Ali's Adventures

July 23, 2013

Hilights of the week- July 21st

Filed under: Adventure,Derby,Gratitude,Hilights,Kids,Vacation — by Alison @ 12:13 pm

1. Visited the zoo and learnt all about the baby small clawed river otters. We didn’t go see the birds on a friend’s recommendation.

2. E was a helper at preschool camp, and both kids had a very fun morning.

3. Root beer floats with Jess was a lovely way to spend the afternoon, and she was very gracious after I left her on the front porch for 20 minutes.

4. Had a very full PNW weekend, with Bite of Seattle, the Chihuly Glass Gardens and Mt Rainier. Dan was very accommodating in both the Glass Garden and my less than precise directions around Mt Rainier (they give you the map, after you’ve arrived).

5.  Got some positive feedback and compliments at practice on Saturday.

What was the hilight of your week? Or just something that made you smile?

Much thanks to Ann for the inspiration.


July 16, 2013

My week in a C-Max

Filed under: Adventure,Kids — by Alison @ 6:00 pm
Our car for a week, courtesy of Ford Ottawa.

Our car for a week, courtesy of Ford Ottawa.

In June I had the opportunity to drive a Ford C-Max for an entire week, thanks to Ford Ottawa. It was my first time driving a hybrid vehicle and I picked a great week to do it. In the 7 days, I drove at least 4 times across the entire city. And in the end, we only need to refill 1/2 the tank for a whopping $30. In the next 7 days, in our regular car (Mazda5) it cost nearly twice that for half the distance. We also had a lot of visitors in town for my brother’s wedding, and the C-Max got a lot of attention both in the driveway and when I was chaffeuring people around. Ours was a nice shiny red too!

The C-Max was fully loaded. Not only was it a hybrid, but it was also electric. My first 7 km ran solely on battery charge, which was pretty cool. I didn’t charge the battery, so that was it for the week. There was push button start, automatic trunk opening and closing, a navigation system, satellite radio, rear-view camera, parking assist (I was too nervous to try), heated seats and leather interior.

One of the things I had to get used to was the intelligent dashboard. There was a lot of information presented on the dash, and I was worried it would get distracting, but it was very easy to become comfortable with it. I really liked the information about braking. Every time you brake the car measures your energy return and shows your percent efficiency. At the end of your trip, the car provides the overall braking efficiency. My goal was to get over 95% on each trip, and even the kids got into it. E would ask at every stop “What did you get?” and then congratulate or commiserate with me. Although, we were joking around it did help to have smoother stops.

Not too bad!

Not too bad!

The push button start was also new to me. The C-Max was ridiculously quiet, so quiet that I sometimes wasn’t sure if it was on. Adding a push button start to that caused me to roll down the driveway on my second day thinking the engine had started when it hadn’t. Realizing that there was a symbol on the dash that indicated when the car was on eliminated that issue. It’s good to remember that you still need the actual key fob in the car if the car is running, I tried to walk away with it once and the C-Max honked at me to get back.

The interior of the car was very roomy, we comfortable sat in the front with both car seats in the back. My son liked that he was able to reach the window controls. There was definitely enough space for 3 adults to sit together. The cargo space in the trunk wasn’t overwhelming. It would be fine for everyday use (grocery shopping, hockey practice) but it would probably require significant packing skills for a longer trip.

My favourite feature was the automatic trunk opening and closing. It was so handy when loading the car with groceries and then unloading. I will always try to bring in all the groceries in one trip and not having to juggle everything while trying to close the trunk was very helpful. I showed this feature to anyone who expressed any interest in the car.

I'm not even close to it and it's closing for me.

I’m not even close to it and it’s closing for me.

Other features that were a big hit with us were the built-in reversing camera and SiriusXM Radio. The reversing camera was very clear, and provided guidelines to help identify when you were in danger of hitting something or someone. It also made it easier to reverse into parking spots. The satellite radio was a real thrill for the kids, especially when we found Radio Disney. This would be a huge bonus on long car trips.

The C-Max was great for our family for a week. I probably didn’t take advantage of all the added features, which means we probably wouldn’t buy a top of the line version, but I will look at the Ford line-up when we’re in the market for a new vehicle.


Disclosure: I was loaned the C-Max free of charge for the week by Ford Ottawa, all thoughts and opinions about the car are my own.

May 27, 2013

Hilights of the week- May 26th

Filed under: Adventure,Derby,Gratitude,Hilights,Kids,Vacation — by Alison @ 11:26 pm

1. Last week of H’s preschool meant an emotional circle time closing song and then a fun picnic lunch.

2. Got to watch international roller derby All-Stars. Fascinating to see all the strategy and speed.

3. E’s gymnastics coach came over to tell me the improvements she’s seen this session. I know how hard E’s been trying and it’s nice to see it’s paying off for her.

4. Did the Color Vibe Run with friends on Saturday. While the run was a bit underwhelming, spending the morning with those ladies is always worth it.

5. Overnight at Great Wolf Lodge.

What was the hilight of your week? Or just something that made you smile?

Much thanks to Ann for the inspiration.

February 14, 2013

Zoo field trip

Filed under: Adventure,Kids,Learning — by Alison @ 3:33 pm

H’s preschool class had a field trip to the zoo this week. His preschool is held in the basement of a church and they needed access to the kitchen and parking lot during class time, so it was decided that taking everyone out would be a better plan. We all met at the entrance to the zoo, and the kids were handed identifying badges to wear. Normally, in the class of 22 there are 11 parents present. For the field trip there were 17 preschoolers, 3 babies and 18 adults. Needless to say, we didn’t lose any kids.

The best part of the trip was seeing the baby lion cubs. They’re only 3 months old and have just started exploring their exhibit area.


One was a bit curious about us.

One was a bit curious about us.


Or just baffled by the glass.

Or just baffled by the glass.

All four of the cubs, checked out the window and then wandered away to play. While the cubs were near the window, their mother prowled near by. The zoo staff is keeping visitors about 6 feet away from the glass, to help comfort the mother.

The zoo trip ended with a small circle time, including a story.


 And then a group trip to the carousel.





I’m planning another trip to watch those baby cubs again soon. Or maybe I’ll just watch the videos


January 6, 2013

Hilights of the year- 2012 in review

Filed under: Adventure,Derby,Kids,Move,Plans,Vacation — by Alison @ 8:29 pm

There was a lot going on in 2012. We moved to a new country and dealt with all that entails. We moved away from our families for the first time. E started at a new school. But overall, I have to say the year was pretty great. Here are my top 12 of 2012

1. I started roller derby and found a great group of supportive, funny and entertaining women.

2. We visited Disneyland (twice).

3. H started a preschool that he loves.

4. E is excited about math, and all the rest of school.

5. I learned how to make bread and pie.

6. Wednesday Ugly Coffee play dates are a great way to break up the week.

7. My brother got engaged. I’m glad his fiancée will be a permanent part of our family.

8. Visits from family and friends. It’s nice to host people.

9. So many delicious donuts in Seattle.

10. Making new friends in Seattle. I have quickly connected with people, that I can’t remember what it was like without them in my life.

11. Knowing that I have good friends that haven’t forgotten me, even though I don’t see them often.

12. Seeing how happy the kids are to spend time with all the extended family.

Hopefully 2013 is as exciting.

December 10, 2012

Hilights of the week- December 10th

Filed under: Adventure,Gratitude,Hilights,Kids,Vacation — by Alison @ 5:07 pm

1. Tea with friends and chilling in my house for the afternoon. Hope it happens again soon.

2. Eggnog coffee.

3.  ‘Ugly coffee’ morning play date turned into lunch and afternoon park fun.

4. I got my hair cut for the first time in 16 months, and now have 14 inches to donate and an amazing new style.

5. Playing in snow and then being able to drive home and away from it.

What was the hilight of your week? Or just something that made you smile?

Much thanks to Ann for the inspiration.

December 2, 2012

Hilights of the week- December 2nd

Filed under: Adventure,Derby,Gratitude,Hilights,Kids — by Alison @ 11:52 pm

1. I got my Washington State Drivers License. Wasn’t the best parallel parking attempt, but I did it.

2. Dress shopping with a friend, she needed a bridesmaid dress. Hoping soon it’ll be for her bridal gown.

3.  H keeps singing preschool songs around the house. I especially enjoy the chest thumping that goes along with “Sea otter”.

4. Made our advent activity tree with E. Part of what makes it so fun, is her enthusiasm.

5. Derby scrimmage yesterday. Loved the support for our new skaters, and the general fun times.

What was the hilight of your week? Or just something that made you smile?

Much thanks to Ann for the inspiration.

November 12, 2012

Why I shouldn’t try and be fancy

Filed under: Adventure,Food — by Alison @ 7:08 pm

We went out for dinner last night. The first restaurant had a ridiculously long wait and the second one only had a long wait which turned into a ridiculous long wait. I was tired and hungry by the time we were finally seated. Then the waiter asked for our drink order. I was thinking I’d like lemonade, but that seemed too boring. Instead I thought I’d order half lemonade – half iced tea.

So when the waiter came to me, I said “A Tom Collins please” and thought nothing of it.

The waiter returned with everyone else’s drinks. Then he bent down by me and asked what it was I’d wanted. I was a bit confused as I was pretty sure I’d had it before at the restaurant but maybe the waiter was new. “A Tom Collins, you know half lemonade – half iced tea.” The waiter straightened up, “Oh an Arnold Palmer”

See I should have just stuck with the plain lemonade.


Recipe for a Tom Collins

ce cubes
2 oz. dry gin
2 oz. lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
soda water
slice of lemon
1 cherry
Place ample ice in large glass. Add gin, lemon juice and syrup. Top up with soda water and stir well. Serve with lemon slice, cherry and a straw


Also, the bartender should have known what a Tom Collins was. I may try ordering it other places just to see what happens.


November 9, 2012

My favourite meal of the day

Filed under: Adventure,Food,Kids — by Alison @ 7:24 pm

I love brunch. To me brunch is an excuse to eat desserts for the main meal. I like pancakes, and anything that can be covered in maple syrup. And bacon, bacon is always a good addition. I also find that with kids, brunch is a great meal to have people over. It’s not too late in the day that the kids are tired, and we usually don’t have to work around different bedtimes of our friends.

Here are a two of my favourite brunch treats.

Cinnamon roll pancakes: I don’t bother with the swirls. I serve the cinnamon filling and cream cheese glaze with the pancakes and let people decide how much they’d like. I might try the swirls for a special occasion.

French toast casserole: This is always a hit. We love it made with egg bread, and we don’t caramelize (waste) maple syrup. It’s funny because I’m not a fan of traditional french toast because I find it too eggy but this casserole is delicious.

To balance all this sweetness, we also serve fresh fruit and then bacon. Sometimes, I’ll pick up a quiche. Our favourite was the Farm Boy quiche but the Whole Foods option is acceptable.

I’d love to expand my brunch repertoire, so we can have people over more than twice. Let me know if you have a recipe to share.



November 5, 2012

Cooking outside their comfort zone

Filed under: Adventure,Kids,Learning — by Alison @ 9:40 pm

We signed up for a local produce box this summer, and picked up our last box yesterday. I chose the more expensive pick your own items options, as we aren’t very adventurous when it comes to vegetables. This allowed us to get boxes filled with berries, apples, corn and other things we like. I also had a big stockpile of rhubarb, but my supply is getting low.

A few times, I branched out and got new items. The kale was not a success. I made kale chips after hearing people rave about how they were just like potato chips. They were about as similar to potato chips as chick peas are to chocolate chips. The cranberry beans were also not a hit, and the purple beans turned green after steaming which was a huge disappointment.

This week I forgot to place my order and we got a farmers choice box. A few items are things I would have picked (broccoli, apples and potatoes), but there were also a few things we’d never pick (arugula, swiss chard and cilantro).  My husband is vehemently opposed to cilantro, so I will be passing that along to a friend. I was also planning on getting rid of the chard and arugula. However, after some encouragement on Facebook, I made arugula pesto. I followed this recipe from Martha Stewart (without the sausages). It looked really good, and smelled delicious.

Unfortunately, it was not a hit. E tried one bite, H wouldn’t eat any but to be fair he wouldn’t even eat the plain noodles, and my husband declared it tasted too vegetably. I really liked it. Based on this foray into new vegetables, I will be donating the swiss chard and cooking potatoes and broccoli tomorrow night. Good thing I didn’t try to serve spaghetti squash as well.



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