Exploring Haunted Houses at Saunders Farm!

Exploring Haunted Houses at Saunders Farm!

Hello friends,

Todays post will be about what I did this past weekend! It was full of fun Halloween festivities – the best kind of festivities at this time of year!

Friday morning I bought tickets for my boyfriend and I to go to Saunders Farm the following night. He had gone there years ago when he was younger and has been talking about it since we moved to Ottawa – so I knew we had to go! To be honest, I wanted to see what all the hype was about. I have only ever been to something like this once when I was in grade 7 with my best friend at the time. It was in Fort McMurray, so it was a lot smaller then Saunders Farm!

Since we arrived at the farm I could see there were so many things to do! Even though I bought night tickets, I made my boyfriend come early because I wanted to do the mazes haha like a little kid. I have no shame – they were the best part in my opinion! They had lots of mazes to pick from too. They ranged from ones for little kids to a very intense, hard, and long one! We ended up having to sneak through a hole to get out because the mazes were closing and we couldn’t find our way out! haha

They also had playgrounds for kids and a massive bouncy thing in the ground for them to jump on – it looked like lots of fun!

The sunset was also beautiful on Saturday night. The colours became more vibrant and intense as it set.

We left the mazes and headed to the scary stuff! The lines were huge so we only had the chance to do 2 things before I was completely frozen because it was around 0 degrees Celcius and we were outside for 3 hours! The first one we went through was called The Coven Witch Trail – it was almost dark by the time we got in and to be honest it was scary. It would have been even better if we had waited until it was fully dark out, but like I said the lines only kept getting longer! The second we went through was called The Barn of Terror. The first one we went through ended right by the entrance to this one so we decided to wait. The line did not look long at first….

As we walked past the hedges and get into the real line we see how long it is. After about 10 minutes of waiting we hit a sign that says 30 minute wait from here. I thought … okay I can do 30 minutes. It ended up being a 1.5 hour wait! Barley moving and freezing because we weren’t moving around. This is what killed my mood – if they know its going to be that long of a wait at least don’t lie on the sign! Anyways, I found The Barn of Terror a bit disappointing in the scare factor, but the makeup and decorations were amazing!

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Once we finished up at the barn, I was frozen! We ended up grabbing some hot chocolate, to warm up my hands, and a few homemade treats to go! As soon as we got in the car, which we forgot where we parked it so finding it was an adventure in itself, we cranked the heat and headed home!

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The next day, Sunday, was pumpkin carving day! I talked my boyfriend into buying a pumpkin when we went grocery shopping – I coaxed him by saying I would cook up the pumpkin seeds! It took us a while to pick out what we wanted to carve into it. Eventually we decided to google pumpkin carving ideas and we came upon a Harry Potter one. We felt like we were in one of the Harry Potter movies while going through those mazes made of hedges, so we thought it was a good fit! And now because I am an artist (LOL) I drew it out. I got to carve the scar and mouth while the boy claimed the eyes.

The pumpkin seeds I roasted were cinnamon brown sugar flavour. To create this master piece you have too:

  1. Pick out seeds & clean them.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Melt 1 tbsp butter in a bowl. Then mix in 1.5 tbsp brown sugar and 1 tsp of cinnamon.
  4. Toss the seeds in the mixture and then spread them out on a lined baking sheet.
  5. Place sheet in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Taking out to flip (or stir around) half way.
  6. Let cool on baking sheet – then eat!

The recipe is so simple and they turned out delicious! Its perfect for a first timer like me!

All in all, we had a great festive weekend. Ending with the best sweet treat ever for this time of year!

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Sorry for the quality of the pictures by the way, they were taken on the iphone!

Have you done anything Halloween related yet this year? Have you been to a haunted house or carved pumpkins?! Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

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Until next time,

xoxo

Picture of the Week #3

Picture of the Week #3

Hello friends,

If you didn’t know I had a facebook page where I share pictures and links to my blog anytime I a new post goes up! You can click the link to like and follow the page if you want! 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/phoenixraayphotography/ 

You can also follow this blog by going to the home page and clicking the 3 dots in the top corner and hitting follow!


Here is my picture of the week!

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If you have been following me for a bit now you know I recently moved to Ottawa! This was one of the views I have seen parliament from when I got lost trying to find a walking trail. Have you ever seen the parliament buildings in Ottawa, ON?

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Until next time,

xoxo

The Importance of Bees

The Importance of Bees

Hello friends,

Todays post was inspired by pictures I took at the mer Bleue Bog (click here to see the post). This blog is a place where I mostly share pictures and stories to go along with it, but sometimes I have to throw a few thoughts and more educational posts out there.

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“Hanging on by a thread”

Bees are amazing. We need them to survive. Have you ever thought about that? Without bees we would be non-existent. Yet, still people think that with all of our fancy technology we are untouchable – wrong.

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Bees are the #1 most important pollinator we have on this planet. Honey bees to be exact. One third of your daily food consumed (if you eat fresh produce … which I hope you do) is pollinated! Now I am not trying to say that only bees do this work because there are others like birds, bats, butterflies, etc. but they are #1.

“The gold metal goes to the bees!”

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Honey bees don’t only play a roll in pollinating our food, but also the food for cattle, as well as items such as cotton! They have an amazing work ethic and we could actually learn a lesson or two from them!

They give us amazing natural beauty and feed us, however we are still damaging their environment day in and day out. Not even thinking twice that if we cause too much damage, we can say good bye to them – our main source of pollination.

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Over the past 50 years, the bee population has been declining because we are ruining their ecosystem, which is their only way to eat. Surprise – they don’t do this pollination work just for us. However, the human population keeps growing and consuming more therefore we have more crops that need pollination. Funny how that works eh?

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Another thing to consider is that there are so many pesticides used now, all of these bees are carrying contaminated pollen. These poor bees are intaking pesticides with their food, which is very sad and hopefully pulls at your heart strings a bit. But oh wait? What does that mean for us? If the pollen they are carrying is contaminated with pesticides guess what the food you’re eating is contaminated with? I will let you figure it out.

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For decades and decades now we have known that all these harsh chemicals we have introduced and use in our daily life is harming the environment, yet most people do not think twice about it. Now we 100% know that these chemicals are in our food as well and most people still don’t blink an eye. Insecticides used on crops that these bees go to for food pollute their little bodies and cause premature death. Do you want to eat high doses of neurotoxins? Probably not and neither do the bees.

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So, what can you as an individual do to help?

  • Plant bee friendly flowers and keep them clean! This is an easy and safe way for our bee friends to get the food they need without the chemicals. If you volunteer at a local community garden bed, see if they will let you plant some of these flowers and not spray them with pesticides.

It may seem like something small, because it is, but if everyone would plant some of these in their yard or in a pot on your porch it will make a difference. Keeping them free of pesticides is a huge factor as well. If you are feeling a bit frisky too, try to not use any chemicals on your yards at all! Let me know how it goes!

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I know this was a pretty long winded rant about how important bees are and kind of hinting at the stupidity of humans, but if you enjoyed it please give it a like and a share. We need to raise awareness about issues such as our cute bee friends. Leave me a comment too letting me know if you plant flowers already or if you think you will give it a try when summer rolls around again! Thanks for listening 🙂

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References:

https://www.sustainweb.org/foodfacts/bees_are_important/

https://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/why-bees-are-important-to-our-planet/

http://www.edhsgreensea.net/Biology/CCD/CCD_Article.docx

Until next time,

xoxo

Our First Fall Activity! | Apple Picking

Our First Fall Activity! | Apple Picking

Hello friends,

Todays post will be about my boyfriend and I’s first fall activity that he actually brought to my attention… I know eh, what boy brings up fall activities! In all fairness to him, it was a client at his work who told him about it so I won’t go too hard on him!

First Fall Activity of 2018: Apple Picking!

 

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The place we ended up going to was called Log Cabin Orchard. It was only about a 25 minute drive from our apartment at the South end of Ottawa, ON. As we were getting closer to the location, we noticed all these cars lined up along the side of the road. I thought wow this must be a pretty good spot to get some apples!

The first thing you do when you arrive is figure out which driveway to go into! Hint: its the one by the big sign. Then you wander down it and if you are anything like me you stop and take a million pictures of their cute little cabin! (star of my picture of the week last week – click here to see!) Once we made it down, we wandered into the cabin from the back door. That is where you pick out what size of bag you want to fill up with apples and pay for it before you go out picking! They also had a food/drink area outside the cabin where they were selling fresh apple cider and churros!

As you make your way into the orchard area, they also have a little petting zoo for the kids. Even though it was mostly for the kids we checked it out too … always a kid at heart!

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The older man who owns this orchard tells you that you can walk in and follow the orange cones to the trees that are ready to be picked or you can take the tractor ride in! We chose to walk for a bit of exercise on our relaxing/lazier day, but that tractor ride sure looked like fun! Well at least all the kids looked like they were having a good time 😀

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The orchard was absolutely beautiful. Everywhere you looked the trees were lush with all types of apples. It was a very hot and humid day, however when the clouds covered for a bit it was a nice break from the direct sunlight!

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So, I have never been apple picking before but it sure was fun! This is the view you get when you arrive at the trees you’re allowed to pick from. Its amazing how straight the lines of trees are! The first apples we picked were Macintosh. We filled up half our bag with these ones. They were hanging low enough on the trees that you could still reach them – although the ones up higher were bigger!

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Next, we scampered across to the other size where the Lobos were. Now the lower apples were picked over here so they had ladders set up so we could reach the higher ones! And yes, the ladders were the old school wooden ones – very cool.

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It was a bit sketchy climbing up those ladders though because they weren’t the most stable! The apples were calling my name though so we went up anyways – sorry parents! haha we got our apples in one piece I promise!

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Photo credits go to the boy – he took over the camera whilst I was picking!

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We ended up with our bag full right to the top and had a lot of fun doing it! Now we had to walk back to the car with this heavy bag of apples in the +30C heat – safe to say I has a sweat stash going on and the boy was kind enough to point it out.

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In conclusion, I would highly recommend going out and picking some apples this fall! It is a very fun activity to do with yourself, a friend or even the whole family! I know I will be going out picking apples every fall from now on!

Also, the best part about it is that you get to take home and eat these delicious apples! We still have a few left but I have been having one or two everyday!

Have you ever been apple picking before? If you haven’t, would you go try it now? Let me know in the comments below!

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Until next time,

xoxo

Picture of the Week! #1

Picture of the Week! #1

Hello friends,

Today will be the first, of many, pictures of the week! It is a new idea I wanted to test out and see how it does. I will be posting a new picture every Friday in which I took the previous week. It will probably be my favourite picture from that week, or one that I think maybe tells a story or something!

I would like you all to comment on it what you think I was thinking about when I was in action capturing the picture! These thoughts can be serious or something comical – I love comical thoughts (most of mine are haha) Also, if you can share pictures in the comments feel free to do so of your picture of the week! Or even share a link to your personal blog where we can see your picture of the week!

So here it is, my first picture of the week – enjoy!

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Location: Mer Bleue Bog Boardwalk Ottawa Taken: September 2018 Camera Body: Nikon D7000 Lens: Tamaron 18-400mm

P.S. It is way harder than you think picking just one!

Let me know if you like this idea 🙂

Until next time,

xoxo

Strawberry Picking | Ottawa 2018

Strawberry Picking | Ottawa 2018

Hello friends,

This past Saturday my boyfriend and I did one of the best things you can do in the summer, especially if you live in Ontario – pick fresh strawberries.

Now I don’t know how many of you have ever done this before, but it is fantastic. If you have never tried a fresh, farm picked strawberry what are you doing with yourself?!

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Shouldice (click here to get to their website) was the farm we went too. I believe they have three locations in Ottawa, Ontario. Their strawberries were delicious, so I would recommend trying there farm, although I haven’t tried any of the other farms yet to compare!

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When we turned in there was this little Canadian sign saying drive through to the strawberries! So we did exactly that. As we rolled up I was getting very excited haha I felt like a little kid at my grandparents camp again.

Honestly, I don’t know why more adults don’t do this! It is great and youthful!

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At the end of it my boyfriend actually told me he was happy I made him go and we both thought it was a cute little date idea! So ladies and gents, there you go, dating advice from me: bring your lady or man to a hot field on a +35 degree day and make them bend over, drip sweat and pick berries without squishing them! If you want to make them work even more, tell them you’re picking clean – no stems!

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We ended up just getting a small basket because we assumed it took a long time to fill and lets be honest, my boyfriend is quite pasty for the hot sun! However, it took no time at all to fill. These little plants were loaded I tell you.

Some may say, well why would you pay that much for strawberries when you have to pick them yourself? The answer is simple; because they are incredibly delicious, easy to pick, and actually a very good price for the massive amount that you get!

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At the beginning of each row there were orange flags. The two girls who you pay told us to pick a row and move the flag with you as you go. This way they know what rows have been picked and how far down you went! I thought this was a very clever idea since I actually never thought about how they kept track of that before!

So if you had any questions, no its not a free for all, trample the berries and pick sporadically! Its very well maintained and kept track of.

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Quite a few people were out while we were, but we chose a row farther down to enjoy our time out there rather then rubbing butts with our neighbour while bending to grab a berry!

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I don’t even think these pictures do them justice. They were so good!

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Once our basket was full we headed out of the field and to the car. We overheard the girls saying they will be open for a few more weeks, so if you are in the mood to go I would go soon! Once the berries are gone, picking season if over!

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Its safe to say that we ate these for dessert on Saturday night. Almost the whole container too! They are so sweet – like natures candy.

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Have you ever been strawberry picking? If you haven’t I highly recommend you go! It is a great activity for all ages and it is an awesome way to support local farmers!

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Until next time,

xoxo

Making Changes

Making Changes

Hello friends,

If you’ve been following me for a while, or even looked back at some of my more personal posts, you would know I am passionate about protecting the environment. This is why I love taking an absurd amount of pictures of all the wildlife and beautiful landscapes I see. I do this not only to be able to look back on and remember the amazing trips and memories that came with these pictures, but to be able to spread knowledge about how amazing the natural environment is. The human race, let alone every other living organism on this planet, desperately needs the environment to be healthy.

I truly believe the “average Joe” can make a difference in the end. If everyone became more conscious of the waste they produce and how they dispose of it – the environment could become a lot healthier just from that alone.

Have you ever just stopped to think how much waste you produced today? How many things you threw in the garbage – maybe some of those “garbage” items could have been recycled as well. Do you ever consider not putting those 2 avocados into a plastic bag that will ultimately end up in our worlds oceans – and instead just placing them in your cart?

If you have never thought about your individual impact on our environment, hopefully this little blog will help you do so. Since before I hit double digits, I made my parents start recycling – way before it was even cool to think about the environment. I don’t know what clicked in little adolescent me, but it was for the better. Now my parents literally recycle everything they can and I could not be more proud.

I encourage everyone to reduce, reuse and recycle the most they can. Donate old clothing, furniture, etc. to local charities instead of throwing out perfectly good items into the landfills – someone else will get use out of them and be thankful for your donation.

I have spontaneously been hit by my inner tree hugger and frog whisperer self when I heard it was World Oceans Day late last week. I thought it was important to spread the awareness about the disgusting amount of plastic that is found in the oceans these days. It just swirls around in the water suffocating the beautiful lives attempting to thrive.

Some of the most common types of garbage found in the oceans are:

  • Plastic bottles and bags
  • Plastic straws and utensils
  • Cigarettes
  • Beverage cans and disposable cups

These items are very dangerous to the species that live in our oceans. Next time you consider using one of these, think again.

If you would like more information about #WorldOceansDay then click here.

Spread the word guys, lets all try to be more conscious about are negative impacts on the environment. I will be sharing more posts in the future about how I change my daily habits to lessen my footprint on our beautiful world.

#seathechange

Until next time,

xoxo

17 Things 2017 Taught Me

17 Things 2017 Taught Me

Hello friends,

In today’s post I will be sharing a few things that I have learnt in 2017. This year was an interesting one to say the least. Some things did not go as planned, both a mix of better than expected and worse, but none the less it’s all life lessons.

  1. There are many stepping stones in life. Your first job won’t be your last, so just be grateful that you are employed.
  2. Everything takes time. You can’t rush anything in life. I can’t rush into an amazing environmental career just like I can’t make this blog blow up in a day. You need to work hard towards what you want and in time you will get there.
  3. Saying no is harder then saying yes. We have all been in situations where you don’t want to say yes, but saying no feels impossible. Well its not, so next time you want to say no try it out.
  4. Its okay to do things that scare you. Breaking out of your comfort zone is scary but amazing. It will do wonders for you. If I never broke out of mine, I would not have this blog today or be able to share it on facebook for my family to see.
  5. When in doubt listen to your little voice inside you, it probably knows what its talking about. Unless you have anxiety like me, then sometimes you have to ignore it and go grab experiences by the …. well you know 🙂
  6. Less friends = more.  I have never had a large friend group and I don’t need one. I love having a few close friends who are truly there for me.
  7. Don’t be afraid to do things by yourself.  This year I have really started to do this and it was challenging at first (and still is sometimes). I go exploring for pictures by myself and also edit/write in coffee shops alone. Now I am growing to love me time.
  8. You’ll grow as a person every year.  Its okay.
  9. Don’t judge people. Everyone around you has a story that you have no clue about.
  10. You are stronger than you think. Until you are pushed, you will never truly be able to know what you can handle.
  11. Don’t waste your energy on things you can’t control.  This is something I need to work on.
  12. Stop overthinking every little thing about your life.  Another biggie I need to work on, I have over thought way to much about my life so far. I am young and need to chill out.
  13. There are unlimited things to learn in life.  You are never to old to learn!
  14. Listen to your elders even if you just met them, they have some life experience that you don’t.  I have met some very intelligent people this year that have come into my life for one conversation and let me tell you, some things they have told me have stuck.
  15. You will never have your life perfectly worked out so just relax and enjoy the ride.  Go with the flow! Life is not perfect and neither are you!
  16. If you aren’t afraid to roll up your sleeves you will never lose your shirt. (Love ya dad)
  17. Believe in yourself. It does not mater if everyone else believes in you, if you don’t, nothing will happen.

 

Let me know if any of these resonate with you and if there are any other things you have learnt in 2017 that we can add to the list! Leave them in the comments below 🙂

I hope you all learnt at least one thing in 2017 and that you can use it to improve in 2018!

Until next time,

xoxo

Christmas Sugar Cookies |2017

Christmas Sugar Cookies |2017

Hello friends,

One Christmas tradition of mine is to bake cookies before Christmas, and so far this season I have not made any! So last night I asked Jacob (the boyfriend) what kind of cookies we should make, and he said Sugar Cookies! And so you have it, that is what we made today 🙂

Now I have never actually made sugar cookies before believe it or not. I have usually made snickerdoodle or ginger molasses cookies (my moms favourite) around this time of year. This is partially because whenever I would be baking, my dad would be like “there better not be any sugar in those”, so therefore it would be pretty hard to make sugar cookies!

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So, with my dad not being here I could make them! haha love ya dad… mom would have let me! ❤

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For once in my life too, I actually listened to the recipe and set the butter out on the counter to get to room temperature rather then just microwaving it haha which is what I normally do! We followed the instructions exactly and they came out great!

The recipe called for candy cane Hersey Kisses, but we couldn’t find any in all of the stores we tried! So we decided to pick out a few types of chocolate for the toppings and ended up going with Hersey Hugs, macaroons, and mini rolos!

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While I was attempting to take some decent food photos, my boyfriend was drooling all over and frustrating me. He also likes to tell me how/where to take pictures so I got mad at him and then he finally laid down on the couch so I could finish my work. I am not very good with food pictures because I don’t take them very often but here are a few shots!

If you want the recipe for these cookies it will be linked here. I would highly recommend this recipe, because its delicious! We made a half batch of the sugar/vanilla cookies, which made 12 cookies, so definitely enough for the 2 of us with all the other sweets at this time of the year!

Have you baked any Christmas cookies yet, and if so what kind?! Or what is your favourite kind to bake and eat? Leave your cookie answers in the comments below! 🙂

Until next time,

xoxo