Max. I was hoping that our trip was going to be a much smoother ride than our previous one eight years ago. However, with Nev in charge of planning, Max was thrown into Nev’s world of where anything goes. As they say, “sh*t got cray,” and like the show nothing was as it appeared to be. Similar to the program’s victims, we witnessed firsthand that falling in love with something online is a hell of a lot different than loving it in person.

14.jpgThat is not to say that it wasn’t a great trip. The weather was perfect, the mountains and lakes were breathtakingly beautiful, and we laughed throughout it all. I really did have the best time with my mum. I just need to learn that traveling with her will always be an adventure. More importantly, in the end we accomplished what we set out to do. Oliver really is a beautiful place, but my mother has yet to determine if it’s her kind of beautiful. 

<3

Emory

  • Welcome, friends! My name is Emory. I am a wife and mother to three (two on earth and one in heaven). This is our life on the Canadian prairies.
    email: helloscarlettblog@outlook.com

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