W3Schools

Netflix Love – #honeymonth

I’m really, REALLY excited to say that I’m on the Netflix Stream Team this year. Netflix has been near and dear to my heart since we first signed up and binge watching became the only way to really enjoy tv. Last year my husband was away and I was home with the kids with nowhere to go after 8pm. Netflix kept me sane that year.

Over the summer we watched a little less but what we did watch was AMAZING! if you haven’t already gorged on it, Stranger Things needs to go on your must watch list. Immediately. I understand that it’s coming back for a second season.

We also watched Happy Valley and I really enjoyed that. While it was sort of strange to see Harry Potter actors outside of Hogwarts, Moaning Murtle and Neville Longbottom played incredibly interesting characters. Also Mr. Mosley from Downton showed us his dark side (and his rear end! Oh, Mr. Mosley, how far you’ve fallen!). This is a dark crime drama with deep characters and I can’t wait to see another season. There are two to binge on and they had better bring it back for a third!

Hmmm. What else. I know there’s more. The kids have had a blast watching the new animated series based on the movie Home. Oh the alien and his shenanigans make them laugh and laugh and they’ve spent a few rainy days watching as much as they could of this cute kids show.

I’m looking forward to talking about what we’re watching with you and I’m kicking off Honey Month a little early to offer you this sweet prize pack from Netflix! It includes 3 months of free Netflix and some fun Beat Bugs Tees and Toys. Enter through the widget below and see what else is going to be up for grabs as Honey Month goes on!

 

Netflix Prize Pack

Free or Foul? Is it one or the other when it comes to Egg Farming?

As a consumer and lover of eggs I felt that I was fairly educated on the different types of eggs available at the grocery store. I typically buy organic eggs and feel the extra price is worth paying for a high quality product – that’s a philosophy I stick to. You get what you pay for, right? I will almost always pay a bit extra if I get something that is better, will last longer, will retain resale value etc. I felt organic eggs are better because the shells are usually harder and more robust. That has to indicate a better quality egg…right?

Last week I went to a commercial egg farm.

Farming is no longer of red barns and crowing roosters, in fact, there wasn’t a rooster in sight at Burnbrae farms where we toured. Instead, here’s what I saw.

Types of Chicken housing in Today’s Farming

Conventional: Conventional (also called battery caged) farmed eggs have 5 or so chickens in a cage, side by side along the barn in rows and stacked several rows high. Chickens have free access to food and water. Manure falls down to a belt that carries it away from the birds-it does not fall onto the birds below. Eggs fall to a different belt and are carried to the grading facility. Not much else to say. These birds looked to be in good condition from what I could see. I was looking into the barn from a viewing window in all instances. Conventional housing will be phased out over the next 20 years.

conventional housed chicken farm

Conventional Chicken Farming

Furnished: Eggs from this type of housing are sold under the “Nestlaid” label by Burnbrae. Other brands may not differentiate between conventional and furnished housing. In these cages, chickens have access to nest boxes for laying eggs in (the yellow area,) as well as perches. There are typically more chickens in these cages than in conventional housing but the cages are also twice as big, about 8-10 birds will live in each.  As with conventional housing, chickens are held in stacked rows in the barn with manure belts to keep them separated from their refuse. These birds also looked to be in good condition from what I could see.

furnished chicken housing

Furnished ‘Nestlaid’ Chicken Farming

Free Run: This type of housing allows the birds to run the space of the barn – there are no cages. Chickens have access to nest boxes and perches as well as access to the floor for dust bathing (or rather, manure bathing!) There were several levels for the birds with ramps for them to walk up and down. Birds in this system need to be trained to use the levels and nests And the farmers need to be more vigilant at protecting them from feather picking. These birds seemed to like scratching around on the floor but from what I could see, some were missing feathers.

free run hen

free run chicken barn

Organic and Free Range: I did not see birds housed in these systems as I believe they did not have these sorts of facilities at the location I was visiting. Free range birds have access to the outdoors weather permitting. Organic eggs come from chickens that are both free range AND are fed an organic diet.

Chicken Facts: 

Chickens operate in a system of dominance where higher order chickens can peck at lower order birds. This means that if there are many birds in a flock there will be many hens vying for the top spots. They can be aggressive and will pluck the feathers out of birds they see as weaker to show them ‘who is boss.’

Chickens in the wild are usually found in flocks of about 5.

Chickens really love to have a nesting box and perch as it makes them feel safe.

Chickens will flock together and leave empty space in the barn. They don’t spread out even if they have the space to. You can see this in the second photo of the free run barn above. They may even pile on top of each other to get close to a farm worker or doorway out of curiosity.

Chickens are tropical birds and should not go outside in poor weather.

Chickens are omnivores and should not be fed a vegetarian diet no matter what A&W tells you. In the wild chickens will eat bugs, worms and even dead animals they come across.

Chickens in Canada are vaccinated but are not given steroids nor hormones. Antibiotics are used as necessary but methods are in place to reduce usage.

Sustainability:

Margaret Hudson, President of Burnbrae spoke a lot about sustainability. She was passionate about the welfare of the chickens but revealed that much about the industry is ruled by marketing in response to consumer wants. For instance, consumers will not buy free run eggs with white shells. Consumers generally believe that brown shell eggs are ‘better’ than white ones and the reality is that it’s just a different breed of hen who lays a brown egg vs a white egg. There is no difference in nutritional value. Still, free run eggs are usually brown because that’s what consumers expect to see.

Margaret shared that when it comes to a sustainability standpoint, conventional and furnished housings are more efficient and have a much lower carbon footprint than free run housing.  Conventional and furnished housings also have lower bird mortality rates because birds are caged in more natural flock sizes. Farmers, however, are trying to please consumers by providing free run, free range and organic eggs, despite the higher costs and larger demands on resources such as land.

Will I change my buying habits?

Yeah, you know, I was firmly in the organic camp prior to visiting Burnbrae. I believed the chickens had a better life and that organic eggs were better for the planet. Now I am not so sure that I was right. Sustainability is about finding the best way to feed our people by balancing out the welfare of the animals with the impact on the planet. By those standards, furnished housing is by far the winner. The birds were in great condition, they had nest boxes and perches to make them happy but were protected from disease and each other. Carbon footprints were lower and conditions for workers were better.

Along with buying eggs at the grocery store, I’ll also be mindful of the marketing that comes by way of restaurants and fast food industries trying to get my business. So many chains are advertising that they now only provide eggs that are cage free. What they are doing is driving the industry in the wrong direction not because they believe in sustainability but because they believe consumers want cage free eggs. Consumers like you and I, who just don’t want to pay for animals to suffer. It turns out that chickens are better off in a cage than in a large herd of thousands of birds. I didn’t know that and I’m sure I’m not alone in my misdirected thinking. I’d like to call on marketers to be more responsible with their communications. The education of consumers falls partially on their shoulders – not every consumer has the ability to visit a farm and see for themselves like I did.

If it were a perfect world and we could raise our egg laying hens in a chicken paradise we would have organic birds in free range flocks of 5 or 6 that would never be stricken with disease. Right now, we can’t have that. We have millions to feed and it seems folly to subscribe to a free run system that’s less efficient, worse for the environment, and results in a higher cost product for the sake of a perceived chicken happiness value that as far as I could see, just isn’t there.

Resources:

Humane Society – Understanding Mortality Rates of Laying Hens in Cage-Free Egg Production Systems (although this is biased, there is still some good information here. Just know that at the end, they basically say that a shorter, better life is more desirable than a longer, not as good life. Like, sure, I’ll choose to live 5 years less if I could just have a chair to sit in. Come on. Still, it’s worth the read)

BCSPCA – The Future of Confinement Housing for Egg-Laying Hens This was a good article that goes into greater detail regarding conventional housing systems and their alternatives.

The Globe and Mail – The cage free egg trend; is it just a shell game? This details more about the marketing aspect of why the industry is moving towards cage free.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency – Avian Bio-security This is information on avian flu and bio-security – a huge risk for organic and free range birds.  Avian flu greatly impacts the sustainability factor.

Chicken Farmers of Canada – On antibiotic use

The Egg Farmers of Canada – The Journey of the Egg

Burnbrae Farms – Animal Care

Kids, Money, and Regrets

sponsored by

When I had my first baby I wanted to set up a savings account for her and we did. We deposited money she was given at birthdays and holidays. I squirreled away every cheque that ever fluttered out of a greeting card. It lasted two years and then I got pregnant with the next and he never did get a bank account as I just started spending the money on clothing or karate lessons – they both had all the toys they ever needed.

Now my daughter is 9 and when we moved out of town I closed down her account. She had $200 in there.

We moved and she really needed a new bed. The old one was a hunk of junk and so we bought a new mattress and put it on the floor temporarily until we could get a new bed for it. I sourced a few used ones on the classifieds sites and Facebook groups for great prices – none of which she liked.

product image v1

I asked her what she wanted and what she wanted was pretty specific. Dark wood – not cherry. No footboard, but not a metal frame.  Okay then. I hunted and hunted because I really wanted her to like this new bed and treat it well and look after her room better. The state of her room has been a huge point of contention and I thought that if she had some pride in it, maybe she would look after it a bit better.

I found it. I found the perfect bed and she loved it but the catch? It was $500. That’s a good amount of money to spend on a kid who has routinely destroyed every piece of furniture in her room with markers, stickers, bashing into it etc. I made her a deal. “You spend the $200 from your bank account and I’ll pay the rest. If you want an expensive bed, you need to pitch in too. Otherwise you’re just going to get a $75 used one.”

She agreed. We bought the bed. I’m happy to say that it seems to be working. She has never before made such an effort at keeping her room in good order.

resp piggy bank

I hope she learned to save her money for things she wants, to invest and treat your property well. That good and important things aren’t cheap. $200 is a lot of money, especially to a 9 year old. Now we need to get on to the education savings because we are WAY behind on that and I am kicking myself that we didn’t do a better job of setting RESPs up when the kids were babies. RESPs (Registered Education Savings Plan) are a lot like RRSPs in that like an RRSP, money you deposit into an RESP grows tax free until it’s withdrawn, and when your child starts using the money for school, only the accumulated interest is taxable as income. If you’re  expecting or have a young child, sign up for the Alberta Baby Bundle at atb.com/babybundle so you don’t have the regrets I do. ATB Financial knows saving for your child’s education isn’t easy, especially if your income is lower in those first few years and ours absolutely was. If you sign up for the Alberta Baby Bundle and open an ATB RESP for your child, ATB will deposit a $150 savings booster into that RESP. (This offer is only eligible for children under 2.) Because of government savings grants, $150 is more like $180!

When my kids were born everything seemed so complicated. RESPs seemed complicated. I was focused on nursing and getting them to sleep and had no brain power left for thinking about things 18 years in the future. I wish there had been a resource to walk me through it all.

Sign up for  the ATB baby bundle and you’ll get access to current discounts and savings. You’ll also receive new savings in your email every 4-6 weeks. You can unsubscribe at any time. Emails also include helpful tips for parents on budgeting, saving and smart spending from ATB and Baby Bundle partners, many of whom are local Alberta  businesses you already love to support.

When you invest in an RESP for your child, that RESP may be eligible for education savings grants. To learn more about RESPs, visit atb.com/resp, call 1-888-330-9713 or stop by any ATB branch. By offering discounts, freebies and a $150 RESP booster, the Alberta Baby Bundle is a great email resource for new Alberta parents that I wish I’d had 9 years ago.

product image v2 (1)

*This post has been generously sponsored by ATB. All opinions remain my own, as always.

I made a giant mistake

Oh, you guys! I made a stupid rookie mistake just now. I know better than this. We are working on painting this house. Every wall needs to be touched by a paint brush. Every wall has been covered in sticky chipboard butterflies, knickknack shelves held up by 100 drywall anchors, dents and scratches and even food. I did the master ensuite (which you may have seen a bit of on Snapchat) and some accent walls in the kids rooms and I’ll do the basement too. But the main areas of the house have high ceilings so we opted to hire painters.

Last night (NIGHT!) my husband and I sat down to confirm our paint colour. I had picked out a grey with a blue ish undertone. Did he like it too? We hemmed and hawed and I flipped through the CIL Colourdeck I had on hand and then we thought…maybe it should be a bit more blue than grey. Just a bit. We found a colour we liked and gave it to the painters in the morning and they bought the paint and started putting it on the walls just like that.

With the very first brush stroke, I knew. I knew but I wanted to see more on the wall before I decided. I wanted to see it in different light. I wanted to see part of the wall in a second coat, even if it was just around the edges where they had cut in. They did most of one wall and by then I had this sick feeling in my stomach. They did a wall in the basement and I loved how it looked down there where there is much less natural light. But in the foyer, where there are some pretty big windows, it was so very wrong.

I called my husband, “you need to come home and look at it.”

He came home and agreed with me right away. It was wrong. It was SO blue. The sort of pastel blue that one might choose for a baby boy’s nursery should that someone want to dive straight into the stereotypical gender identity for a baby boy’s room. We were going to have to suck up the extra expense to change the colour. We had to buy all new paint and also cover the three hours of time the painters have spent already putting the blue up. An expensive lesson and one I will never forget because I’ll kick myself for ages over it. I KNOW BETTER. I know better than to choose a paint colour at night because we second guessed our first instinct.  Than to go by the swatch alone. Than to not paint a test patch. Than to not review said test patch during all the different shades of daylight over the course of day and evening. GAH. I know better and yet, here we are. Sucking up our mistake and paying to correct it. I wish I could show you what it looks like but I couldn’t even capture the immensity of the suckage with my camera. It looks pretty good through the camera actually.

You don’t make this mistake okay? Heed my warning!
paint

1) Always buy a test pot and do a patch.

2) Always look at the colour on your wall at different times of the day.

3) Give yourselves lots of time to see how you feel about the colour.

4) If you are going to use the same colour in different rooms do two test patches because the light will be different in each room.

In the end, I’m glad we put the brakes on and corrected our error. This isn’t the sort of paint job that I could just easily paint over again if I hated it it a few months down the road – the ceilings in the foyer are close to 15 feet high. We have this one chance to get it right and when it’s done, we’re living with it.

The accent colour that we painted a test patch for and have lived with for a week looks amazing,however, so there’s that saving grace. It’s up now on two walls in the kitchen and I’m so smitten. I can’t wait to show it all to you when we’re finished.

WAC Bennett Dam

Over the long weekend we hit the road and headed out to Hudson’s Hope – about an hour and a half away from where we are in Fort St. John. The drive was absolutely beautiful with rolling hills, farm pastures, rivers and streams all passing by our windows. We carried on just past the town to the WAC Bennett Dam – a BC Hydro property – for a tour. I had no idea what to expect as we’d done little research aside from hearing the commercial on the radio promising a tour, a cafe and a gift shop. WAC Bennet Dam

When we arrived we jumped onto a bus and some lovely BC Hydro employees drove us out to the underground portion of the tour. 500 feet from the top of the dam was an entrance into a massive tunnel where we donned hard hats and were escorted through the powerhouse.
Dam_tour

This photo was taken from a viewpoint from the top of the dam. I could see waaaaaaay down to where we had entered the tunnel. This dam is MASSIVE and it was so cool to get to see it right up close.

powerhouse

Inside the powerhouse was a little noisy but it was understood considering how much water was twirling through the turbines creating power for 1/3rd of British Columbia residents. After a wild ride the water (and fish too!) exits through here and goes back on it’s merry way down the river.

exit

Inside the visitor center there were some fun exhibits for the kids to learn more about electricity (not that they’ve turned a single light off since,) and they had so much fun playing around with the hands on activities.

WAC Bennet Dam visitor center

There was even a teeny dam for them to play with!

hands on at BC Hydro dam

It was a really fun day and I’m so glad we went. We saw deer and bald eagles on site and there is potential to see more wildlife like otters, bears, wild sheep and mountain goats too. It was a beautiful setting and that drive….so worth it.

On top of the dam

You can also drive right along the top of the dam! There was a lookout on the other side and I saw a road that leads to a boat launch too. It was worth doing, great views from up there.

WAC Bennet Dam BC Hydro

Should you go? – Yes! For admission and more information on tour times click over the the BC Hydro site.

Things to know:

They had free lockers on site to stash purses and backpacks which weren’t allowed on the tour. Cameras were permitted and you should bring yours as you’ll want to take lots of snaps.

The cafe wasn’t so great. They had three soups, none of which my kids would eat and some soggy tuna or ham sandwiches. If we were to visit again I would pack a lunch to eat outside.

The dam didn’t appear to be very accessible for those with special needs. If you have questions about accessibility please call them and inquire. From what I saw, a person with a wheelchair wouldn’t be able to join the bus tour portion, but maybe they can make arrangements. I don’t know for sure so please do ask. (edited to add: comment below states that arrangements can be made. Yay!)

The road out there was the sort that might make someone a bit car sick if they were prone and we got stuck behind several large trucks. Give yourself lots of time, do not speed or pass unnecessarily and I would avoid the trip in very bad weather.

The gift shop was great! My kids each picked out something related to electricity and are enjoying their purchases.

Allow for a bit of time to visit the town of Hudson’s Hope. We saw a fun little museum there (entry by donation) and it was interesting to drive around and see this little town on the banks of the river. I think I’d like to explore a bit more in the area!

Warm Chicken Salad – for Dipping!

This post is sponsored by Sabra Canada

sabra hummus chicken saladSummer is in full swing and I’m trying to avoid the usual sandwiches and drab lunches that the kids eat all year in school. Making new things often is great so we don’t get bored and so we get balanced nutrition but it’s tough and they aren’t big green salad eaters yet so I am having to get creative. One thing my kids will eat no matter when I put it in front of them is hummus.

sabra baked chicken salad

Chicken salad is one of my favourites but to take it out of the sandwich situation and up the veggie intake I turned it into a baked dip with cheese. It was so simple, but really, really good and dipping into Sabra Roasted Red Pepper hummus and then chicken and then hummus again was very satisfying!

baked chicken salad with hummus

After it came out of the oven all browned and warm I spooned some hummus onto the top. We had more hummus on the side and when the top layer was scooped off the chicken salad I dolloped some more on there for good measure.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 2 sm chicken breasts, cooked and chopped (I use rotisserie deli chicken for this to make it easy)
  • Sabra Red Pepper Hummus
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 pickles
  • 4 slices provolone
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • crackers, celery and carrot sticks for dipping
Instructions
  1. Mix the chicken, celery, carrot, mayo, pickles, and salt and pepper in a bowl then transfer to a baking dish. Top with cheese and bake at 400 for 10 min and then broil to brown the top.
  2. Spoon Sabra hummus over the top and serve with crackers and veggie sticks.

baked sabra hummus chicken salad

My daughter who is going through the worst picky eating stage right now, even worse than when she was three, dove into this with no complaints. She’s not a big chicken salad eater but the hummus tempted her in there. I will absolutely make this again before summer is up – it was a really easy way to get everyone at the table eating something nutritious.

sabra red pepper hummus

 

 

First things First

We are here in our new home in Fort St. John BC and man oh man, moving into a new house is exciting stuff! I love figuring out where things will go and how things will be organized but let me tell you, it can be a bit overwhelming too. There are just SO MANY decisions to be made about everything. Every little thing! When I got overwhelmed and couldn’t even think about the next thing pulled out of a box, I took a time out and tackled something that needed to be done immediately. It could not wait and getting it done made me feel that much more at home. The toilet seat. This was the toilet seat in our master ensuite and I can’t even tell you how this thing made my skin crawl! It was one of those vinyl jobbies that whooshed out air when you sit on it. Good Lawd no. It had to go and right away. toilet before

Not all home improvement projects are beautiful and glamourous – no, some of them just need to be done because they need to be done and this was one of those. I couldn’t live with this seat for one second! Luckily they are pretty easy to change out and inexpensive too. Here is a step by step in case you have a seat you’d like to update too.

Step 1 – Buy a new seat. I needed a standard round seat (not elongated) and I chose one that had a slow close and quick release so it could be easily removed for cleaning.

Step 2 – Remove the old seat. Flipping up the bolt covers revealed a plastic bolt and under the toilet there was a plastic nut holding it in place. Grab that nut to hold it and prevent the whole works from spinning as you unscrew the bolt with a screwdriver. Remove both bolts and the rest of the seat should lift off easily from there.

toilet bolt

toilet seat off

Step 3 – Install new hardware. The new hardware consisted of a plastic plug with the nut in the bottom. This plug held the nut in place making installation easier. Plug one into each bolt hole.

toilet replacement nut

It fits flush (haha pun intended) into the toilet

toilet replacement nut installed

Once the plugs were in, I put the quick release mechanism over the plugs and inserted the new bolts in place, screwing them into the nuts. After this, snap the covers in place hiding the bolts.

toilet during

Step 4 – click the seat into place. This is easy with this style of seat – just slide it towards the mechanism and it will click into place. The red button in the center will allow you to remove it again should you need to.

Step 5 – Be happy that you no longer need to sit on that vinyl monstrosity!

toilet new seat installed

Big Important Tip

If you’re going to tackle this job, and you should if you have an old gross seat, the hardest part is not dropping your tools and bits into the toilet. Ask me how I know *cough cough*. If you aren’t confident in your abilities to keep hold of your items, you can wrap your toilet bowl in plastic wrap so that things cannot fall into the water. You know, unless you personally enjoy washing your screw driver in Lysol like me.

Celebrate Canada with Wayfair!

*this post is sponsored by Wayfair.ca*

moms rug

I was talking with my mom a while ago and she was gushing over this rug she got for her living room. She is newly retired and really watching her pennies as she and my dad are going on a huge trip to Europe this summer. “Where did you get this gorgeous yet still affordable rug?” I asked her and she told me that she’d found it at Wayfair.ca

Ah! I thought to myself, this is the answer to all my concerns about moving to the middle of nowhere of Canada’s north and having very few retail choices for decorating our new home. Ever since our conversation, I’ve been stalking all the lovely items and pinning up a storm of dream decor. When I heard they were wanting to work with bloggers AND offering a $100 gift card giveaway for our readers I jumped at the chance to share the Wayfair love with you!

Wayfair is celebrating Canada Day and giving one lucky Home to Heather reader a $100 gift card! I thought I’d show you some of my picks of the day with you – I love, love this bear beer opener. So charming.

 

Grizzly Bear of the Woods Cast Iron Bottle Opener

Grizzly Bear of the Woods Cast Iron Bottle Opener

Regular Price:CAD $33.99

See More Bar & Wine Tools

I also really love the fun selection of Canadiana themed throw pillows. This one is my absolute favourite but I enjoy the others too.

Canada Map Throw Pillow

Canada Map Throw Pillow

Regular Price:From CAD $46.99

Wayfair also has a fantastic selection of stag heads! This guy all dressed in white (much like the one I own) is only $99.99! I think that’s quite the steal!

Highlands Ranch The Templeton Wall Décor

Highlands Ranch The Templeton Wall Décor

Regular Price:CAD $99.99

See More Wall Accents

 

Wayfair Canada Day promo

Backyard Patio Reveal!

This is the third post in my series on Backyard Entertaining with Lowe’s. If you missed it, you can find post #1 HERE and post #2 HERE. Thanks for reading along!

Backyard entertaining is where it’s at if you ask me. I’m not one for big parties or crazy locations. I just like to hang out close to home and enjoy the warm weather. I like to watch the kids play and have the dog hanging out at my feet. Casual and simple doesn’t mean that things have to be boring though – our backyard entertaining can be beautiful too! If you’ve been reading along with my series then thank you for your patience and now I’m finally ready to reveal the finished entertaining space!

Here’s a reminder of what we had before – nothing but bare grass!

backyard before

As you may have heard earlier I chose this absolutely stunning copper fire pit from Lowe’s. This one is a wood burning piece and so we need to be mindful of fire bans but I couldn’t leave it behind after setting my sights on it.

fire pit

It is an absolutely gorgeous focal point for our temporary backyard patio and the price was great too. I’m going to enjoy this for years to come and may even buy a propane retro fit kit. We will see how our usage needs are, but for me, this was hands down the right choice.

patio

For seating I chose this budget friendly but still gorgeous (and practical!) conversation set. I love the blue upholstery. I love the smaller size scale which will allow us to use it up on the deck in our new house, or out in a pop-up patio on the lawn as shown here. The foot stools can tuck under the chairs when not in use, or be used for extra seating – perfect for kids.

patio furniture

The little table that was included with the set is perfect for a tray of drinks and I chose this round red accent tray to coordinate with the inspiration mason jars and stunning red hexagon throw pillows. I’m filling up these mason jars with Spiked Ginger Iced Tea. So good!

table

Lowe’s also had a really great selection of LED battery operated candles and solar patio lights. They are fantastic (and safe!) lighting accents and will operate on a 5 hour timer. I love them on the tray or showcased in the fun wire candle holder piece. The rug is also one of my favourite pieces. It was a great price, is super durable, and large enough to use for a pop-up patio. The blues and reds are fun and playful and just speak of summer. Aren’t you ready for summer and easy days and casual conversations? I am SO READY!

backyard entertaining ideas

We are currently not under any sort of fire ban so I think tonight is the night to fill up this copper beauty and give her a test run. I’m so excited for all that this summer will bring.

This project was pretty successful considering that we hit every note on our ‘want’ list. We now have great seating, an amazing focal point, a defined space – the rug let us accomplish that, and some easy lighting options. The biggest success is that all of these items will flex into our new living space at the new house. I can’t wait to set that all up for you! Watch my Instagram feed for an update on our set up at the new house. The count down to the move is on!

 

I’m on the #lovelowes team this spring and am receiving product to facilitate this series of posts. As always, my opinions are my own.

 

 

Spiked Ginger Iced Tea

Today I lathered the kids up in sunscreen and turned on the sprinkler. They shrieked and giggled. They ran back and forth and cartwheeled through the cool water as it rained down on their smile adorned faces. Summer is nearly here and we are trudging through the rest of the school year, anticipating all that this upcoming season will bring for us.

spiked ice tea with gingerale

We have a lot to celebrate these days, two kids finishing school, a new home to move to, a new life ahead as a unified family unit. I felt like I needed a special drink to commemorate and when I say special….I mean, easy and delish, and spiked with a bit of vodka 😉

I chose to flavour this iced tea with ginger ale and lemon but lime or orange would be nice too.

spiked lemon ginger iced tea

I used 1 cup of vodka for the pitcher and felt it was a nice amount but you could add more or leave it out altogether if you so wished. When you’re making this, be sure to use a heat proof vessel for brewing your tea – I wasn’t so bright and broke my glass serving jug because I just wasn’t thinking. I knew better and I’m sure you do too but thought I’d put a little reminder here so I don’t make the same mistake again!

Spiked Ginger Iced Tea
Author: 
Recipe type: cocktail
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • 3 Orange Pekoe tea bags (you could also use English Breakfast)
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 2 cups ice plus more for serving
  • 2 lemons, juiced, plus wedges for serving
  • 4 cups ginger ale (I love the dark variety!)
  • 1 cup vodka
  • Honey to taste (optional, I didn't add any to mine but you might wish it to be sweeter)
Instructions
  1. Steep teabags in the boiling water for 3 min (use a heat proof vessel, don't brew in your serving jug)
  2. After your tea is brewed add 2 cups of ice to cool it down
  3. Poor into your serving jug
  4. Add lemon juice, vodka and ginger ale
  5. Serve over ice with lemon to garnish

I found this sweet enough from the ginger ale, but should you desire, sweeten it with a little honey stirred in. Enjoy these cool cocktails kicked back in a lawn chair, or sitting on your deck as the sun warms your face. Please drink responsibly.

Pin-ItSpiked Iced Tea with Gingerale and Lemon - perfect for a hot day!