Monday, July 15, 2013

North Channel General: Evocative Objects of the Most Antique and Purest Water #ManitoulinSpotlight

A new store just opened up in Gore Bay, and you will want to head over for a visit! Located by the water and in the newly renovated Harbour Centre by the marina, this is the perfect location for inspiration. At North Channel General, you will find items of the highest quality.  North Channel General has made it their duty to bring only the best products to their customers.

The shop is beautiful and quite "Zen".  With no cluttered displays, they only showcase a few choice items.  You're not bombarded with a million different items, but presented with a handful of carefully selected pieces and they are all so visually stunning!

No kidding!  When you walk in, you immediately get a sense of "Ahhhhhhhhh".  Not only are the folks at North Channel General quite possibly the loveliest people around, but the shop itself makes you feel like all your stress and worries are melted away...even if momentarily.  It really does remind me of the shops I used to frequent when I worked and lived in Japan.  The space is "clean" (as in uncluttered) and visually peaceful.  You definitely get that feeling in this store.

Some of the items North Channel General carries are:

Stylish and classic items like this Saint James piece

Noda Horo's "Tsuki Usagi Jirushi" (Moom and Rabbit series) enamel pot

North Channel General also sells artwork from local artists like Jack Whyte and Ann Beam.

Among my favourites are the wicker bags.  They're perfect for a day at the beach.  The photo does not do the product any justice.  My 4 year old daughter wanted to play the budding photographer and snapped this shot while we were at the beach.  Bag seen in background.

North Channel General is also on Facebook.  Visit the North Channel  General FB page and check out all their fabulous items.

Visit their store

40 Water Street, Studio 2
Gore Bay, ON
P0P 1H0

Hours of operation:
Mon-Thurs: 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
Fri:-Sat: 11:00 am - 7:00pm
Sun: 11:00 am - 5:00 pm


All photos (except the photo of the bag) are courtesy of North Channel General. 
Sunday, July 14, 2013

Fizzy Strawberry Lemonade

She slumped back into her armchair, face glistening from the heat.  Another hot, humid Summer day.  There was no reprieve from the heat.  With no comfort of the air-conditioning she had in her city life, she had to remind herself that A) this was the "frugal farmer" thing to do and B) no A/C was far better for the environment.  Yes, it was her duty as a citizen of the Earth to not use A/C and to find other ways to keep cool in the sweltering heat.

A dip in the lake?  No.  Her back took a beating from the strong rays of the sun at the beach the day before.

A run through the sprinkler?  To be honest, the heat was too intense.  Plus, sprinklers and hoses only invited a certain four year old girl to soak her Mama and the dog.

What could possibly offer some refreshment and momentary comfort in this heat?

Fizzy Strawberry Lemonade!

That was the solution!  With a bumper crop of strawberries, making a cool, refreshing pitcher of strawberry lemonade would quench her family's thirst and keep them cool and refreshed.  With the "special" fizzy water that everyone in the family loved so much, this was absolutely perfect.

Even the four year old was a huge fan of S. Pellegrino Sparkling Natural Mineral Water. This is not a sponsored post, by the way! We actually really love S. Pellegrino and have a few bottles on hand at all times!

2 cups strawberries, washed and tops removed
1 cup lemon juice (you can use Real Lemon, but I prefer freshly squeezed lemon juice - for the lemons I get at our grocery store, 1 cup is equaled to 8-10 lemons)
1 (750 mL) bottle of San Pellegrino Sparkling Natural Mineral Water, chilled
Simple Syrup (1 cup sugar, 1 cup water)

Prepare syrup by boiling sugar and water in a pot. Once sugar is completely dissolved, remove from heat and let cool completely.

Puree the strawberries by adding strawberries and simple syrup into blender and "puree". I like a smooth drink, so I press strawberry puree through a strainer to remove the seeds and solids. Only let the strawberry juice through.  You can put the strawberry pureed "pulp" into ice cube trays to use for other recipes later on.

In a pitcher, add lemon juice, strawberry juice (made from your strawberries and simple syrup), and 1 (750 mL) bottle of San Pellegrino.

Serve in a tall glass with ice.  Garnish if you wish, but you're probably just going to want to drink it and forgo the garnishes because it's so tasty!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sizzlin' Summer Recipes with @CrosbysMolasses!

Summertime is BBQ season, kick back on the patio with a cold beverage season, and I-really-don't-want-to-turn-on-the-oven-let's-have-watermelon-or-salad-for-supper-instead season!

In my quest to try new-to-me recipes, I wanted to incorporate molasses into some of my dishes.  Why? Well, being Asian, I didn't exactly grow up using molasses in my food as a kid, and I am now married to a farmer whose mom uses molasses in her dishes.  There's a certain level of curiosity and also the want for a challenge, and that exciting challenge is cooking with molasses!

Sure, I can make a great gingersnap cookie with molasses, but I want to use it in BBQ recipes and things one wouldn't think to use molasses in!

I came across some Sizzlin' Summer Recipes with Crosby's Molasses!

First up - Iced Chai! I'm a sucker for chai and lovely cool beverages on a hot Summer day! I was perusing Crosby's Molasses' blog, Molasses and More and found out that they have some FREE e-books with tons of molasses recipes! 

This recipe in Crosby's Molasses Iced Chai recipe is divine!

Iced Chai Tea
from Crosby's The BBQ Book
1 cup milk (can substitute nut or soy milk)
1 tea bag chai tea
2 tsp Crosby's Fancy Molasses
1 tsp cinnamon
6-8 ice cubes

(makes generous serving)

Place milk and tea bag in a small pot and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let steep for 5 minutes, pressing down on tea bag with a spoon a few times.  

Remove tea bag from milk, transfer to a blender, add cinnamon. molasses, and ice cubes.  Whirr until it's slushy and a little foamy.  Transfer to a glass and garnish with a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Both my husband and our 4 year old daughter love ribs!  When I saw this recipe for Finger-Licking Oven Ribs in Crosby's The BBQ Book, I just had to make it!

The verdict?  See for yourself?

No dinner would be complete without a tasty side dish!  My family loves a good cabbage salad or coleslaw. The Carrot and Cabbage Slaw with Orange and Molasses Dressing looked interesting! I had to try it out!

Next week, I'm making the Molasses Glazed Grilled Shrimp and a salad with Molasses Herb Vinaigrette!
I'm really excited to have discovered the Molasses and More blog and Crosby's FREE e-books!

All of the recipes I featured on this blog can be found in Crosby's The BBQ Book.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Strawberry-licious! #WordlessWednesday w/ Linky

This Summer, our strawberries have been growing like crazy! 

It's Summertime! These beauties are Strawberry-licious!

This said, I've exhausted all my recipes that call for strawberries. Strawberry jams, pies, cakes, smoothies, ice cream...all done over and over. Have you got any interesting and unique recipes that call for strawberries?

Link up your Wordless Wednesday posts here! We'd love to check them out!

A Turtle's Tale 2: Sammy's Escape From Paradise ~ Dive into a Fun-Filled Adventure! #TurtlesTale2

Imagine yourself in a house full of 3, 4, and 5 year olds (and their moms), sprawled out on the floor with their sleeping bags and pillows!  Popcorn, every single flavour of Goldfish crackers available to mankind, fruit and veggie platters decorated like fish, a coral reef and starfish and  multi-coloured gummy frogs and turtles swimming in a sea of blue Jello?!  What mom would willingly open up her house to a dozen junior kindergarten kids for a fun movie matinee? Me! That's who!

An underwater-themed snack table went hand in hand with the feature presentation: A Turtle's Tale 2: Sammy's Escape From Paradise
When you're a kid (and even when you're an adult), one of the most exciting parts of a party is the food!

A Turtle’s Tale 2, which is being released on DVD this Tuesday July 9 2013, is a cute movie for kids of  all ages. *ahem!* Adults included!  Intended for the 3 – 10 year old crowd and rated G,this movie captures the attention of  more than just the littlest movie watchers !  I have to say that though all the children started off watching the movie with little bowls of popcorn and goldfish crackers in hand, half of the kids ended up in the toy room!  Those who were deep into the movie stayed put for the entire movie. 
I forgot how active 3-5 year olds are and how having them sit through an entire movie can sometimes be a challenge. 
Nonetheless, the kids enjoyed A Turtle's Tale 2 immensely.  It's almost impossible to not fall in love with Ray and Sammy, the two little turtles in the first Turtle's Tale movie!  We see them again in A Turtle's Tale 2, only this time they are the big turtles!

The Plot

Sammy and Ray return to the screen in A Turtle’s Tale 2 and they are  ready to “Dive into a Fun Filled Adventure”!  The  dynamic due struggles to escape The Tank, an underwater aquarium, in an effort to find their two adorable little grand-turtles, Ricky and Ella.   Working together with some new friends, they discover that when you work together anything is possible!
There were many oooohs and ahhhhs, giggles, and gasps throughout the movie.  The kids really responded to Sammy, Ray, Ella, Ricky and all their new friends. They thought Anna, the little pink girl octopus was adorable.  As Little One said, "Ohhhh! Anna is a cutie patootie!" Quite cute hearing a four year old say that!

What the moms thought

 It was a cute movie and a good one for family movie night.  The characters are sweet and there's a distinct message of teamwork. The animation and graphics are very well done.  Two of the moms mentioned that they'd like to get A Turtle's Tale 2 for their  movie collections. 

What the kids thought

I was surprised that even the youngest of our movie watchers was able to pick up on the underlying message of caring for our ocean & the creatures in it.  The 3, 4, and 5 year olds were heard chatting about the environment and keeping animals safe, and how mankind should take care of  the fish and other water creatures.
One thing both the moms and kids agreed upon was that this movie had some suspenseful moments and the younger children thought it was a little bit scary.  My daughter in particular is a bit sensitive to suspense-filled movies and gets nightmares. She didn't have any nightmares and has watched this movie three times since the first time she saw it with her friends on the weekend, but she did say she thought some parts were scary.  
Unlike her friends, Little One was seen hiding behind her hands or under her sleeping bag a few times. She doesn't like "bad guys" or villains.  To be honest, I was going to screen the movie beforehand, but didn't have time.  I figured it couldn't be that scary considering its intended age group/audience.
Our A Turtle's Tale 2 movie matinee was a hit and the kids had lots of fun!  Makes me think I should host movie matinee play dates more often...if I'm brave enough to do so!
Here's the trailer for  A Turtle’s Tale 2:
Both Turtle's Tale movies are adorable and have characters kids will fall in love with.  Definitely a great addition to any family movie night or DVD collection.

Disclosure: I am participating in A Turtle’s Tale 2 – Sammy Escapes From Paradise Blogger Campaign by Mom Central Canada. I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. The opinions on this blog are my own.
Monday, July 08, 2013

mOmma Spill-Proof Cup is the mOmma of all Cups! @LansinohUSA

When Little One was a baby, I noticed that Lansinoh seemed to be one of the brands all my breast-feeding mom friends talked about.  Lansinoh has everything from breast pumps to breast pads, breast milk storage and bottles and drinking sets.

In fact, one of the best gifts a friend ever gave me was a basket she put together filled with baby necessities from Lansinoh.  The Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads came in really handy, as did the Lansinoh HPA Lanolin.

I was excited to see that Lansinoh also has items for feeding babies as they continue through different stages of their development.  When I first saw the mOmma Spill-Proof Cup with dual handles and Straw Cup, I was intrigued by their unique design.

Because of the round ergonomic shape and soft handles that are designed for baby's hands to grip, and the fact that pliable silicone spout is for of baby's developing teeth and gums, this makes for a great cup. With babies that like to toss things or drop things frequently, it really helps that the spout is spill-proof.

Gadget Girl, one of my mom testers was given the opportunity to try out both the mOmma Spill-Proof Cup with dual handles and the Straw Cup.

Gadget Girl's Thoughts

My 10-month-old daughter is still mainly using bottles, but we have started to introduce sippy cups. She will try to get them to her mouth (a feat she can’t do with a bottle unless she is lying down) and has tried a few types so far. I love the shape of the mOmma, however, when you turn the cap to close the cup, the sipper also turns and can become uneven with the handles. 

Perhaps if the sippy cup had the handles on the top but separate from the cap/sipper feature, it would make it easier to make the sipper and handles line up, thereby allowing the baby to get the sipper to its mouth. The handles are very helpful in helping her get the sippy cup close to her mouth. 

Over all a good sippy and has not leaked yet even though my daughter throws it around.

Can’t wait to try the mOmma straw cup when she is ready for a straw. She's still not quite ready, but she is eager to try sipping out of the straw!

Did you know that the mOmma Spill-Proof Cup has been awarded the PTPA Seal of Approval? Parents Tested and Parents Approved.

Editor's Note:  When using the Lansinoh mOmma cups, it is important to note that one needs to push the spout down all the way inside the collar of the cup before closing to avoid unevenness.  Pushing the spout down all the way inside the collar of the cup will help ensure proper use and an optimal drinking experience for child. 

Disclosure - Our Mom Tester received products to facilitate this honest review.

Confessions of a Guilt-Ridden Mom

I have a confession.  I'm a guilt-ridden mom.  I know this insanity has to stop, but I can't help it.  I'm conflicted.  Little One started camp today and I don't know how I feel about it.

I'm excited for her.  In fact, I'm super excited.  She gets to spend a few weeks this Summer hanging out with her cohorts, learning new things, and having fun.

The other part of me feels guilty about not letting her have an easy, restful Summer vacation.  After all, Summer vacation, as we all know is fleeting.  It goes by far too quickly and kids are only little for a short time.  Part of me contemplated letting Little One stay home this Summer and not having structured activities.  She could play outside, play on the trampoline, and we could go to the beach after I finish work.

Yes, I work from a home office, but I put in regular working hours.  The only difference is that I don't leave my house to go to my office.  I know it's a new concept for many and most people who don't work from home cannot comprehend that just because your office is in your home, you can't just take off or do what you want whenever you want.  To be honest, I find it's more of a juggling act to accommodate scheduling and activities. For this reason, it is so difficult for me to work when Little One is home during the day.  Summer camp has been a huge blessing.

The community's Summer Recreation Program is fantastic, and so reasonably priced!  $15 a week! $20 with field trip. You can't beat that!

This week, the kids have Outdoor Expedition Week. They'll be making terrariums, going on a fossil hunt on the beach, making homemade bird feeders, and even going on a field trip to Manitoulin Streams where they will be exploring habitats and creatures in the water.  Manitoulin Streams will be taking the kids on a "Stream Detective" workshop where the children will be netting aquatic bugs, building a bass spawning nest, and more.

Little One is very excited about the upcoming Hands-On Science week.  They'll be doing hands-on experiments, including making their own lava lamps out of an empty plastic bottle!

Despite the fact that I know Little One will have a great time, I only wish I could spend more of the Summer with her. She's only four years old.  When I was four, we didn't do any organized activities during the Summer. For us, Summer meant getting to sleep late, sleep in, hang out with our friends and  play all day. Summer meant freedom.  It was a break from school and just a time to relax and be kids.  I put Little One in Junior Kindergarten at three years of age and now Summer camp activities at four years old.  I'm wondering if I'm doing the right thing.

Do your kids go to camp or Summer activities?  What's your take on this? Should kids just be kids and take it easy for the Summer or do you think they need organized activities?
Sunday, July 07, 2013

Huron Island Time! Ice Cream & a Swim: Providence Bay #Manitoulin #ManitoulinSpotlight

There's nothing that screams "SUMMER'S HERE!" better than an ice cream cone enjoyed on the beach and a swim on a hot Summer day.  Thankfully for Islanders and visitors alike, all of this can be found daily in Providence Bay.

Enjoy a stroll on the boardwalk, or walk along the beach and enjoy the sunset.  Providence Bay is one of our favourite places to play. This is why...

Owners of the Auberge Inn in Providence Bay have added to the Auberge Inn family by including ice cream shop, Huron Island Time.

What Huron Island Time has to offer:

Ice cream of course! Huron Island Time has a good selection of Farquhar’s and Nestle flavours served in regular cones, waffle cones, paper or waffle bowls.
All flavours can be made into a Milkshake or a sundae, to which you may add chocolate or caramel sauce, sprinkles, whipped cream and cherry.
The shop also offers smoothies, both vegan and non-vegan. 
Coffee and Tea are organic and fair trade supplied by Old Rock Roastery in Sudbury. Huron Island Time has a French, dark roast named the Great Zamboni escape, a Vienna, medium roast named Café de l’Auberge and a simple decaf. They also have 5 varieties of teas.
The espresso blend is called Los Lobos and is very appreciated by coffee lovers. You can get Lattes, Cappucinos,  hot chocolate, iced coffee and they can probably prepare what you need on demand. Also on tap is Vanilla, Hazelnut and caramel flavoring to add to your coffee. Huron Island Time also makse a good Chai Latte.
As if ice cream and beverages weren't enough, the shop also serves hot-dogs and sausages made on Manitoulin by Burt’s Farm, who uses sustainable and as natural as possible processes to raise the animals and process them.
You will find a variety of other local products such as an assortment of Garden’s Gate cookies, locally baked muffins, brownies and date squares, Nan’s Kettle Corn and apple chips. Huron Island Time also carries a selection of Aromaki’s body butter, face and body wash and mist.
Huron Island Time (HIT) also offers rentals of Kayaks, bicycles, beach chairs, umbrellas, tubs full of beach toys.
At HIT you will find various beach items to purchase. What's that? You went to the beach without a towel? Have no fear, HIT has items and necessities for beach goers!
Friendly service awaits you!

No Hurries, no worries, Huron Island Time!
Friday, July 05, 2013

A Scentsy-sational Way to Spruce Up Your Home #Giveway

I have a confession.  Much to my husband's dismay, I want our old farm house to look like it's right out of a Better Homes & Gardens magazine.  I'm not really winning this battle, but it's my hope to one day have a home worthy of being in Country Living magazine.  *sigh* One of these days, my dream will come true.

To add to our "rustic meets modern" home (that's the look I'm striving for), I love a house that smells wonderfully when you walk through the front door.  Apples and cinnamon, vanilla, and the like are so welcoming. I love pretty things and things that smell good.  Who doesn't, right?  This said, I'm very particular about the pretty, scented things I have in my house.  I'm extremely sensitive to fragrances and anything too overpowering makes me ill. Very, very ill.

A few years ago, I was at the Manitoulin Trade Fair and came across a Scentsy booth. I have been hooked ever since!

I love the Scentsy Bars for a wickless alternative to traditional scented candles.  Such a great way to refresh your home.  We've got the Rustic Star Plug In Warmer and I'm in love with the Taro Plug In Warmer!

What I love is that the Scentsy wickless concept is simply decorative ceramic warmers that are designed to melt scented wax with the heat of a light bulb and not with a traditional wick and flame.  As someone with allergies and doesn't do well with smoke, I can appreciate this.

To peruse the wide array of Scentsy products, visit or check out Anita's Scentsy Facebook Page

 Because like me, Anita's Scentsy is as excited about all the Scentsy goodness, she wants to share the love with my Life on Manitoulin readers!

Anita's Scentsy has donated a Scentsy Plug In Warmer and the Scentsy Scent of the Month to be given to one lucky fan! This month on the website, the featured scent is Watermelon Mint!

To enter: Simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Open to residents of Canada only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure - This is a sponsored post, however, as always, all thoughts and opinions expressed on this blog are honest and my own.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Pampered Pet Grooming #ManitoulinSpotlight

When I lived in Toronto, my canine baby was a pampered pooch.  He got groomed twice yearly and had the royal treatment.  He really was a spoiled boy.

Fast forward a few years and we're no longer living in the city. We're on an island in the middle of one of the Great Lakes and in Northern Ontario!  How on earth did we get here?!

Chance seems to love rural living though.  He gets to run around our farm and be free as a bird.  He is one very happy puppy!  Okay, he's ten years old, but he looks and acts like a pup!

The only drawback of country living is that this once well-groomed city dog is now always covered in gross things and doesn't smell great at all.  I will not mention what he's covered in, but we live on a cattle farm.  You get the picture, right?

There isn't a day that I don't thank my lucky stars for Patti McKenzie, Pampered Pet Grooming owner and dog groomer.

No word of a lie, Patti is the most amazing person ever.  She is so good with the animals and has that magic touch.  I say this because my dog won't let anyone touch his paws, and Patti is always able to get him to let her do whatever she wants and needs to do to get him groomed!

You see, when Chance was a pup, an elevator incident had his paw stuck and dewclaw bleeding. Since then, nobody has been able to touch his sensitive paw. Nobody except Patti, that is!

A few years ago, he was run over by a bus and almost died.  For three months, he was pretty much in a vegetative state. Crushed organs, a crushed pelvis, and no mobility, had our canine baby out of commission for a long time.  It was a miracle when he all of a sudden decided to get up and start running around again! He looks and acts just like a pup still.

I thought for sure that no groomer would ever be able to touch him without his protests, but Patti seems to have the magic touch.  She always sends Chance back to us looking like a brand new pup.  Coat clipped down for his "Summer look", smelling fresh (the good kind of fresh, and not the "ripe" kind), and clean!  He's always so happy when he comes back from the groomer's and he looks a lot lighter too!
That's one very happy pup!

If you're on Manitoulin Island, I highly recommend Pampered Pet Grooming.  For more info, check out their Facebook page!

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About the Blog Author

City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!
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Life on Manitoulin: Just a bunch of ramblings from a city girl gone country!

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