Is Your Kid Wineing? Camelot Vineyards

Well, it's wine season again in the Okanagan Valley.  Actually every season is wine season, but spring is when the wineries kick into full swing - opening tasting rooms and wineshops and getting set for visitors. 

The start up of wine season is nicely (cleverly) closely placed to Mother's Day and this past weekend a group of wineries in Kelowna hosted a special Mother's Day event.  The Fab Five: The View, Camelot Vineyards, House of Rose, Vibrant Vine, and Spierhead Vineyards, all held special tasting events celebrating moms. 

The FabFive have been on my list of wineries to visit so I decided that this would be the perfect time to stop in and do a quick wine tasting.  I have driven past Camelot a few times in the past year and have always thought it looked the type of winery that would hold The Kid's attention for just long enough to allow the adults to do a tasting and I was not wrong. Here's how our visit to Camelot Vineyards went. 

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Camelot is a small winery, but it has some serious charm and the owners have fully committed to the Camelot theme.  The Kid enjoyed the thrones outside as well as Camelot's own excalibur.  Inside the tasting room were a few more fun items to look at (like a suit of armour).  

I had a quick tasting of four of their wines, and really I need to remember to make notes when I am at wineries when I visit.  I liked them all (of course) but decided on buying just a bottle of the White Night 2011 because it was just a nice easy drinking, front deck wine, type of wine.  

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Thank you Camelot Vineyards for the special Mother's Day Candle.  

Another really great thing about this winery is that is located right night door to an elementary school - a great place to let your kids run off a bit of steam on the weekend (please don't take your kids during school hours), and on the other side of the school - a field full of goats.  

The lovely woman at the tasting bar also recommend House of Rose as a good place to go if you need to drag your kids along - she mentioned lots of open spaces.  We didn't make it there this trip but will be sure to stop in another day. 

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 Need a refresher on tips and tricks to wintering with kids?  Check the original "Is Your Kid Wineing" post. 


Geocaching: What are you actually looking for?

There are a few standard questions that I get asked when I mention geocaching to new friends and coworkers.   There's the standard "What's geocaching" and "why do you do that?" questions which I've answered a few times on the blog. 

The other two most common questions are:

  1. What does a geocache look like?  
  2. What's in it? 

I thought now would be a good time to answer those questions. 

1. What does a geocache look like? 

A geocache can be many different things. There are caches that aren't physical things to find and I'll probably keep the discussion about those for another day but for the most part, a geocache is a small object that can be closed tightly to prevent water from getting in, and are large enough to contain paper (the log) to sign.  

Here are some examples of caches and their sizes to help answer the question.  Please keep in mind that these are just one type of container, and shown just to give you an idea of different sizes of cache containers and what they might look like.  Caches can also be hidden in plain sight in containers that look like rocks, pinecones, tree branches, bolts, bird houses - the only limit is imagination.  

Nano - super tiny, typically magnetic so that they can be tucked away on anything metal.  Only room for a tiny rolled up log. 

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Micro - slightly larger. Can be magnetic but not always.  

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Small - room for small tradable items, but usually something this size will just have a log as well.  This size may also have a pencil in it, but not always. 

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Medium - a couple of different mediums.  We usually aim to find ones this size and bigger (its more fun for the kid).  These containers have room for the log, something to write with, and tradable items. 

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I bought this collection of containers from Landsharkz in BC. The idea is that I should now fill them and hide them but quite honestly I'm not very good at the hiding part and only moderatly good at the finding part (compared to some of my counterparts)

There are bigger caches as well.  The largest cache we have ever found was a rubber made tote.  Other large size ones are ammo boxes, The Kid loves finding these ones because they usually have larger items "good stuff" as she likes to call them, take a bit of creativity to hide successfully, and frequently have trackables. 

I'm going to save the question that usually comes up after this one is answered for later.  That question is "so, where exactly are these things hidden" 

2.  What's in a cache

Well, that varies.  A cache should always have a log book. Other than that it's really hard to say.  Usually what you'll find are small toys, pins, costume jewelry, handcrafted items, scout/guide badges, and items similar to that.  Rocks, garbage and food are not.  We like to carry around a lot of extra little toys so that if we get to a cache that is looking pretty bare we can top it off.  Nothing disappoints a kid more than finally finding the cache and discovering it's empty!

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An idea of what you might find in a well stocked cache, all items are things we have found or are in our collection of things to drop off in a cache.   

A few rules of geocache "treasure" 

  • Its important to remember the rule when taking something from a cache - leave something of equal or higher value (and I'm not talking dollar value per se, just perceived value, if you take something out leave something that the next person will like or enjoy or find humour in)
  • Don't leave food, of any kind in there. Ever. You don't know how long it will be until the next person finds the cache and the next person will have no idea how long that food has been in there, where it came from, and what's in it.  
  • DO leave the log book.  True story - my mom placed a cache in the village where she lives and on a regular basis someone takes the log.  It's not a fancy log book, just a dollar store kids notepad but pretty much as soon as she puts the log in, someone takes it. 
  • If a cache has a theme, try and stick to the theme if at all possible.  Themes we've encountered: retirement, fishing, girls hair accessories, cars, trading cards, jokes (leaving a joke on a piece of paper in the cache)

 Want to learn more about geocaching? 

 Why Geocaching is Great For Kids

A Guest Post on Girl Guides of Canada 


from the Birks Box: Harvest Moon

The other night I was craving something baked and decided it was time to look into the Birks Box for something fun to make.  I was a bit limited on what I could bake as our pantry is a little bare at the moment.

I stumbled across this recipe, called Harvest Moon, and we had all the ingredients required.  In the column of paper next to the typed out recipe was a handwritten note telling me this was a cake. 

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Here's what you need: 

  • 2 cups of cake flour
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (lightly packed) 
  • 2/3 cup of milk (I used 2%) 
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/3 cup butter (I used salted)
  • 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • vanilla (no measurement amount given, but I think I added around 2 tsp)

I collected all the ingredients and then realized I didn't have cake flour, so did a quick google search and established that I could slightly alter regular flour by taking out a but of the flour and adding in cornstarch.  The sites I visited all recommended removing 2 tbsp from 1 cup of flour and then adding in 2 tbsp of corn starch (1 cup flour - 2 tbsp flour + 2 tbsp corn starch = 1cup cake flour). 

The recipe didn't outline the steps that should be taken to make the cake, so I just followed a standard baking system: 

  1. mix dry ingredients together in a bowl, set aside
  2. cream together butter and sugar
  3. add in beaten egg and vanilla
  4. mix dry ingredients and milk into the bowl, alternating to allow everything to mix together smoothly 

I used a 9 inch circular pan, lined the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and then also floured the bottom and sides of the pan.  As it turns out this was a very thick batter  - almost cookie dough consistency so flouring the sides of the pan was not necessary. 

I bake the cake for about 35 minutes.  It didn't spread in the pan at all really.  Harvest Moon is quite like a shortbread cake, like you would have with strawberry shortcake, or possibly scone-ish.  It was not very sweet, so would be terrific with some fresh fruit and whipped cream as a summer dessert.  As well because of its consistency it would hold up well to being packed as a special lunch box treat. 

I'll make this again and will play with the flavour a bit - maybe add in some citrus, or a bit of spice like ginger or chinese five spice.  

This cake was not easy to photograph so I'm not adding a picture! 


 


Friday Food Fun: Yumi Bistro and Take Out

Made it through another supercharged Tuesday:  full day at work helping schools with their Jump Rope for Heart campaigns, plus The Kid had two after school activities.  Luckily there are many options available for a quick take out close to where The Kid is taking golf lessons. 

This week we stopped at Yumi Bistro and Take Out.  

Yumi only has a Facebook page, no website or other online presence to scope out the menu ahead of time, but it's mostly on our way home so made for a good option. Yumi specializes in Chinese Cuisine, and although they have super comfortable chairs(couches) at their tables I'd say it really is more of a take out place.  

We were the only customers there, so I hope that we caught them on a slow day and that Yumi has a customer base to help them stay open. I loved the relax atmosphere and colour scheme they chose for their restaurant and if we lived closer I could see myself walking down for a bubble tea or coffee and just relaxing in the comfy chairs! 

 

Because we were starving I didn't give the menu a full look, closing to go the safe route and order from the standard Chinese-Canadian section.  Looking back I wish I had tried the more traditional chinese noodle dishes that the owner pointed out.  Live and learn. 

The food was great though - don't get me wrong!  But after seeing that the cook was actually a nice Asian grandma I'm kicking myself for not being a bit more adventurous!  Who doesn't love grandma cooking?  

We settled on two combo meals - obviously too much food, but since it was such a busy week it was nice to have lots of left overs for lunches.  The food did take quite a while to come out so that was a bit of a down side but on the upside it was clearly not all premade sitting on a buffet table in the back - it was hot and fresh and that made the wait worth it. 

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Two combos - sweet and sour pork and lemon chicken.  Loved the fresh veggies in the beef and veggie mix, the beef was not my favourite part of the meal but everything else made up for that.

We also ordered spring rolls, and really I should have just ordered the spring rolls for the kid.  She did have some rice and a bit of lemon chicken but the rest ended up being leftovers for me. 

Yumi is located on the corner of Gordon and KLO, stop by and grab some take out!