72ish Hours in the Okanagan: Vernon

We left Kamloops (click here to see my blog about Kamloops) and headed to Vernon to visit my Grandma, Aunt, Uncle and Cousins.

It was the first time Coen met this part of my family. We had a nice visit with my grandma then went to my cousin and her husband’s house. They cooked us a delicious dinner! My aunt, uncle and another cousin came over for dessert and a visit. I had taken a pie from my favourite orchard in Vernon! I visit Davison Orchards every time I’m in Vernon. We went back the next day to pick up a few things to bring home with us.

I just love it there. I adore the market with all its fresh produce, jams, syrups and all kinds of other tasty treats, gifts and baked goods. The fresh pressed apple juice is to die for as is the PEACH PIE! It’s my absolute favourite pie…ever!

Before that second visit to Davison Orchards and heading on to Kelowna, we went to Silverstar Mountain Resort. I hadn’t been since I was a kid (also in the summer) so thought we would check it out. It’s super easy to get to and since it was summer we we had no problems finding a parking spot in the first lot. The resort is small but there were a few places to grab a bite to eat and tons of trails for hikers and cyclists. They also have a gondola that you can take up the mountain. Visibility was limited because of forest fire smoke so we didn’t go on it.

We went on a bit of a hike – nothing too strenuous before the bugs really started driving us crazy. We’ll remember to pack bugspray next time!

We decided to grab some lunch before heading back into town. We popped into the Bulldog Grand Cafe.

We didn’t realize it but it’s an extension of the Bulldog Amsterdam! Very fitting. We ended up ordering Bitterballen to start – how could we not!?!

We enjoyed our lunch and our couple of days in Vernon! 💜

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A Gift For Your Senses: Pelindaba Lavender Gourmet Coffee

It’s not often, maybe even never, that I write about a particular product. But today, I’ve got one that is absolutely worth recommending.

Pelindaba Lavender is a lavendar farm located in Friday Harbor, Washington. I first learned about it when I popped into their store while in Portland, Oregon in March 2017. When I saw their brochure on the ferry from Anacortes to Friday Harbor I immediately told Coen I needed to go. I’m pretty much obsessed with all things lavender! Unfortunately we didn’t have time to visit the actual farm (I’ll definitely go a other time.)

Their store was full of all kinds of wonderful lavender things. From soaps to cleaning products to food. They even had lavender ice cream sandwiches in a cooler! I picked up a few things but the Lavender Gourmet Coffee is what I’m here to review.

According to the woman I spoke to in the shop, Pelindaba Lavender is sent to a local coffee company where they grind the lavender with their beans. When I first opened the bag, I could smell hints of lavender blended with the aroma of coffee. Two of my favourite scents together – I was in heaven! Looking closely I could see small bits of lavender blended with the ground coffee.

I was worried the lavender scent would dissipate once the coffee was brewed but I didn’t need to worry. The fragrance wasn’t overpowering but it was definitely still there. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I drank it (I added a little sugar and cream.) I’d only ever had lavender baked goods. I have to admit that with that first sip I wasn’t too sure about it. The coffee itself had a great flavour but then I was hit with a herb taste, but almost like a herb I couldn’t really place. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a bad taste by any means. My second sip hit the nail on the head. There was that lavender taste I was looking for! It was glorious; like a mini-explosion of lavender. Delicious!

This coffee won’t be for everyone and if you’re not sure I think you should try a cookie, scone or loaf made with culinary lavender. If you don’t like the taste of lavender I don’t think you would like this coffee. Saying that, if you enjoy the taste, I highly recommend this coffee! You won’t be disappointed! Time for me to go enjoy cup number two.💜

72ish Hours in the Okanagan: Kamloops

Trying to plan a mini-trip to visit multiple people in multiple cities, albeit close to one another, can be nearly impossible especially in the summer. After days of trying to coordinate schedules Coen and I decided to spend one night with my brother and his family in Kamloops before moving on. We had a chance to check out a restaurant as a family called The Noble Pig.

There was a bit of a wait but we managed to get a table on the patio of this cool Brewhouse. It was a beautiful night – until the rain rolled in! Luckily we were just finishing up.

The menu was a pretty perfect size; not too big, not too small and there seemed to be something for everyone. My 2.5 year old nephew was just as content as everyone else! I had a hard time deciding what to order. I ordered a Sun Kissed Grapefruit Radler which was delicious – so refreshing!

I also decided on Crispy Pickles and Cheesy Pepperoni Pretzel Bread to share and the Southwest Pulled Pork Sandwich for my meal.

Crispy Pickles

I usually enjoy moderately spicy foods, but although these were cooked well (the pickles were still nice and crunchy) I found these to be just a little too much on the spicy-side. I wish the breading wasn’t Cajun seasoned. I think they would be appealing to more palates if they had a different breading and maybe came with a spicy dip for an added kick. I wouldn’t order them again.

Cheesy Pepperoni Pretzel Bread

These were good but nothing special. It was basically a cheese stick with a stick of pepperoni inside. I can buy essentially the same thing from the deli at several local grocery stores. It’s not that I wouldn’t order it again, but I would likely try something different instead.

Southwest Pulled Pork Sandwich

After the Crispy Pickles I was a little worried about the Jalapeno Coleslaw on my sandwich but thankfully I think they seeded the jalapenos! This sandwich was pretty good. The BBQ sauce was tasty and the slice of Rainer back bacon nestled under the pulled pork was an added bonus. I would recommend ordering this!

The service was a little slow but we weren’t in a huge rush and we got some great quality family time in. Overall I enjoyed the The Noble Pig and would return!

Aside from dinner we mostly just spent some time altogether. I hope to explore more next time. Stay tuned!💜

Alaska: The Last Frontier

I just got back from a two week Alaskan cruise with my aunt on the Golden Princess. Actually we did back-to-back 7-day cruises. We started off cruising from Vancouver, BC to Whittier, AK then stayed on the ship to cruise back to Vancouver. We did the same thing six years ago on the Island Princess and this time was even better! I also cruised the Inside Passage in 2003 on the Mercury (Celebrity.)

We had incredible weather on our Northbound journey. It was so hot that I even went swimming two days because it was too hot reading at the pool. I don’t know if I’ll ever get around to posting about each individual port so I’ll include one photo from each in this post.

Our first stop was Ketchikan. We were only there until 2pm so all I did was walk to Safeway because there was a Starbucks inside. I needed to get the Alaska Been There Series mug. I got the last one!

Out next port was Juneau. I spent a few hours browsing around shops and grabbed a coffee from Heritage Coffee, a local chain.

We were in Skagway on July 4th and there were tons of things going on. I met up with a few of the Assistant Cruise Directors from the ship and we wandered for a bit. Aleks, one of them, and I decided to continue walking around and pop into a few of the shops instead of getting lunch with the rest of them.

We visited Glacier Bay the following Day which was spectacular. The weather was amazing and we saw some pretty incredible calving.

The weather was also fabulous in College Fjord the next day.

We arrived in Whittier just before midnight and it was still light out. I love that! I didn’t get off the ship the next day because there isn’t really anything there and I’d been off last time I was there. I enjoyed the quietness of the ship – at one point it was only us, the crew and a few others who were also doing B2B cruises. We met a couple from my city! It turns out they live down the street from the school I teach at. Small world.

The weather for the return trip wasn’t great so I was thankful for the sun the previous week! It wasn’t cold but it was cloudy and rainy at times.

We were at Hubbard Glacier First.

We were back at Glacier Bay next. I think my pictures actually look kind of neat with the fog.

I wandered around Skagway a little more and went into some stores I hadn’t visited the previous week.

I began my day in Juneau walking away from the touristy area near the cruise ship terminal. I kept walking until I ran into a woman we had chatted to at breakfast the day before. She told me there was a whale fountain that was worth seeing. She was right! On my way back towards the stores I decided to walk up the 107 stairs it took to get me to the State Capitol. I had a look around inside for a few minutes. It wasn’t anything special. I liked going in Sacramento much more!

Our last port day on the way home was Ketchikan. This time I headed to Creek Street first, which I love. Then I browsed in some stores picking up a few last minute gifts.

The two weeks were fantastic. I met some great people and have some amazing memories. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep in touch with a few. One couple we sat with at dinner the first week live outside of Seattle which really isn’t too far. It would be nice to see them again!

If you’ve never cruised Alaska before I would highly recommend it!💜

Day 16: Gratitude Challenge

I’m a day late with this one…it’s report card writing time!

What public service or organization are you grateful for (ie. The library or Fire Department)?

Well, obviously I’m grateful for the Fire Department and Police Department for keeping my community safe but I’m also grateful for the library!

I used to visit the Terry Fox Library pretty often growing up but then got away from it when I started buying books. Finally I decided I was “wasting” a crazy amount of money on books I would read within a few days. I returned to the library!

I’m someone who likes to hold a real book in my hands. E-Books do NOT work for me! I’m thankful the Fraser Valley Regional Library network has pretty much every book you could ever want and I appreciate being able to put myself on waitlists for highly coveted books.

I’m currently deciding which book to crack open tonight before bed!

Happy Reading!💜

Day 15: Gratitude Challenge

How are you able to help others?

By listening…

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I like to think I’m a pretty good listener. I’m a good person to bounce ideas off of or to tell how you’re feeling. I don’t always have advice to give or even an opinion, but sometimes that’s not what people are after. Sometimes people just need someone to “shut up and listen” and I can be that person!💜

Day 14: Gratitude Challenge

What do you like about your job?

First off, for those of you who don’t know, I’m an elementary school teacher. I’ve taught kindergarten through grade 5 and have been teaching grade 2/3 the last two years.

The best part of being a teacher…the kids. There is NEVER a dull moment. There are times when I shake my head and think, “Really!?!.” And there are times when I’m so proud I could cry (and totally have!) Nothing beats watching a child struggle and persevere through a difficult task and to finally be successful. These are the moments that make every hard day – the days when I wonder why I’m even there- worth it.

The other best part? My colleagues. They’re not just colleagues. They’re my friends. And some, are more like family – I’ve got a few “big sistersand brothers” looking out for me! They’ve got the biggest hearts and we have a shared passion for teaching “our kids” even if they aren’t in our class. We laugh, we cry, we share our celebrations and our struggles. We collaborate and support each other however we can – even if sometimes that means ENCOURAGING someone to eat the damn cupcake! I would be lost without my work family. I love you guys💜