Whats For Dinner?????

28 06 2012

I didn’t go camping a lot as a child mostly because my mother was a 5 star camper. We would meet my mom’s brothers and their families at the campsite where we would stay during the day and into the evenings but when it was time to go to bed we would drive to the closest five star hotel.

I remember the fun with my cousins splashing in the water, gathering  fire wood for the nightly campfire and hikes in the where we would search for  a bear or a wolf but what I remember the most is the food. Nothing tasted better than a homemade burger bbq’d on the grill outside one of my Uncles tents.  There was the grilled garlic bread, the smores over the campfire and who can forget trying to prepare the perfect jiffy pop popcorn. Camping activities always revolved around the food.

Later in life my husband and I started taking our two children to Quadra Island where we first camped in a tent and then after much begging in a fifth wheel. The one thing that I felt was missing about my camping experience was that I never had any time to enjoy many of the activities that went a long with camping. The reason??? Well because camping revolves around the food. I was no sooner cleaning up from breakfast when it was time to start thinking about lunch. I was lucky to get a couple of hours off after lunch before my family was asking “What’s for Dinner”  Seriously can’t a mom just sit down and read the latest book that has peaked her interest.  This summer I can tell you that many a mom will be much more interested in what happens next with Christian and Ana in Shades of Grey rather than figuring out what to throw on the bbq for the ravenous family who has just returned from a marathon sea shell collecting expedition.

This is where one of my favourite businesses comes in. My friend Sandra owns What’s For Dinner.  This is a lifesaver of a company.  What’s for Dinner provides freshly prepared meals using the highest quality of ingredients that you can put in your freezer for those nights when you have limited time to cook because you have to run out the door to the baseball park or the rink.  I use Sandra’s services throughout the year for my regular meals but was thrilled to find out today that she is offering camping packages. The Summer Trio comes complete with six homemade mozza burger patties and buns, a marinated pork tenderloin with rice, and chicken souvlaki and six wraps all for just $79.95 which takes care of 3 full dinners for my camping experience.   Order online at http://www.whats4dinner.ca

With What’s for Dinner my family enjoys 5 star meals and I am able to escape the heat of meal preparation  for some time enjoying the sizzle of my new favourite book series.


12 04 2016

5-West-Shore-RCMP-Death-2-e1459902200528My community is in mourning today. Today is the service for Officer Sarah Beckett a member of the West Shore RCMP who lost her life as a result of a horrific car crash last week. Everyone I have run into since the tragedy has been talking about the crash- everything from speculation on how it happened to wondering how her fellow RCMP Officers and husband and young children are holding up. There have been walks and Go Fund Me Pages set up. Businesses are holding bbq’s and fundraisers and the community has been coming out in droves to leave flowers at the crash site and by the bronze statue that ironically Office Beckett was the model for.


Yesterday as I was sitting at a red light by the West Shore RCMP Station I saw what I believed to be a teacher walk away from the statue with his class and I watched as he had them sit on the grass. I wondered what he was planning on saying to his class. I know what I would say. I would say that we should be grateful for all of the first responders who chose a career that involves potentially sacrificing their lives to protect ours. Paramedics, Fire Fighters, RCMP and Police Officers put their lives on the line every single day they go to work. It is a career of unexpected happenings as each day is filled with different calls and situations.


I hope that teacher was telling his class to be respectful of the officers that protect us. I hear all the time people complain when they receive a speeding ticket or how it inconvenient to be stopped at a roadblock. That speeding ticket could have saved your life or that roadblock most likely took someone off the road who should have called a cab.


I hope that teacher was speaking to his class about choices. When you make the choice to speed, text while driving or drive while under the influence of alcohol or other substances you are putting not only your life but  others lives at risk. I hope that  everyone has learned something as a result of the tragic death of Officer Beckett. She lost her life protecting my community and I will be forever grateful to her for that.


Happy Champagne Birthday!!

17 03 2016

Yesterday I looked over at the young man sitting beside me. He was in the drivers seat chatting away to me as we drove to an appointment. It was hard to pay attention to what he was saying because my head was filled with thoughts. Thoughts about how his voice has deepened, how he has his dad’s eyes and my families facial features. I couldn’t help thinking about how much he has grown in the past year and how he isn’t afraid to give me a hug or a smooch on the cheek in public still.


 It is amazing to me really that he still is an active participant when I plan crazy stunts. Just a few months ago on a rainy day I pulled out two semi automatic nerf guns that I had bought and hidden away. I tossed him a gun and a bag of ammunition and shouted “Game On”. We had an epic nerf gunfight that lasted over an hour and ended with me surrendering because I was too tired to continue.  I never want those days to end. The reality of it is that they will end. I will always be his mom and him my son but he will one day very soon go away to college and eventually move out permanently. I am not ready for that and time is moving way to quickly for me.  


Life isn’t moving too quickly for my boy. Life is exciting right now and filled with a lot of firsts. First time being able to drive a car which quickly turned into being able to drive himself to appointments and activities including practices (which I am not in the slightest upset about).  He has his first job so his reliance on me is dwindling and I am having a bit of a hard time with that. Really, isn’t this what we want when we raise a child? Don’t we want them to grow up to be able to be strong and function as competent adults? Isn’t that our goal?  We teach them everything we feel that they need to know for when they are out on their own and when we send them off into the world to use the tools that we have given them and hope they use them wisely.


It is hard to believe that 17 years ago yesterday I was strolling along in the brand new Costco with my dad when all of a sudden in the camping aisle while looking at the double fold up camping chairs my very pregnant body decided that this was the time to go into labour.  I am not sure who was more alarmed by this my dad or I. You see, my dad had been anticipating this day for months. He knew that there was a good chance that he would be driving me to the hospital as my ex husband had a very active career and so dad was my back up plan. My dad had mapped out and timed exactly how long it would take him to get from his condo and any other place that he visited regularly) to my house and to the hospital in morning, afternoon rush hour and evening traffic. Going into labour in Costco had screwed that all up and so after labouring for a short time in the display chair we headed to the check out with our cart full of goods (including a chair) and headed to my house to pick up my bag and head to the hospital. 

My dad had even investigated where to drop me off and where the best parking was. He made my delivery to the hospital seamless. I think my dad was very happy to be relieved a couple hours later by my ex-husband.

Without telling the whole story of my labour (which was painful, endless and resulted up in a C-section) at just after 6am the following day I met my amazing son for the very first time. I was in awe of him then and I am still in awe of him today.

I am so proud of the young man he is and I am excited and looking forward to seeing all that he accomplishes in life.  Happy Champagne Birthday* Bub!!!



*Champagne Birthday is when your age is the same as the day of the month you were born on. Example your 17th birthday on the 17th.


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Remembrance Day 2015

10 11 2015

Tomorrow is Remembrance Day and I hope that you are planning something that will truly allow you to reflect upon and honour the service men and women who have served and continue to serve our country. I am the daughter of an amazing man who served in with The United Nations and the Canadian Air Force for almost his entire working career. He enlisted at 18 and served in France and Egypt and the United States before doing the milk run across Canada with is family in tow from one military base to another. Serving in the military is not a glamorous career by any means. You have to want to serve your country. I have heard people say that they think it would be great to travel and see the world but what they don’t understand is that the men and women who serve are not staying in five star hotels and visiting in a tourist role. They are in danger all the time they are abroad and live in cramped quarters while being away from their loved ones for weeks, months and some over a year at a time. That is incredible dedication to our country and tomorrow should be a day to reflect and to say thank you.

I had a conversation with my son this morning on the way to school about war and what the conditions were like during the world wars and the current wars happening today. I think it is hard for youth to imagine that soldiers slept in tents and that medics often had to care for the injured in areas where fighting was ongoing and supplies were limited not to forget that thousands of men and women lost their lives. Families suffer from the loss of their son, daughter, mother, father, aunt, uncle or sibling and returning servicemen and women suffer as well with physical injuries and mental health issues as a result of being in wartime situations. Organizations like the Wounded Warrior Fund are trying hard to educate us on just what returning servicemen go through as well as supporting the needs of those who have fought for our freedoms.

Kudos to the businesses who are offering free services to our protectors tomorrow to say thank- you. Please consider making a donation to the Wounded Warriors Fund if you can or simply thank a veteran or someone serving now for their service. It would be a much different Canada without them.


National Cancer Survivor Day

7 06 2015


Today is National Cancer Survivor Day! I can’t imagine the battle you have to endure to beat such a formidable foe. Cancer is the battle between good and evil and it takes evil to beat it. I can’t imagine being diagnosed with cancer. I can’t even predict how I would react if I were ever to be diagnosed with it. I do know that it means that ones life is forever changed from the time they are diagnosed. Life becomes filled with doctor’s appointments and trips to the cancer clinic for treatment. Your daily vitamin is no longer the only med you have to remember to take. If you didn’t remember to take your vitamin it was no big deal but it is a big deal to take your meds when you have cancer. Every little pill and treatment is part of a battle for your life. Your LIFE!! The thought of fighting for my life terrifies me and yet there are thousands of people who are fighting with all of their might to stay alive. They fight and they endure treatment with horrific side effects because they want to be around to see another sunrise, to watch their children grow up or simply because they aren’t ready to stop living. They fight and they fight to stay alive and they value every minute of every day. Then there are those that are perfectly healthy that take life for granted. They waste their time being angry with people, getting caught up in drama, playing video games or working so hard they don’t have any time to enjoy their life. Why does it take a life threatening disease to make people realize just how precious life is? Are you waiting until the kids are gone or until you retire to start doing the things you have always wanted to experience in your life? Why? Why not start now? You don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I don’t want any regrets in my life. I don’t want to miss out on any of the experiences on my list of things I want to accomplish on this earth. I am going to go after what I want and live life like it is precious, which it is. To those of you who have survived cancer I take my hat off to you. I have seen first hand what treatment does to a person and yet you endure it over and over again. Not everyone is able to win the battle through no fault of their own but the fight for life is worth it. Live life before you have to fight to keep it!!N

National Brothers Day

24 05 2015


When I looked up the definition for “brother” the most appropriate definition to describe my brother was “an exclamation to express annoyance or surprise”. From the moment my brother was born he was full of surprises. I remember being truly surprised when first “viewing” our new family member because he was so little. I was super annoyed that my parents had completely mislead me into believing that I was going to have a new little brother to play with. Seriously this little bundle of joy that everyone was raving about had no hair (none that we could see as he was so fair), no teeth, couldn’t talk or walk so really I didn’t see how he was going to enhance my life in any way. But my brother has this uncanny way of sucking you in and very quickly my world revolved around him. I had to be involved in every part of his care taking. He was born with congenital heart defects and would cry for hours every single night. I remember walking for what seemed like endless hours back and forth through the kitchen as movement seemed to keep him content. It was such a regular routine that we even made up a song to sing to him ….are a walkin’ through the kitchen so dear old “Brent” won’t cry.

I am not sure if it was jealousy at all of the attention he received from being a baby or from the extra love he seemed to get from my mom but I remember being really annoyed with him one day. I figured if he didn’t have any clothes they would have to get rid of him and so I tried to sell his clothing out my bedroom window for a nickel or a dime per piece. That very well could have been the beginning of my entrepreneurial spirit as I apparently charged people to see and hold him as well.

As my little brother grew older it was apparent that he was going to need open-heart surgery. He would turn blue just from walking up the stairs from our basement and had trouble keeping up with myself, and the kids in our neighbourhood when we were running outside due to the lack of oxygen he was receiving as a result of the hole in his heart. The day of his surgery came (5 years old) and I was sent to school as if it was a regular day. I remember my 5th grade teacher Mr. Beynon teaching a math lesson but all that was running through my mind was what was happening at the hospital. When the school secretary brought me the message that the surgery had been a huge success I was not surprised. My little brother was the strongest and most determined kid I had ever met and nothing was going to stop him from throwing on a pair of skates and playing hockey. My parents did not want Brent to play. It was actually recommended that he didn’t. Yes his heart had been repaired but it would never be as strong had he been born with out a heart defect. Brent annoyed my parents with his constant requests to play hockey and surprised my parents by saying that he would rather die being happy and playing hockey than not and being sad (remember he is 5 years old). That statement was a game changer as next thing I knew we were a hockey family. Not only did Brent play hockey but also he became a force to be reckoned with. He stopped at nothing to get that puck and although it was annoying to have to go and watch him at some ungodly hours at an outdoor rink in Winnipeg I could not have been more proud of his determination and tenacity. Brent’s play hard philosophy did earn him several trips to the emergency room. He was hit by a car and spent a month and a half in traction in the hospital. There were multiple trips to the emergency room for stitches and broken bones. I remember him spending a day riding around on his bike with a broken arm because he knew my mom would be more than annoyed when she had to make yet another trip to the hospital because he had been going off jumps on his bike which she had specifically asked him not to do. I think he was annoyed to have his arm in a cast but the second it was off he was riding his skateboard down a neighbours roof and flying down onto a ramp he had put against a car he had picked up for $50.

It was in his teen years that the caught off guard surprises started happening. Brent was full out annoying now. He was into the full mode of drive his sister crazy. You can imagine the horror and surprise I felt when I looked out my bedroom window to see the neighbourhood kids all gathered around him when I came to the realization that he was reading them excerpts from my diary that had not only been locked but also hidden in my room. He had become the neighbourhood comedian and jokester.

Everyone thought he was sooooo funny. They didn’t have to live with him. The worst practical joke he ever played on me was shortly after I had finally gained permission to have my own phone with my own private number in my room. It was exciting to hear it ring knowing that it was “my” personal phone. I would run down to the end of the hallway where my room was, open the door and run in and jump on my bed and answer my phone. The day of the incident I heard my phone ring and true to form I ran down to my room, flung open my door and I was mid air when I saw that this was not going to be an ordinary landing. My dear little brother had covered my bed in anything he could find that was slippery from the fridge. My bed was covered in mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, salad dressing (come on picture it in your head) and much more. I landed on my bed and slid hard and fast into my wall at the end of my bed. All I could hear was laughter coming from down that hall. Thank goodness cell phones and social media was not around to capture the images.

As he grew up there were more and more practical jokes. At my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary Brent added “coholic” to my Uncle Al’s nametag and he could not figure out why people were giggling at him all night long. When working with the Salsa hockey team he had the Zamboni driver completely surround sports journalist Cleve Dheeshaw’s car with very high piles of snow and he left a red Dairy Queen Spoon under his windshield with a note that said, “ Have fun digging out”.

I think the biggest surprise for me was when my brother and his girlfriend announced that they were having a child. I could not imagine anyone wanting to spend their life with him (he always keeps it interesting) let alone have a child. When my dad called to let me know that Brent and Terra had had a beautiful baby girl I was in complete and utter shock. A “girl”?? Was that even possible? I had assumed that my very manly, athletic, good time loving brother would only be capable of producing boys. Once again he surprised me by not only having a girl but by becoming a dad that makes me proud. He now has two girls (go figure) and he is still the manly, athletic, good time loving guy but he is also an incredible dad. I am grateful that Terra has to deal with most of the surprises and annoyances now (she is a saint) but I still keep an eye over my shoulder because you never know what he will be up to next.

International Women’s Day-Celebrating the Men in our Lives

8 03 2015

thank-you-guysToday is International Women’s Day. I find it interesting that we need a separate day to celebrate women. There clearly isn’t an International Men’s Day. We have “Mother’s Day” and Father’s Day” so why not a day to celebrate men? I am all for celebrating women and all of the strides that have been taken to allow women to vote, hold office become presidents of major organizations and heads of companies. It is hard for some men to accept women in power roles or when they are acknowledged for accomplishments. I experienced it myself when an ex partner of mine did not want to come to a ceremony where I was being awarded an award for my contributions to my community. He admitted later that he was jealous but this was coming from a man who received awards every single year for his career accomplishments. This is I am sure one of the main reasons that we did not work as a couple. He did not have the ability to be proud and supportive of his partner’s accomplishments.

Today is International Women’s Day and I think we should celebrate women. I am all for it but I am also going to celebrate the men who are man enough to put their ego’s aside, celebrate and support their partners or female friends accomplishments. These are the men who get excited about a new idea their partner might have and brainstorm with them on how to make it better. They are the men who are proud and boast about their female friend or partner’s accomplishments. I have a few men like this in my life. One is my dad who does not fit into the partner category but is a friend and my biggest supporter. My bff Dave, is always there to just listen and offer advice when asked. He picks me up when I am down and encourages me every step of the way!! My business partners husband James who is a huge supporter of everything we do. I thank him for putting up with our zaniness and for not having us committed when I know he is clearly thinking that we belong in the loony bin as a result of some of our ideas. Last but not least our son’s who clearly are embarrassed by us at times but wear our latest creations with pride and tell us that they are proud of us. We honestly could not do what we do without the male support in our lives. So today while I celebrate all of the women in my life I will remember and thank all of the men who allow me to lean on them and encourage me to go out there and “knock em dead”.

My One Year Anniversary of Eliminating Diet Pop From My Life

16 02 2015

diet cola

For those of you who know me well, you know that diet pop was a huge part of my life. I drank it at home, in my car and at least 3 glasses when out in a restaurant. I drank diet pop instead of milk, juice or water. I started to notice after years of being a pop junkie that I was not feeling well. My stomach would actually burn after I drank one. I know it is not a good idea to drink pop on an empty stomach but it was my go to product. I always seem to have a million things I am working on so when it came to meal prep for myself (i.e. lunch when the kids are not home) I would just crack open a pop and that would take away the hunger pains. It got to a point where I was drinking 6-7 cans a day, which was ridiculous. One year ago today I made a conscious choice to remove all sources of pop from my life and concentrate on healthier choices. It was a huge struggle at first. I had bad headaches most likely from the caffeine withdrawal. I craved the fizziness and the bubbles. There was nothing better to me than the first couple sips from a very cold diet pop. I received huge satisfaction from it. It was about a week in that I was about to give in to my craving. I snuck a can of pop into my bedroom (I had told my kids to help keep me on track) and cracked it open when I heard from the down the hall “ Don’t do it mom, you will regret it”. It was my son doing exactly what I had asked him to do-keep me on track. He immediately came into my room and removed the can of pop so I would not have any temptation to take a sip. I am glad that he did that because today it is exactly one year since I have had a pop. I am very grateful that I made that decision. I feel much better having eliminated it from my diet. I still have to work on making healthier choices and resisting brownies when my good friend and business partner offers them to me but it is a work in progress that I am committed to. There is one thing that baffles me though. How is it that my son can hear me crack open a pop can from the other end of the hall but can’t hear me when I call him to clean up his mess in the kitchen?