On the way home from visiting family this afternoon, Miss G napped in the car from about 3:30 until almost 6:00 p.m.  Definitely not the best move for a little lady who is normally in bed for the night by 6:30 p.m., but I was car sick and the lack of questions being fired in my direction provided some much appreciated quiet.  So a late car nap it was – meh.  Key to not having a little lady up until 10 p.m., however, was getting outside and getting some fresh air and physical activity after dinner.  So that’s what we did.  We explored the farm, feeding the cows, visiting the Aunties, and collecting berries and flowers along the way.  The plan turned out perfectly and we had a bathed bubba happily tucked in bed by 8:30.  And some pretty pictures of our evening adventure. ☺

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This morning we headed out to Kamloops to visit some family we have there, as well as my Baba who is in town visiting.  I took almost no pictures during our visit, but I did manage to capture this one of Brad and Grae playing in the backyard pool. There’s something special about being thrown high in the air by your Papa knowing that you’ll be caught safely on the way down, isn’t there?  By the number of times Miss G exclaimed, ‘AGAIN! AGAIN!’, I’d say she agrees with me.  

 

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There’s nothing like a few years in Kuwait to make you truly appreciate Canada.  I could easily fill several pages with all of things I’m extremely grateful for here at home, but nature is, without a doubt, near the top of my list.  Being able to enjoy spending time outdoors…  Mountainsides covered in trees…  Green grass.  Wide open spaces.  Wildflowers growing in ditches.  Fields of corn.  Kids running in backyards…  Sometimes it’s all a little overwhelming.  And the sad part is that until we moved to the Middle East 7 years ago, it was all too easy to just take it for granted.  Thankfully, Gracen seems to truly understand the beauty that is where we call home.  Several times during our summer vacation she’s paused while out on a walk, taken a long, slow breath in, and in an airy voice said, ‘Ahhh… This air just smells so amazing.’ She often comments on how beautiful leaves and flowers and trees are, and more often than not has a very special rock or stick in her hand. My hope is that she continues to see the beauty around her {even if it means she continues to hug and kiss grass, trees, and other things while outdoors – not joking}, and I’m going to do the same {the being appreciative part – not the kissing grass part}.  

So even though I’ve taken and shared a gazillion photos of our outdoor adventures already, here are a few more – simply because they’re too good to pass up.  Another day on the farm, but this time with a friend…

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Homemade Fruit On the Bottom Yogurt Cups | Mama Papa Bubba

Since we first introduced it into her diet, Miss G has always eaten plain organic yogurt.  She loves it as is, and its fun to dress up with fun toppings if she’s wanting to add a little flavour to it.  Sometime just before leaving for our second stint in Kuwait, however, we got our hands on a few little cups of flavoured yogurt sweetened with pure fruit juice, and she just loved them.  I had forgotten all about the flavoured Gracen-friendly yogurt until a couple of months ago, when Miss G requested we get some more.  I would have happily obliged, but finding decent yogurt in Kuwait is a challenge, let alone finding decent yogurt that is flavoured, organic, and sugar-free.  Never going to happen.  Luckily, she happily accepted the fact that it would be something we’d find and have in the summer…  Only Mama can’t find the darn fruit-flavoured, naturally sweetened, organic cups now that we’re back in Canada.  Oy.

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What were we to do?  Well, in the words of Miss G, ‘we don’t always have to be buying things – we can just make them instead!’  So that’s just what we did {smart little lady}.  We made our own homemade fruit on the bottom yogurt cups and Grae just loves them!  Not only are they delicious, but they contain local fruit, are sweetened with honey, and pack a nutritional punch in the form of chia seeds.  They’re also packaged in mini mason jars, which means no little plastic cups to add to the recycling bin. Win.

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To get started, Miss G and I made our usual chia fruit jam / compote using some raspberries Grandma Charlotte had picked up locally and frozen.  Making this doesn’t get much easier – it’s simply fruit, a little bit of honey, and a scoop of chia slowly warmed over medium heat.

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With some expert mashing help from Miss G, soon our fruit compote looked like this.  Upon having a little taste, Grae declared it ‘done and delicious’.  The chia seeds had made the mixture nice and thick and honey had made the raspberries plenty sweet.  {Of course the amount of honey you use can always be adjusted depending on taste preferences and how sweet the fruit is on its own.}

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After letting our fruit compote cool for a little bit, we divided the mixture between 5 small jelly-sized jars.

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Then we carefully filled the jars the rest of the way with plain organic yogurt.

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That was it!

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We sealed up the jars by putting the lids on, and popped them in the fridge where they’ll remain good for a week or so.

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Of course Gracen wanted to try one right then and there, so only 4 of the 5 made it into the fridge.  We topped hers with a couple of fresh raspberries, but almonds, homemade granola, nuts, seeds, or nut butter would be delicious toppings too.  The verdict?  Grae loved it!  Here’s our recipe…

 

Homemade Fruit On the Bottom Yogurt Cups

- 2 cups of berries

- 2 tablespoons of good honey

- 1 tablespoon of chia seeds

- plain organic yogurt

- 5 4 oz. jelly jars

Slowly warm the berries, honey, and chia seeds in a pot over medium heat.  Allow the mixture to simmer for about 10 – 12 minutes, stirring regularly and gently mashing the fruit if desired.  Allow the mixture to cool.  

When no longer hot, divide the fruit mixture between the 5 jars and top with plain organic yogurt.  Put the lids on and store in the fridge for up to a week.

 

Enjoy!

 

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Since we’ve been back in BC, Miss G has been having her daily quiet play time with Grandma and Poppop’s dog, Bella.  Grae just adores Bella, and together, they get up to all kinds of of stuff during that hour in her bedroom {most of which is Bella jumping through Miss G’s hoops in exchange for ridiculously tiny chunks of dog treats, I think}.  Today, after quiet play time, we were going about our afternoon when Gracen shouted, ‘Oh!  I forgot!’  She and Bella ran down to her room and returned like this – one of them laughing hysterically.  Hahaha!  I must admit, I found it pretty hysterical too!  Introducing… Batbella!  Because dogs enjoy dress-up too, right? ☺

 

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My girl and I were in town today running some errands when we decided to make a quick trip to one of our Okanagan favourites – Davison Orchards

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Our primary reason for stopping in was to pick up some of their amazing all-natural apple juice, but there was absolutely no way we were getting away without visiting the animals first.

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Of course, applelanches were a must too.

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We weren’t able to stay long this time, but there’s no doubt that we’ll be back very soon!

 

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Today pretty much looked like this… 

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The highlight was undoubtedly when Grandma Charlotte ended up in the kiddie pool fully clothed with a handful of kale. {Can you guess who caused such a thing?? Good thing she’s such a good sport!}

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Mermaid Necklaces | Mama Papa Bubba

Summer vacation is officially in full swing – Brad’s home from Kuwait, we’re back in BC, and life is good.  And now that we’re settled an in one place for a little while, Miss G and I have begun digging into the collection of fabulous activities in the Backyard Summer Camp eBook I co-wrote with a handful of awesome kid bloggers a couple of months back.  Today, we decided on making the jewelled shell necklaces from the ocean-themed section of the book written by Amanda of The Educators’ Spin On It.  Miss G loved the activity because the necklaces were just like the ones mermaids wear, and I loved it because we had all of the materials we needed on hand and it would only take a moment to pull it together {score!} (more…)

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Staying with Brad’s parents in the summer always involves spending a lot of time in their gorgeous backyard, which somehow seems to lead to regular water fights.  For the most part, I try to stay uninvolved, but Miss G and her Papa?  Well they have some pretty good ones and today they kicked off our time in the Okanagan with the first water fight of the season. ☺

 

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