Win A Year of Coupons from Gay Lea Foods #GayLeaFoods

With the colder days I’ve become a bit concerned about my daughters’ breakfast habits. They do eat in the mornings but they have been grabbing a cereal bar as they run out the door and this has me concerned that they’re not getting enough…both in the nutrition department and in my efforts. When I was a girl here in the ‘burbs, my Mum didn’t spend time making us a hot breakfast. For some strange reason my childhood self found this to be unacceptable and off I went, hands on hips to demand my Mum provide us with a hot meal on the table in the mornings….yup I was fiesty.

After I’d finished my wee tirade of comparisons to other families my Mum simply smiled, reached into the cupboard and produced a box of instant porridge. BAM there was our hot cereal, ready as soon as the kettle boiled! Well played Mum.

So, as you can see weekday breakfasts have always been quick in my home but now I feel the pull to do MORE for the girls. No more cereal bars on the go but what can I do? Thankfully I’m an online-savvy woman and know where to turn!

Fast Hot Breakfast

This week I’m making my Not So Blondie Brownies – With Hidden Veggies as a surprise breakfast choice for the girls. I can easily keep them in the fridge, then pop them into the oven to warm them up for a few minutes in the mornings.

Brownie Blondie

As an extra treat I’m using Gay Lea’s Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Spreadable on top. Not only will the girls LOVE the taste but they’ll be getting the benefit of a hot meal with hidden veggies in it!

The perfect blend of Cinnamon, Brown Sugar and Real Gay Lea Butter that spreads right out of the fridge.  Gay Lea Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Spreadables lets you enjoy the delicious taste of cinnamon on French Toast, pancakes, and fresh bread or your favourite savoury dishes like carrots, sweet potatoes and butternut squash.  It is the perfect for baking and adding that cinnamon taste to your buns, cookies and apple pie filling.

WIN Gay Lea’s Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Spreadable for a YEAR

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Gay Lea is giving on lucky  Canadian reader a whole YEAR supply of their brand new Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Spreadable butter!!

The winner will receive 12 coupons for free products, mailed to you within 4-6 weeks. To enter, you must be a resident of Canada (excluding Quebec) over the age of 18

Simply fill in the Rafflecopter form below, winner will have 48 hours to respond. Giveaway ends to enter by October 28.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Cream of Potato Bacon Soup Recipe – Cuz Baby It's Cold Outside

I come from a long line of potato lovers, perhaps this is because my Irish Grandmother insisted that potatoes were served with every meal but if I typed that I’d be guilty of stereotyping right? Cough. It’s been 5 months since my fantastic parents moved into our home and knowing my Mum’s love of potatoes I’ve been amassing copious amounts of potato recipes to try. My most recent favourite is a Cream of Potato Bacon Soup recipe which Mum ad I played with until we hit a winner.

Cream of Potato Bacon Soup Recipe

Potato Bacon soup recipe square WM

Ingredients:

Cream of Potato Bacon soup recipe ingredients

  • 8 good sized potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 pound of bacon, cut into slices
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 red onion, cut into slices
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 cup of sour cream for garnish
  • 1/4 cup green onion for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Begin by cooking the bacon in a dutch oven until it’s at your desired crispness. Once bacon is done, remove it from the pot and drain all but 1/4 cup of the grease. Add the onions and garlic to the bacon grease and saute until the onion turns clear and softens. Add in the cubed potatoes,mix to ensure they’re well coated in the grease. Saute for  4 minutes and add in the bacon. Now you’ll pour in enough chicken stock to just cover the potatoes. Put on the lid and simmer until the potatoes are tender.

cream of potato bacon soup recipe fry

While this is simmering, get out another pan and melt the butter with medium heat. Add in the flour and cook, whisking consistently for 2 minutes. Now add in the cream, continue stirring constantly until it comes to a boil and thickens.

cream of potato bacon soup mixing

Once your cream mixture has thickened, stir it into your potato mixture in the Dutch oven. Next transfer half of the mixture into a blender and puree it.

potato bacon soup recipe in blender

Transfer the puree back into the pot and stir well.

potato bacon soup recipe in pot

Now you simply have to season to taste using the green onion and sour cream. Pour into bowls and enjoy!

cream of potato bacon soup recipe collage

Cream of Potato Bacon Soup Recipe- Cuz Baby It’s Cold Outside
Recipe Type: Soup
Author: Julie Elsdon-Height
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
A delicious Cream of Potato Bacon soup recipe
Ingredients
  • 8 good sized potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 pound of bacon, cut into slices
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 red onion, cut into slices
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 cup of sour cream for garnish
  • 1/4 cup green onion for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cooking the bacon in a dutch oven until it’s at your desired crispness.
  2. Once bacon is done, remove it from the pot and drain all but 1/4 cup of the grease.
  3. Add the onions and garlic to the bacon grease and saute until the onion turns clear and softens.
  4. Add in the cubed potatoes,mix to ensure they’re well coated in the grease.
  5. Sauté for 4 minutes and add in bacon.
  6. Pour in enough chicken stock to just cover the potatoes. Put on the lid and simmer until the potatoes are tender.
  7. While this is simmering, get out another pan and melt the butter with medium heat.
  8. Add in the flour and cook, whisking consistently for 2 minutes.
  9. Now add in the cream, continue stirring constantly until it comes to a boil and thickens.
  10. Once your cream mixture has thickened, stir it into your potato mixture in the Dutch oven.
  11. Next transfer half of the mixture into a blender and puree it.
  12. Transfer the puree back into the pot and stir well.

Remembering The Beach in Photos ~ Wordless Wednesday w/Linky

It’s been far too long since I’ve written a Wordless Wednesday post. I’ve somehow forgotten how much a photo can move me until I sat trying to edit our photos from our recent Florida trip. Today I’m bringing back the Wordless Wednesday….and hope to continue it throughout the year.

I asked the girls to write a word in the sand that means something to them. Chelsea wrote this, I asked why and she said “Cuz it’s all that matters Mama”…..she’s a wise one!

Jesus

Just one of hundreds I snapped on the beach…..

Sydney waves

Please feel free to link up your Worldless Wednesday posts and thank you for your comments!



Our Review of Island Grand by TradeWinds Resorts in St Pete Beach

This month our family had the pleasure of heading to Florida for a much needed holiday. We spent part of our trip at Walt Disney World after which we headed further south to the lovely community of St Pete Beach to enjoy some sun and sand.  St Pete Beach has many different accommodation choices, we chose to stay at the Island Grand by TradeWinds Resorts which happens to be smack dab on one of the most gorgeous beaches I’ve ever seen. In an earlier blog post I’ve written all about why we chose the Island Grand, head over to read it HERE.

Photo: TradewindsResort.com

Photo: TradeWindsResort.com

Today’s article is all about  our experience, we fell utterly in love with St Pete Beach and the Island Grand and I can only hope to be able to reflect why. Grab yourself a cup of coffee, sit back and get comfy because this could take a while. The resort is jammed with activities and amenities worthy of telling you about.

Arrival

Arriving at Island Grand we were excited and probably very chatty as we drove up to the gate house. There a friendly man greeted us, checked our names against a list of incoming guests and guided us to the front entrance. As we pulled up near the front door a staff member immediately appeared, greeted us and began joking with the kids. He called over a porter who loaded our bags onto a cart and we headed to the reception desk. Check in was simple, the staff is courteous and thankfully wrote down any and everything we needed to know. This is a large resort so I was thankful for the reception clerk’s notes on the map in the upcoming days.

Our Room at Island Grand by TradeWinds Resorts

Island Grand has 13 different accommodation choices to suite the needs of it’s guests. From your standard hotel room to pet friendly suites you can almost find a room which would suit anyone’s tastes. We stayed in a Tropical One Bedroom Suite which was perfect for our family, it actually surpassed any expectations we had.

Our suite was recently renovated, as we opened the door we immediately found ourselves in the bedroom which was decorated in warm, inviting tones. Each of the queen beds had mattresses which were of excellent quality and provided the perfect amount of support for my bad back. The beds were made with soft linens, a light coverlet and extra bedding was available in the event we needed it.

There was one dresser in the room, along with a full sized closet and one side table which had space for storage. There was a TV in the room which made separating the girls for down time simple, one in the living room and one in the bedroom = everyone happy.

Tradewinds Island Grand Bedroom

At the far end of the bedroom there is a solid door which lead to a hallway. This door allows the bedroom to remain a quiet zone when other family members were talking or watching TV in the living space, further into the suite. Passing through that door you find yourself in a hallway with the doorway to the bathroom on your left.

The bathroom was also recently renovated and we really liked the warm tones chosen. The counters are granite, the towels fluffy and absorbent, the bath products left to use are of higher quality and the space was spotless. The counter space was something which impressed me, far too often we see hotels skimping and it ends up being a hassle to organize all of the products our family needs available. Not an issue here.

Tradewinds Island Grand Bathroom

Leaving the bathroom you continue down a bright hall a few steps and find yourself in the living space. The far wall is completely windows and right now I’m resisting the urge to share the VIEW with you and stay on program describing the living room and kitchen…sigh just like when we were there the view is drawing me in.

This suite has a kitchen which suited our needs. There are all the amenities from home one would need to serve meals as preferred.  There is a microwave, cooktop, toaster, coffee maker, fridge and all the plates, glasses and utensils one would expect. There is also a mini-bar stocked with beverages and snacks which runs on an automated system. The moment you remove something from the mini-fridge it’s billed to your account, this is important to note…worthy of a family meeting to explain to the children.

We had a rental car so it was simple to load up on groceries, we made sure to keep the fridge stocked with water and other drink/snack choices for our days on the beach or poolside.

Tradewinds Island Grand Kitchen

The living room was large enough for all four of us to chill out in together. The couch pulls out into a double bed which surprisingly the kids didn’t insist upon using…guess those beds were just too comfy to resist. With a wall of windows overlooking the beach, the room was consistently bright and fresh feeling.

Tradewinds Island Grand Living Room 2

Tradewinds Island Grand Living room

Here we go…onto the view!

This suite comes with a balcony, it’s narrow but one hardly notices because there are cute little chairs and the VIEW simply captures you. This was a feature of the room which my husband and I especially enjoyed. At night once the kids were sleeping, we’d sit here and enjoy time alone. It’s time which is precious to us as a married couple and as we celebrated our 11th anniversary on that balcony, it’s time we won’t forget.

Tradewinds resort view

Tradewinds Island Grand View

One morning as I sat quietly enjoying the view, Chelsea came out, leaned on the balcony rail and asked “Does every kid in the United States wake up to this mama?”…sigh, she’s so adorable.

tradewinds island grand view in morning

Activities at Island Grand by Tradewinds Resorts

There are simply too many activities for children at Island Grand for me to list. I’m going to choose a few of our favourites to feature here but please do head to their website to see a full list.

There are 7 heated pools within walking distance at TradeWinds which again are designed to suit the needs of everyone. We spent most of our time in one of the deeper pools which also had a toddler pool, perfect for those families with little ones. Right next to this pool is the children’s activity centre “Konk” which holds daily activities for a fee. You can also enrol your child in different supervised programs in Konk if you’d like some time alone with your spouse.

tradewinds pool

The beach front pool is flanked by a restaurant, the adventure centre (where you get free towels and pool/beach toys are available to purchase) and has quick access to the beach. It’s also a lovely spot to relax in the sun on a windy day when the beach winds were a bit too much.

tradewinds beach side pool

Our kids managed to make fast friends with another family during our stay and these kids were enamoured by the meandering river which winds its way under bridges around the resort. They were chuffed when they found out there are FREE paddle boats which they could take out. I’m not sure the lovely swans in the river were quiet ready for this bunch!

paddleboats tradewinds

Who knew that ping-pong would be such a draw for our eldest daughter? Apparently she has a VERY competitive streak (like her Mum) and insisted on daily ping-pong matches with my husband and anyone else who happened to walk by. This was some old fashioned fun which was hilarious to watch….we may have lost some ping pong balls in the river…

tradewinds island grand ping pong

Each day there is something scheduled for the children, from poolside game invasions to campfires our kids were keeping track and having a BLAST! It was a pleasure to be able to attend the activities without ever having to leave the resort to do something different.

Tradewinds Island Grand fire

Food & Drink

When travelling to a resort for a holiday, we often find ourselves bored with the food and drink choices after a few days. This simply didn’t happen at the Island Grand. Between our own meals which we made in our suite and the restaurant choices available we found a variety of foods which was more than acceptable. We enjoyed the breakfast buffet, a pizza party and even some fine dining!

tradewinds food

How could I possibly be on a trip without a Mocktail? There are some fabulous choices available for non-drinkers…like this beauty!

tradewinds island grand mocktail

The Beach

I could easily write an entire article based solely upon the experiences our family had on the beach, honestly it’s left me with such deep-rooted feelings that I am transported back there by simply looking at the photos. Sigh, its white sand, the breeze, the feeling of the sun on my skin…it’s all coming back to me as I light the fireplace here in the ‘burbs.

With your resort amenity fee you are granted access to many things, including these gorgeous cabanas. You simply sign yours out for the day and you can come and go as you like. From the cabana you can order yourselves food and drink whenever you’d like, simply scan a barcode located on the cabana table and you can use the FREE wifi to place your order which will be brought to you beachside. How awesome is that!

tradewinds island grand cabana

The kids simply aren’t going to lounge on the beach all day, thankfully there are games and of course the massive High Tide Water Slide for them to enjoy! This was a hit with my children and even my husband….and I managed to capture some of it on film…

From sun up to sundown we were drawn to the beach, in the evening when the tide came in we found jellyfish along the beach which lead to some learning opportunities with the girls.

tradewinds jellyfish

There were also dolphins which we were able to see both from the beach and our balcony, talk about a sense of awe watching them emerge and play. Unfortunately I didn’t even think to grab my camera with the zoom lens but I did manage to capture this one from our balcony, you can just see the dolphin diving.

dolphin

Now I’ll share some of the amazing images from among the hundreds I snapped during our beach time…

Island Grand by tradewinds resort beach family

Island Grand by tradewinds beach with kids

island grand by tradewinds resort beach

Final Thoughts

Our trip to Island Grand by TradeWinds Resorts in St Pete Beach far surpassed any expectations we may have had. The staff are friendly, professional and courteous, the grounds are well thought-out and maintained. Each day we discovered something new to enjoy and this goes down as one of our BEST family trips in history!

You can find out more by connecting with TradeWinds Resorts on Facebook, Twitter or by visiting their website.

 

Disclosure: We were provided our accommodations in return for sharing our honest opinion.

The Empty Mask I Hid Behind Was Alcoholism

I didn’t drink because I needed to.

To quell the desire to hide wasn’t gifted me to at birth, rather built over years of fighting to be heard by an imagined foe.

Foes hidden all around me, waiting for me to beat them into submission with my intellect and wit.

Wit that eluded me at the core, as I eluded myself into thinking I was winning a non-existant battle which was so important to me.

More important than the living and breathing entities around me, who were actual not fictional in my dramatic mind.

I didn’t mind the fight because as a girl we were supposed to be strong and outspoken, tipping a few with the boys defined us, with each glass I became increasingly worthy.

Worthy of myself…

I didn’t drink because there was no other choice; the years of watching others around me get lost in the syrupy-brain changer may have laid a foundation but they didn’t force me to tip those drinks to my lips.

mask of alcoholism

Photo: FreeDigitalPhotos.net, “Mask” by graur codrin

My teeth, with their light purple film weren’t like that at birth…it took hours of bonding with fermenting grapes, hours of “hilarity” and  imagined importance.

Importance mattered, like the breath within my body it was a life force without which I was nothing….

Nothing could be taken from me, I reached out my long, hard talons and clutched this hollow life I was creating with the talons that pierced me.

Pierced my soul, overshadowing the light of my God. Overshadowing my birth-right of identity, descending past my own recognition…

Descension into the haze of numbness where I chose to be, that choice which once felt like no choice began as a choice.

The choice to become something that is nothing, to stash myself behind the empty facade of what I’d made.

The facade whose cracks formed over time, the wine flowing through.

Through until inside the facade my heart bled the booze, screaming to get the hell out.

Out into the sunshine, onto the road where I could just be.

Be something…

Something I didn’t know; something that may be nothing but it would be quieter out there away from the self depravation within.

Within the darkness of hiding within oneself there was a point where I turned.

Turned to myself and hated the ashen, crusty exterior which had once looked so glossy.

Looks being deceiving, trickery at its best….Turning me from myself as I was meant to be.

Being brave in that black cave of a moment the decision was made, self-hatred found to be insignificant next to the possibility of living.

Living as God has expected, designed and blessed me with….

With God I raged, I fought , I cried and bucked at the work I had to do…and I lost….

Lost that battle but turned to myself, feeling the cold realization that I was worthy of fighting for, not against.

Fighting to breathe unaided, to smile when I meant it and to weep as I felt.

Feeling as if it were natural for the first time in years, years where abandonment of my soul was a given.

Given a new life, learning and loving, frightened and shaking in my boots I took the first step on shaky feet.

One foot in front of the other, God-supported, family-nurtured I’ve arrived.

Arrived  here staring alcoholism in the face within this 24 hours of sobriety where Sober doesn’t Suck!

 

 

Chicken Soup Kicked Up a Notch & a Giveaway! #ChickenDotCa

At this time of year I feel like I’m cold almost all day. There’s no real reason for it, yes the temperature outside is dropping but to my husband’s dismay I’ve turned on the heat. Wether it’s a psychosomatic thing or not I’m chilly and when I feel like this there’s nothing like soup to make me feel all warm and cosy. Funnily my family get bored of my chicken soup quickly… so I have to kick it up a notch and get going on come different flavours to make them love soup as much as I do.

When looking for healthy, delicious soups I often head over the the Chicken Farmers of Canada recipe page. Here you’ll find dishes that are super simple (a requirement for me) and a variety of flavours which will make even my picky eaters happy.

Broccoli, Potato & Chicken Soup

broccoli, potato & chicken soup

This easy, creamless soup looks big on effort but is not. Potatoes provide the soup with body and Emmental cheese lends its distinctive flavour. This makes a lot, and is perfect for company. It doesn’t require a lot of time to put together, and the delicious combination of broccoli, cheese, and chicken makes this recipe well worth a try!

Chicken Chilli with Pumpkin & Chocolate

chicken chilli with pumpkin and chocolate

Chili loves pumpkin and chocolate! Use these fun ingredients to help revitalize an old favourite. The pumpkin adds fibre and body while the chocolate and cocoa powder blend in creating rich, smooth flavour. Make this quick, warming dish with lean ground chicken to hit the spot on a cold day.

These are just a few of the recipes I’ve Pinned to try. Go check out the site, there are some tasty looking Crockpot recipes as well!

Easiest Ever Southwestern Dinner

southwest chicken dinner

The ideal weekday slow cooker recipe – one that can be put together in minutes with extremely flavorful results that appeal to all ages. This recipe fits the bill on all points. Try it once, chances are you have everything you need right now, and this recipe will become a constant in your repertoire.

Velvet Chicken & Corn Soup

corn and chicken soup

This silky soup comes together very easily, thanks to your slow cooker. Aromatic ginger infuses this Chinese-inspired soup with loads of flavour. A finishing touch of tamari, an aged soy sauce, brings all the flavours together into one comforting chicken soup.

These are just a few of the recipes they have listed which I’m going to try out. Are you like me, please tell me you’re feeling the cold these days and suddenly crave soups like a mad woman? or man?

GIVEAWAY ALERT

The fine folks at Chicken Farmers of Canada have provided me with a lovely prize for you soup lovers! One Canadian reader will win this set of bowls and a thermos (which is amazing, I have one and it’s wicked good).

SONY DSC

To enter simply fill in the Rafflecopter form below, winner will be drawn on November 8th and have 48 hours to respond.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I am participating in the Chicken Farmers of Canada campaign by ShesConnected. I received compensation in exchange for my participation in this campaign. The opinions on this blog are my own.”

Play CAA's Game of Life to WIN #CAAGOL

It’s back! CAA had such great success with last year’s Game of Life that they’ve brought it back and they’ve amped up it up.

game-of-life

 

 

Game of Life 2013

This year they’re still offering a fun game but it’s BETTER!

  • Over 2,700 daily prizes to give away! Valued at over $200 each.
  • Bonus entries! Play games within the Game of Life to earn more entries
  • Mobile gaming! This year you can play on the go, grab your phone or tablet and you can play when not at a desktop.
  • Choose 1 of 3 trips for the Grand Prize; a Polynesian Escape, Florida Family Fun or Danube River Cruise.

 

How to Play the Game of Life

Setting up your profile to play is super-simple!

Register to Play the Game of Life by clicking HERE

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  • Begin by logging in, each player begins with $2000 game dollars.
  • You can use game dollars to purchase a game CAA membership which provides you with opportunities to move through the game with fewer bumps in the road.
  • Spin the wheel to make your move. You may gain or lose dollars, advance or go back on the board, win an instant prize or be entered into the Grand Prize if you happen upon an in-game challenge.
  • When your car arrives at the airport your game becomes an entry in the Grand Prize draw.
Looking to earn bonus entries? Try any or all of the following:
  • Share the contest on Facebook
  • Share all the Facts and Instant Prizes on Facebook
  • Tweet about the contest
  • Invite your friends to play and they register for the contest
  • Sign up to receive email communications and more information on CAA Magazine online and the CAA Member panel
  • Successfully complete a partner game play challenge
  • Share the CAA video

Grand Prizes

  • Polynesian Escape – 11-day trip for two people to French Polynesia (Papeete, Moorea and Bora Bora) valued at $10,000 CAD
  • Florida Family Fun – 8-day trip for four people to Orlando theme parks valued at $9,000 CAD
  • Danube River Cruise – 11-day escape for two people from Prague to Budapest valued at $10,000 CAD

Who wouldn’t want to WIN these amazing prizes? Good Luck friends, I’ll be playing right along with you!

 

CAA South Central Ontario is a not-for-profit auto club which also offers travel dealshome insurancetravel insurance and auto insurance. There are more than 1.9 million CAA members in South Central Ontario and over 5.9 million members in Canada.

The Secret to Easy to Peel Hard Boiled Eggs

Growing up we had eggs on our table constantly, from big English fry ups on the weekends to cold salad plates my Mum almost always included eggs. One would think that I’d be a STAR at boiling and peeling my own hard boiled eggs but I must admit that I’ve failed in this area for most of my life.

Way back when I was a hip 20-something gal I found myself craving an egg salad sandwich. I pulled out my one pot, added in the water and salt and let it boil on high for about 10 minutes. What resulted was not a lovely boiled-egg as I had hoped, I ended up phoning my Father whose laughter could be heard for miles.

31apyad2sCL._SL500_AA300_

As a married woman I was determined to master this and thankfully my husband’s grandma gifted me a little appliance which made it simple. It was shaped like a chicken and clucked when the eggs were done! It was adorable and produced perfectly cooked eggs every time!

For a long time I had the pleasure of serving up these eggs, peeling was simple….until it kicked the bucket and I realized it was time for me to grow up and make my very own boiled eggs. I Googled the steps and was convinced I had the knack, until batch after batch came out with super tight membranes which made them un-peelable.

What the heck is the key to making the perfect easy-to-peel boiled egg?

Exasperated I did what I know best, I asked someone in the know. Turing to my cousin who happens to be a chef (and a Brit who loves to mock me) I bared my soul, knowing that he would laugh at my inability to master a basic kitchen skill. In typical style he did take the Mickey out of me for a bit but then gave me the key….the SECRET!!

The Secret to Easy-to-Peel Hard Boiled Eggs

Easy to peel hard boiled eggs

It’s very simple really, place your eggs into your pot and fill with water until it’s approximately 2 inches above the eggs. Add in 1 tablespoon of vinegar for every 6 eggs, do NOT add salt as this seals up natural cracks and makes the membrane under the shell difficult to peel.

Now place the pot on the stove and turn the burner onto high. Once the water boils you’ll need to start a timer, for white eggs it’s 7 minutes and for brown eggs it’s 9 minutes.

Once they’ve reached the required time remove the pot from the burner, drain the hot water and put the eggs under cold tap water.

easy to peel hard boiled eggs

The membrane pulls off easily

easy to peel hard boiled eggs open

Perfect hard boiled eggs

Peel and enjoy!

hardboiled eggs

 

Big Family or Craving Quiet at Walt Disney World? The Cabins at Fort Wilderness has it all #DisneyHaunt

Travelling with our family of 4 should be a simple thing, a standard room fits a “normal” family of our size easily and it should be a no brainer right? Not so much for our little crew I’m afraid. We just don’t fit into that little box and only realized this by trial and error. We have 2 very different girls who are 7 and 9, we knew this before ever booking a hotel room for the night but we had NO idea how different their sleeping needs are until we were stuck in hotel room at bedtime with one yelling at the other to be QUIET!

You see we have one daughter who chatters herself to sleep while the other seeks utter silence and darkness to drift off to slumber. This has proven to be a HUGE challenge in the past when we’ve had to share accommodations, to the point where we now book rooms which allow them to sleep apart. These little darlings also need downtime, the ability to decompress from the events of the day and to clear their little brains of sights, sounds and just relax.

We recently had the pleasure of being invited to Walt Disney World by Disney Canada to experience #DisneyHaunt. Walt Disney World is one of our favourite vacation spots which I’ve written about in a number of articles which you can find HERE. Cabins at Fort Wilderness at Walt Disney World really hit the mark for our family’s accommodation needs, let me show you in more detail..

Fort Wilderness Cabins

With over 750 acres of forested property, Disney’s Fort Wilderness resort and campground truly makes you feel like you’re escaping the hustle and bustle. Our little cabin set the tone immediately, it was rustic and cozy.

The Cabins

Disney Fort Wilderness Cabin Outside

Chelsea presenting our cabin!

Each cabin is well thought-out, with your own driveway you are assured space for your vehicle which you may want as this resort is quite remote. There is a bus system within the resort but it can take up to 20 mins for a bus to arrive and get you to the point where you transfer to the outer Disney buses to the theme parks. This may not matter to many people, but it’s nice to have the parking available for those who choose to rent a vehicle.

The cabins also have their own decks, we enjoyed this as it was another space for us to rest and enjoy watching the creatures walk through the forest. One evening while sitting on the deck with my husband we had an armadillo walk past our deck which I can honestly say was a first for us.

Disney Fort Wilderness Cabin

The cabin interior

Walking into the cabin you’re greeted with vaulted ceilings, a full kitchen, sleeping accommodations for 6 and a full bathroom. There is daily housekeeping and they even do your dishes! If you don’t feel like shopping you can easily phone over an order for groceries which will be delivered for a small fee.

The Murphy bed in the living room

The Murphy bed in the living room

Our cabin had a Murphy bed which we adored, it allowed us to separate the girls at bedtime and assured each a solid night’s sleep.

cabin at fort wilderness Kitchen

Fully Equipped Kitchen

The well appointed kitchen comes equipped with all of the tools and dish ware we needed. There is even an outdoor BBQ if you are the grilling type.

Fort Wilderness Cabin Bedroom

The Bedroom

The bedroom was lovely, it continued with the rustic flair and had adorable bunk beds, along with one for us adults! The mattresses were comfortable and provided good support for my bad back.

WildLife at Fort Wilderness

Over the entire property we were surrounded by nature and its inhabitants. We saw deer, rabbits, wild turkeys, armadillo, lizards, horses and more. The children especially loved chasing the lizards and even managed to catch a few…thankfully no lizards were harmed in the hunt.

Disney Fort Wilderness Turkey

Wild Turkeys Wandering

Disney Fort Wilderness Lizard Catching

Lizard Catching

Activities

At the Cabins at Fort Wilderness there are a variety of activities for everyone to enjoy. From the white sandy beach to checkers games to horse carriage rides you can find something for everyone.  There is the Meadow Swimmin’ Pool which features a corkscrew waterslide, whirlpool spa and kiddie pool or a fort-themed water play area with tot-friendly slides. Just down our cabin’s road there was a “quiet” pool which we enjoyed.

Disney Fort Wilderness Chess

Enjoying an intense checkers match

The resort has free wifi which you all know I used and loved. There is also TV in the cabin which the girls enjoyed later in the evenings.

If you’re a family who craves quiet time like ours or happen to have more than a few children, you really should check into staying at The Cabins at Fort Wilderness. It is a great option to regroup and rest after spending hectic days at the them parks. We highly recommend it and hope to return soon!

Disclosure: We were given our stay free of charge while attending #DisneyHaunt. All opinions are my own.

Luxury & Character, The King Edward Hotel Toronto by OMNI has it all #Link2013

If you’re looking for a hotel which has both luxury and character, The King Edward Hotel Toronto simply must make your short list. They’ve been honing their skills for over 100 years and have mastered the ability to make a guest feel at home. I had the opportunity to stay in this Toronto landmark for the SheBlogs Link2013 conference and was impressed from the moment my foot hit the front steps. From the friendly greeting of the doorman to the minute details, The King Eddy thought of it all.

Photo: www.omnihotels.com

When I attend these Blogger conferences or am present as a Speaker,  I am always on the lookout for certain amenities during my stay. Because I do live with chronic pain some of my needs may be different than other people’s but I think that everyone would appreciate them. The King Eddy just hit all of the marks for me, making my stay a delight and ensuring that my Speaking gig wasn’t affected by my physical issues.

Location

Getting to the King Edward Hotel was simple for me. I don’t drive on major highways, nor in downtown Toronto so I was breathing a sigh of relief when I saw how close it is to Union Station. I hopped on a train in the suburbs and simply walked a few blocks to the hotel from Union Station.

Room Comfort

There are 301 luxury guest rooms, many of which have been upgraded. I happened to stay in one which hadn’t and was still more than satisfied. The mattresses were comfortable and gave my back the extra support I need to get a good night’s rest. The conversation chairs provided space for my roommate and I to catch up on all things conference-related, I had ample room to work on my presentation and the bathroom was simply lovely.

King Edward Hotel rooms

Amenities

When at a conference I’m interested in the amenities which make my stay easier: free wifi, room size, comfortable seating, quiet areas to rest and access to food and drink make my list. Free WiFi, morning beverage and newspaper delivery were included because I registered Omni Select Guest member. The conference rooms and seating were appropriate and I could easily find quiet corners to recharge during breaks or moments when I needed a breather.

Character

From the gorgeous crown mouldings to the closed off 17th floor this hotel’s character cannot be missed. We were granted a tour of the hotel which had us all in awe as we stepped foot onto the 17th floor which houses the Crystal Ballroom. This entire floor was closed down in the late 1950s as a result of new fire codes and has sat empty for more than 30 years. There was a sense in the air around me of the history which had taken place here, I don’t quite know how to explain it but I felt in awe. The guide spoke of the dignitaries and events which this room had hosted as we strolled through and I was mesmerized.

King Eddy 17th floor

There are stories of hauntings within the 17th floor, I don’t know if they’re true but I did offer to spend a night there to find out! Unfortunately due to regulations this isn’t happening but oh how I’d love to.

King Edward Hotel 17th floor

The views of the city and Lake Ontario were breath taking, the Crystal Ballroom is scheduled to be restored and could be in use as soon as 2015 so watch for it to become the venue of choice. I’ll be first on that list!

I only wish I could have stayed longer, there is so much at The King Edward Hotel to explore, alas I had to move on and can only hope to stay in future.

If you’d like to find out more about The King Edward Hotel you can read all about it on the Omni Hotels website, on their Facebook Page or connect with them on Twitter.