Food, Fire + Passion

perthnightmarket

My heart is on fire. On fire from listening to reviews from all the smiling faces with full and happy bellies. On fire from hearing dozens of requests for the next Night Market. On fire from the adrenaline of pulling together an event I had been dreaming of since moving back home, all in under 3 weeks, amid diaper changes and play dates.

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Thank you, Perth (and every corner of Lanark County and beyond) for loving food… really good food, all made from scratch, from local, talented makers. Thank you, for your heritage preservation that lent us its beautiful stone walls to light up with Edison bulbs, acoustic chords, chatter and laughter and most of all, fill with incredible aromas. Thank you to the 600+ souls who passed through those gates to experience food made with passion.

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Last night would not have been possible without the amazing women who run Perth Tourism for sponsoring this event and helping with so many details… and for being as excited as we were to make it happen. The encouragement, mentoring, planning, partnership and laughs from Fieldhouse & Heritage Bikes. For all the help and support from my incredible husband, family members, the Stone Cellar, the GWM Hospital Foundation, Jamie Campbell, Dave Balfour, Top Shelf Distillers, Maggie M from the Wedge, Sylvia’s Plant Place and super-dad Paul Joyce. And of course, the Night Market Makers who pulled together some amazing dishes in such short notice and showed us a whole new level of culinary talent. Thank you.

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I can’t forget my business partners and mamas-in-crime; Bonnie Joyce and Sam Atkinson. You girls always know how to jump into every idea we conjure up, fall in love with it, drink a lot of coffee and make it a huge success.

Perth, you have 3 very ambitious and energetic young mama’s here who are continually planning unique ways to bring us all together. We’re doing it all for you Perth, we’re searching out all the talent and creativity we can find to make into an event you won’t forget. We hope you have the chance to experience something new and enjoy what’s to come.

For the joy and gratitude I feel I finish with my Dad’s favourite word which has become my favourite legacy of his.

Wow.

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Love letters, lunches and littles

Sometimes I wish technology was around during my childhood only to capture the little things like the love notes my mom left in my lunch box. Whether in marker on the shell of a hard boiled egg or crayon on a napkin this DIY was inspired by her and I hope your littles love this as much as I did.

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Click below to download the free printable and instructions and subscribe to get these fun DIY’s straight to your inbox. Designed and made by me, by hand, with love.

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Click here to download

sample

 

Day Pastries + Night Drinks

When Perth’s favourite new bakery wooed us with their flawless croissants and vibrant foodie atmosphere we were more than thrilled to hear they would tease us with savoury delights at night. So now on Thursday and Friday evenings you get to enjoy a tapas style menu and playful cocktail list. Of course they also have some unique local wines and craft beers to pair with their mouthwatering ingredients.

I don’t want to give away this menu’s juicy secrets because you need to experience it for yourself. So here’s just a sneak peek of our new favourite date night at Fieldhouse in Perth ON.

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Picnic Whiskey: Lemonade, rosemary and lime.

What the heck are tapas? Its Spanish for a wide variety of appetizers, or snacks, perfect for sharing to make up an entire meal.

Why I love tapas? Tapas is designed to encourage conversation because people are not so focused on eating an entire meal. They can also discuss flavours and ingredients from the dishes they are sharing.

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Bacon wrapped olives in aioli

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Dressed greens with smoked fish and crisps

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Pear, Brie and pesto flatbread

dessert
Affogato: Espresso poured over vanilla ice cream with shaved coconut

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Favourite Finds: MAUI

Maui has been the top vacation and relaxation hotspot in the Pacific since the 1700’s, but if sunbathing and massages aren’t your thing (and you have children in tow) there’s plenty of vibrant culture, amazing food and outdoor adventures to keep you busy.

We’re the traveling type… we’re not so good at vacationing (we’ve tried) so we try to seek out the locals who will let us in on their favourite and affordable finds. Here’s what we found:

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Ono Tacos. Tucked into a small parking lot off the highway we enjoyed some amazing food here. Fresh pacific fish tacos, delicious and affordable. *$6+

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We stayed in the Historic area of Lahaina which dates back to the early 1800’s where it’s now famous ocean kissed Front St. is lined with shops, cafes, boutique hotels and free historical attractions. How can you not love a small town with stories to tell and waves by your side?!

Lahaina

The Banyan Tree is a must. All those trunks you see in the photo below… all the same tree. Once its vines touch the ground they start to root. It’s the largest tree in ALL of America. You gotta see it to believe it. *Free

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Banyan Treats. Located right beside the Banyan Tree, sells ice cream sandwiches on steroids. The thickest, creamiest ice cream I’ve ever had squished between warm home made cookies. Pick your own cookie and ice cream combo. *$6+

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Island Press Coffee was our daily fave for caffeine and fresh morning treats along with an amazing selection of local Kombucha on tap. Great Americano’s and iced coffee too. *$2+

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Another great favourite is Bad Ass Coffee and you can find it served all over. *$2+

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So I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this next off roading adventure and I’m sure the locals wouldn’t like it either (your rental company definitely wouldn’t as we found out afterwards) but this was an incredible adrenaline filled drive along the north shore of Maui on roads wide enough for 1 car but for two way traffic.

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Along most coastal routes are lookouts with small roadside parking lots. Watch for them and stop often, you never know what you might see. Free (unless you drive off a cliff or your car gets hit by a rock… rental insurance does not cover that craziness)

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Along the entire south west shore are public beaches off the highway where you can picnic, swim, surf and tire swing. Free

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One place I really wanted to check out, and that a local reaffirmed as a hot spot, was the Maui Brewing Company. Awesome craft beer selection with over 15 taps of signature and seasonal beers and the best food, like, hands down best food. We had poke taco bowls topped with fresh guac, slaw and aioli. The raw tuna is caught locally and is smooth as butter! [Poke /poʊˈkeɪ/ is a raw yellowfin tuna salad served as an appetizer in Hawaiian cuisine. Poke is the Hawaiian verb for “section” or “to slice or cut”.]

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The Coconut Porter was one of our fave’s and we even managed to get 4 cans home without having them explode in our luggage. And how environmentally awesome is that handle?
$4 draft beers on Wednesday’s if you wear their apparel. Happy hour everyday 3-6pm.

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If you’re travelling with small children then the beaches can be a little intimidating as the waves can over-power even the most advanced swimmer. Keep in mind even pro surfers drown. There are some beaches that are very shallow for a long ways out but other than that I recommend hitting up the pool. Free

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Pack light. You can just rent life jackets and puddle jumpers at water sport rental stores and sometimes your hotel provides them.

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Saved the best for last. Surfing! You can’t tour the Pacific Ocean without trying. We were recommended by a local to try out Outrageous Surf that guarantees to get you standing on that board. It was a blast. $60+

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Thats it! It wasn’t easy going through 1000+ amazing photos of our trip but I hope this gives you some insight for budget friendly and fun things to do in Maui.

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Heat, Hairspray + Champagne

This heat. Even the locals are saying it’s too hot. None the less we are in paradise and taking advantage of every experience we can get our hands on… Or that our kids will let us do. Both Emma and Evan have been in the pool twice a day and are loving it. The strangest part about paradise pools and ocean water is that it’s not refreshing. It’s just a giant bath tub so there really is little relief. 

Tuesday was spent caffeinating at the local coffee shop before covering ourselves in lipstick and hairspray to celebrate another Mr. and Mrs. Brett! Island Press Coffee offers locally grown and roasted coffee, homemade snacks and 6 kombucha taps. Probably some of the best coffee I’ve ever had and the friendliest baristas. *yes, the above signs are some of my handiwork

The rest of our day was spent prepping for the wedding which included my morning yoga routine. Once you get a taste of the fit life there’s no vacationing from it. That has been my goal, push myself until I WANT to workout everyday and enjoy it. 

Emma had been waiting for this day for months. She finally got to wear her “pwetty fower girl dwess” and took her roll very seriously. With her new friends she walked flawlessly and so proudly down the petal covered aisle under the palm trees at an old sugar plantation.

We ate spam sushi, mahi mahi and toasted champagne while dancing the night away with the waves by our side.

Evan was a big hit with the ladies and was well taken care of, giving us a welcomed break to slow dance to our own first dance song.

Seeing our beautiful daughter all dressed up and perform her duties so well was one of the best memories of the day.

Flight, family + salt

So here is the reason I love paper. The most exciting family adventure to date started with this…

It’s funny how salt water can be so therapeutic… It almost dissolves the 24 hours of travel, 12 hours of flight and the fear we had of the unknown while trekking around the globe with a 5 month and 3 year old. A lot of people commented about taking young children on such a big trip that they won’t remember, but I think it’s important for grown-ups to experience the wonder and awe of watching children experience new sights and new emotions. It is absolutely unforgettable and brings out your inner child because you get to relieve your own childhood firsts that might have faded.


Here’s how day one went. Our flight from Ottawa left at 7 am with an 8 hour lay over in Vancouver. Evan slept from take off til landing and Emma slept half way after much excitement just from parking at the airport we had been telling her so much about and of course during take off with requests to go faster and higher. I guess we don’t need to worry about her being afraid of flying. 

Tips for traveling with kids: My famous snack container is always a hit. Be sure to load it with gummies or other chewy treats to keep their ears from popping. Because Evan is under 2 he was a free ticket but had to sit on our laps. This gets exhausting on long flights and your shoulders start screaming even when trading him between us. So I took a Muslin blanket that I always have in my bag and tied it to a $1 metal ring (used to make baby ring slings) from a craft store and clipped it under the tray in front of me and tucked the rest under my seat belt to hold it tight. He fell right asleep. The best DIY baby hammock ever.


Once we reached the west coast we took the Canada Line train from YVR to Granville Island for a day of harbour side walks, west coast coffee, handmade donuts and pacific fish and chips. We took a taxi tugboat to the market island so we can now say we took a plane, train and boat all in one day! The Canada Line train coast $15 per adult for unlimited day use, children 4 and under are free and the taxi boat cost $6 each for a return trip, children are free. Granville Island has always been a favourite stop of ours and we always find new shops and foods to try along with some of the best buskers. 


 


Once we got on our final destination flight Emma fell asleep before take off and I had to wake her after touch down. Even though we landed in the pitch dark she was still excited to know we were finally in Hawaii. After an over-tired and sleepless, jet-lagged night we woke to amazing coffee, blue skies and HEAT. Like serious heat. You think ok, so it will just feel hotter than it currently is at home. No. This is real serious heat and ever so humid. It takes some adjusting so the constant sea breeze is a welcome relief.  


We finally hit the waves and it was like re-living my childhood days at the wave pool… But, the sun shining, the taste of salt and the mountains watching. There is nothing like having salt water wash over you, scary at times because it is so strong, but it really forces you to feel like you’re finally on vacation.

Garden eats in summer heat

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When you host a dinner party on the hottest day of the summer the trick is creating light and refreshing dishes and pairings, along with bringing your outdoor theme decor indoors…

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Each setting had kraft paper tied napkin holder with a small wild flower.

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Clear glass bottles filled with tall grass and purple Dahlia’s, and drinking water filled a vintage wooden crate as the main centrepiece.

App
Appetizer: Garden radishes on top of toasted baguette with a garden basil goat cheese spread drizzled in olive oil.
Pairing: Pink Gin Fizz; gin, lemon juice, sugar, bitters, soda water.

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Main: fresh parm, garden arugula and balsamic rolled in seared lean beef.
Pairing: William Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

dessert
Dessert: Honey mango sorbet covered in sparkling wine, raspberries and cherries from our backyard.
Pairing: Sparkling wine

City, Kids + Coffee

It breaks my heart when I hear people say they don’t like big cities like Toronto, especially because I don’t think they know how much history and affordable family adventures it holds. Here’s a little guide to our favourite things to do in our favourite Canadian City. *Insider tip: Find free wifi at places like Union Station, use your TTCconnect App (see below) or at the Harbourfront Centre.

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Toronto Islands
History: Actually a chain of islands once home to small shops and residents until they were all torn down and made into public trails and beaches in the 50’s.
Things to do: There are no cars allowed so you can spend hours exploring all the bridged islands connected by trails. You can even rent single, tandem and 4 man bikes or bring your own. There are three public beaches all equipped with change rooms and restrooms and the centre of the island, known as Centre Island is home to a small theme park for children of all ages. Check out the 1950’s lighthouse and be sure to find a spot to sit on the north side and watch the planes take-off and land right on the island. If you’re feeling extra adventurous you can rent a boat and explore the waters between each island. Of course there’s playgrounds, picnic tables and water parks too!
Cost: Island: Free! Ferry ride: $7.50 per adult includes return trip. Children $3.65, enfants 2-under free. Insider Tip: There are only a handful of food vendors so pack a picnic. There is a grocery store right on the harbourfront near the ferry terminal where you can load up with lunch and snacks for the day. Don’t forget water, sunscreen and beach towels. Ferry is fully accessible by stroller.

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The Roundhouse
Tucked under the CN Tower is Home to the Steam Whistle Brewery which would have once been the busiest train station in the country. Here you get breath taking views underneath Toronto’s most popular landmark and train rides around the Toronto Railway Museum for kids as well as a park for them to burn off steam (LOL) and once they pass out in their stroller mom and dad can scoot into the brewery to do a quick tasting tour.
Cost: Park: Free! Mini train ride $3.50 14+ and $2.50, 14 and under. Brewery Tour: $10, includes a beer.

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iQ Coffee
For you REAL coffee drinkers out there. Steps from the CN tower on York St. you can enjoy a incredible cup of caffeine.
Cost: Americano $2.50

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Botanical Gardens
If the weather is questionable be sure to visit the historic Allan Garden’s Conservatory. Emma loved the huge ceilings of the glass dome, (she may be little but already appreciates architecture) and looking at all the bright coloured flowers and banana trees, there were also a couple squirrels that caught her attention… and Daddy’s.
Cost: Free! *Fully accessible by stroller.

TO-FarmRiverdale Farm
7 acres of trails, ponds and farm animals right downtown Toronto. Pack a lunch and spend the day or walk a few blocks to the historic Cabbagetown district and hit up a cafe or street market.
Cost: Free! *Grounds are fully accessible by stroller.

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Public Transit
Don’t let it intimidate you! One of the last city’s in the country with historic streetcars and super convenient subway. They have made travel so easy with a new free app that you can buy a day pass right from your phone and plan your route and easily find stops.
Cost: App: Free! Family Day Pass: $12 for 2 adults and 4 children under 19, and you can use it ALL day! *New streetcars and subways are stroller accessible. Strollers can be carried up onto older streetcars.

E turns 3!

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My little girl is 3 today! I’m not going to go on about how fast life flies by, instead I’ll just share the details of the purple DIY birthday party she’d been begging for.emma05
White chocolate and purple sprinkle dipped pretzel rods, red grape and blueberry skewers, purple grape crush licorice sticks.
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Ombre blueberry juice dyed vanilla cake with blueberry juice dyed buttercream icing, blueberry juice dyed mini meringues. Made by my talented sister.
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Blueberry lemonade with frozen blueberries.
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Vegan, organic marshmallows dipped in white chocolate and purple sprinkles.
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Vanilla cupcakes with blueberry juice dyed buttercream icing topped with purple dragees.
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Purple themed toddler loot bags: Purple organza drawstring bag, Purple Play-Doh, purple bear paws, purple princess stickers, candy necklace, purple 
googly eye rings.
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Giant #3 metallic balloon from Revelry Party Co.


Happy Birthday little princess.
xoxox