Place-Based Learning: Malcolm Knapp Research Forest Visit

As part of the Holistic Teaching and Learning course I am taking we visited the Malcolm Knapp Research Forest in Maple Ridge. This week our focus was Place-Based Learning so we met with our former classmate, Randy, who works at the Maple Ridge Environmental School. The Research Forest is one of the learning environments the school uses.

We began our visit with about 10 minutes to find a spot in the forest alone. I spent the time looking at my surroundings and trying to bring my thoughts back to the nature around me when my mind started to drift. I also paid attention to the sounds that I could hear nearby and in the distance. I took a few pictures from the spot I chose.

We then gathered as a group and Randy asked us if there were any questions we had about what we noticed. From there we headed off on a short walk to a pond. We saw two deer on the way! I wish I had been able to get a picture. When we arrived at the pond Randy gave us an opportunity to be learners with a couple activities students at the school have done. We looked at a living organism from the pond and tried to identify it. We were also encouraged to collect our own samples of water and to see what living organisms we could see. It was neat to experience this as an adult. I enjoyed seeing how groups of us worked together and what questions were sparked.

We chatted in small groups about the idea of Environmental Education. We considered possibilities in our own classrooms and any challenges we thought would arise and any questions we had. Afterwards we had an opportunity to ask Randy any questions. My question was related to writing – “What if a student wants to write a story about a princess in a castle for example? Would she be allowed to do this?” Basically it sounded like the student would be encouraged to somehow make the environment, in this case the forest, part of the story somehow.

Before we walked back to the parking lot I snapped a few pictures of the pond area.

I enjoyed our trip to the forest and it has given me lots to think about. I will likely spend some time looking at how I could do something place-based with my class!


Apple Crumble Tarts

I’m heading to my parent’s for Thanksgiving dinner tonight and since I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin pie I told my mom I would make another dessert. Pinterest rarely fails me! I decided I wanted to make something using apples and thought about tarts! A quick search resulted in a recipe for Mini Cider Spiced Cranberry Apple Pies. They were simple to make and I tweaked a few things to make them my own.

I was happy to see that pre-made shells were used!

I used two apples (McIntosh) instead of using cranberries.

I mixed up the chopped apple with flour, sugar and cinnamon. The recipe called for nutmeg as well but I didn’t have any.

Next, I spooned the filling into the shells. I had a bit of filling leftover.

Mixing the ingredients for the topping was easy. It called for butter but I didn’t have any of that either. I know, terrible. So I used margarine.

 Once mixed the topping went onto the tarts.

I baked them for 30 minutes and they came out looking like this.

I was happy with how they turned out except the shells weren’t cooked quite enough. I didn’t want to risk burning the topping so I didn’t leave them in longer. Next time I will try baking the shells a bit before filling them. 

Taste-wise I thought they were pretty yummy. My dad found them a little too sweet and my brother said they were awesome.

I’ll definitely make these again and perhaps I’ll try them with a different fruit!

You can find the original recipe on The Recipe Rebel blog. Click HERE!

Happy Baking ❤

A Little Taste of Holland: New Westminster Style

When my mom told me she was planning to go out for breakfast with her three best friends from school and that she figured it would be okay if I tagged along I was eager to join! I think it’s pretty amazing that they have remained friends after all these years. Although I’m in my 30’s I still call them all “Auntie” and don’t plan on ever stopping. 

My mom and I decided we would keep the fact that I was coming a secret from Auntie Debbie who was in town from Terrace – exciting! Then on Friday night I got a message from Auntie Debbie telling me about breakfast and asking if I wanted to surprise MY MOM by coming! Too funny. Auntie Janice didn’t know I was coming so there was still a surprise.

Auntie Sharon suggested going to Angelina’s Dutch Corner in New Westminster.

My mom and I parked by the Quay so we could walk along the Fraser River to get to the restaurant. It was such a beautiful fall morning! For all the rain we get we sure have some spectacularly stunning days.

It was a short but enjoyable walk to Angelina’s. The restaurant was small but Auntie Sharon arrived early enough for us to get a table. I was overwhelmed by the size of the menu but I had already decided I would get a Pannekoeken as a reminder of my time in Amsterdam! I chose the Bacon, Mushrooms and Cheese. I got my choice of four cheeses – Edam, Gouda, Cheddar or Jalapeno Jack. I chose Gouda – my fave! I also added a side of hollandaise. Real healthy lol.

Although not as tasty as the ones I had in Amsterdam, it was still delicious and I definitely plan to return. For those of you who have an Entertainment Book – there’s a coupon!

To read about my time in Amsterdam click HERE!

Commitment to Nature

“I would like you to make a commitment to nature.” 

“Wait. You want me to what!?! This is NOT what I signed up for.”

I’m doing my Graduate Diploma in Education (Curriculum Design and Learning) and this semester one of my classes is Holistic Approaches to Teaching and Learning. When our instructor asked us to make a commitment to nature I scoffed at it.  I thought it was a total waste of time. But upon realizing I really have no choice I decided to embrace it. I tried to figure out how I could make it painless…and meaningful. I already spend a lot of time outside with my class so I decided to make a personal commitment.

After brainstorming all kinds of humourous ideas with my friends I chose something that I think is manageable and enjoyable. So often when I’m outside during my free time I feel like I’m on a mission. I’m either going from point A to point B or busy chatting with friends. I don’t pay attention to anything around me. As I thought about this, my commitment was formed:

*I will pay more attention to my surroundings and take pictures of things that are beautiful to me.*

I’ve only got a few pictures so far.

Clearly I think flowers and bright colours are beautiful! We’ll see what I find beauty in as the summer fades into fall.

Now go on, get out there and find the beauty in your surroundings!

Taco Soup (Weight Watchers)

It’s a rainy Saturday and I’ve got tons to do – cleaning, laundry, work prep, homework. Sounds like a perfect day to do something else! That something else ended up being trying a new recipe. I was looking for a healthy soup that I could freeze so I headed to Pinterest as I usually do. I searched “Healthy Crockpot Soups” and quickly came across a recipe for Weight Watchers Slow Cooker Taco Soup. Now I’m not actually on Weight Watchers but since I wanted something healthy and I already had most of the ingredients so this sounded perfect. I headed to the store and picked up the remaining ingredients.

It was super easy to make. Just brown the onions and ground beef.

Throw all the other ingredients into your Crock Pot and give it a little stir.

Add the browned onions and ground beef.

And turn it on for 4 hours on high (or 6 hours on low.)

The final product was yummy! I topped it with shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream and chopped green onions. This recipe is a keeper!

Get the recipe on the Recipe Diaries blog! Just click HERE!


Miranda Lambert: Highway Vagabond Tour ❤

Girl crush, you ask? Yeah, I think I’ve got one. 

I remember being mad years ago when this blonde singer from Texas kept winning all the country music awards! My favourite artists were losing to someone I had never even heard of. Fast-forward a few years and I finally discovered why Miranda Lambert was winning all these awards. She quickly became one of my favourite singers and since then I’ve been waiting for a chance to see her in concert. That finally happened in Vancouver last night!

Ticket sales were poor, maybe because Coldplay was across the way at BC Place or maybe Miranda just isn’t as popular here as I thought. As a result I got a ticket upgrade! Instead of being in the upper bowl, my friend and I were now seated in row 6 in the section closest to the stage. What a view!

Miranda began the show with Fastest Girl in town to get the crowd pumped up. She followed with a great variety of new songs and old. She ended with an emotional acoustic performance of Tin Man followed by cover of I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For where she was joined by Gwen Sebastian and a guy whose name I can’t remember at all! Oops.

I had the best time with my friend, Allison, and sang along to almost every song. I know I’ll be Miranda-obsessed for the next little while and I’m already trying to learn a couple new songs to sing at band next week. I already do Mama’s Broken Heart and Over You, but there is always room for more. As I told my friend, Darryl, who is also in the band (and I have the privilige of singing duets with)…When I Grow-Up I want to be Miranda Lambert!

Challenge Accepted: September’s Mini-Adventure at Krause Berry Farms & Estate Winery

After a failed Skype date (poor Internet connection on Coen’s end) put me in a not so stellar mood I decided I need to get out and find something that would make me smile. The sun was shining so I decided to find somewhere new to go for my challenge. I was thinking about a Farmer’s Market but by now it was already 3pm so that was out of the question. Krause Berry Farms & Estate Winery in Langley popped into my head. Berry season is over but a quick look at their website assured me it would still be worth a trip there.

When I first arrived I saw beautful, bright flowers, still gorgeous in fall.

The entrance to the Wine Tasting area looked very inviting, but I saved that for next time. Today I was here for the market.

Beside the entrance way was a display of pumpkins and other squash. Yum!

And The Porch, where you can order and enjoy food. There is a limited menu right now and they didn’t have any waffles left by the time I arrived so I’ll try those another time. Too bad though because it would have been a lovely day to sit outside.

I was pretty much in Heaven when I walked into the market area and saw the pies directly ahead of me. Pie is my favourite dessert and they appeared to have every pie imaginable. Except Peach Raspberry – and I admit I was a little disappointed. Peach is my all-time favourite but since Krause is a berry farm I chose Raspberry. Sorry Dad, I just couldn’t resist! 

There were also Ice Cream and Berry Perogies which I had never seen before.

There was a little fresh bakery section but there wasn’t much left and they also had some produce. The market area had tons of preserves, food and kitchen and giftware. I’ll be back to check it out again closer to Christmas!

I bought a few things and am curious to see how it all tastes!

All in all it was definitely worth a visit!