A Lot Has Happened In Three Weeks, Except Bootcamp.

I missed three weeks of bootcamp.

In the blink of an eye a twisted ankle became 21 days of not moving my ass further than the distance between the fridge and the garden with a few side trips to the barn. I also spent three weeks confused about how I’d twisted my ankle until the oxygen hit my brain — thanks to bootcamp — and I realized that throwing bales of hay while wearing running shoes probably had something to do with it. The ankle is better, even if the rest of me is more wiggly than it was before.

Bootcamp was the same as it always is…exactly what I need when I need it. A mental break, a physical boost, and a lot of sore muscles the next morning. There have been major improvements since last summer: I can skip without peeing or wanting to throw up, squats are my favourite (don’t tell B), I know what a russian twist is and I can do it while holding a kettle bell, I still hate burpees.

During those three weeks our children finished grades four and nine, I (willingly) rolled down a hill in a giant plastic ball called an Ogo, we’ve had perfect beach days, and I’ve spent more time covered in horse hair than not. Also, I’ve written in a few other places.

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There’s my regular gig over at Yummy Mummy Club where I write Around The Table, a food blog about, well, food, and what my family likes to eat. Or rather, how I like to prepare food and then make them eat the results.

What’s also cool about Yummy Mummy Club is the range of opinions and backgrounds the contributors all have and the opportunity to occasionally face off against one another. I did that recently with a post about a Verizon telephone ad that draws a link between girls being told they’re cute and lower numbers of science and math university grads.

And then Life In Pleasantville happened. I’m happy to be a regular contributor over there. I’ll be writing about travel, ticks (yay, me), entertaining, and maybe even debate vodka versus beer. Although why choose, really?

As usual, I’ve also spent way too much time on Instagram because I’m a sucker for a pretty picture, and travel and photos go together like Cheech and Chong, or Virtue and Moir, or cottages and s’mores, or … you get it.

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Nikon Camera Giveaway And Summer Fun

My family has gotten used to me pulling over if I notice interesting shadows across a field or the cutest llama just waiting for his close-up or a crumbling stone wall. I take photos every day. Staples Canada launched a photo campaign in June to celebrate summer and asked me to participate in their #30SummerDays. As a participant I was asked to snap a photo every day and was given a Nikon Coolpix S9600 to make that happen.

It’s a WIFI camera that’s as simple to use as connecting to a smartphone, uploading the photos to the phone, and then posting them to social media channels. Perfect to feed an Instagram addiction. I had fun playing with the features and found no shortage of inspiration.

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Staples Canada not only gave me a camera to play with, but they’ve offered one for me to give away, too. You now have a chance to capture summer’s great memories while they last, but hurry because winter is coming. The camera is basically ready to use out of the box, although you’ll need to have an SD card on hand. Check out all the specifics on the camera’s page.

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NikonCoolpixS9600 Nikon Camera Giveaway And Summer Fun

The giveaway is open to Canadian residents and closes July 19, 2014 at 11:59 PM. The camera retails for $299 Canadian.

 

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A Taste of Burlington: Summer Edition

A Taste of Burlington: Summer Edition

One of the benefits of living in a diversified region like the Greater Toronto Area — GTA for short, because seriously, the alternative is a mouthful — is access to great restaurants. It used to be that if you wanted a good meal prepared by a hot chef, you headed downtown Toronto. Not anymore. As outlying communities grow, and as diners seek out quality, creativity, and fresh ingredients, so too have chefs been able to showcase their skills outside of the city. And thankfully, for those who live in the area it means there’s no shortage of restaurants.

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Playtime on Lake Ontario.

Burlington, Ontario sits on the north shore of Lake Ontario, between Toronto and Hamilton. Close by is the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, with kilometers of trails perfect for winter or summer activities. With access to hiking and cycling trails, an abundance of local farms and vineyards, as well as a vibrant waterfront, Burlington attracts a lot of visitors. And visitors, as well as locals, need to be fed.

A Taste of Burlington showcases the many restaurants in town. From July 20 to August 3, 2014, twenty-six restaurants will feature prix fixe menus for lunch and dinner. It’s a popular program that also encourages restaurants to include local ingredients on their menus.

This past week marked the official kick-off of A Taste of Burlington with an evening of food, live music, and beer — thanks, Cameron’s Brewing Company, I really liked the Rye Bock — and the event was sold out. Lesson learned for next time: don’t eat for 12 hours beforehand and wear stretchy clothes. The standouts were the marrowed carrots and pea purée from Ivy Bar and Kitchen, the pecan crusted salmon with sweet potato hash (forevermore known as heaven) from Stone House Restaurant, and the chocolate brownie with Guinness chocolate sauce from Ye Olde Squire. Ye Olde Squire was already a favourite pub, but chocolate paired with Guinness makes them genius.

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Pulled beef sliders from Honey West.

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Marrowed carrots and pea purée from Ivy Bar and Kitchen.

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Heaven, or Guinness chocolate sauce to top the brownies from Ye Olde Squire.

It’s likely that any one of the other 300+ people in attendance will have a different group of standouts, and that’s what makes A Taste of Burlington such a great event; there are a variety of foods to choose from prepared by chefs from different backgrounds. But get down there quickly, because the prix fixe program ends August 3rd.

 

* For details on participating restaurants and their menus visit A Taste of Burlington.

I was invited to the launch event, but any food I tasted was of my own choosing (and I chose a lot of food) and my threat to leave with the cauldron of Guinness chocolate sauce was not endorsed by anyone.

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