Happy Friday, everyone! I’m currently in Amsterdam sussing out their Light Festival (more on that next week). The past week spun away from me with all the Christmas prep I needed to do before my trip, so I didn’t get a chance to faff about online as I normally do. Sadly, there’s no Friday Faves this week, just this quote that makes me feel quite vindicated. Have a greet weekend.
Just when you think things can’t get worse on your family vacation – surprise! They can! Here’s a look at some of the worst family travel stories and experiences.
Last October, I was in Nepal with my husband and two sons (two and five years-old). We decided to go for a one day hike near Kathmandu. I checked on the Internet, found a beautiful hike, and checked with some travel agencies about the time required to complete the hike and to book a guide.
We were told it would be a “flat walk” and that it would take maximum five hours. We were also told that if our kids were tired (and if we were too tired to carry them on our back) that our guide could call our driver – anytime. Well, it did not really happened this way.
We started walking at 9.30am. Half way through, we realized all tourists were coming from the opposite direction (they were going down, we were climbing!). Our guide lost us. There was no road at all for our driver to come and pick us up.
We climbed 650m (flat walk eh), we walked for eight hours (25km instead of the announced 16!) and reached the road 15 minutes before sunset. But we managed. We try not to panic and kept walking… Emilie Lancelot-Jouno Traveling with Kids
Even though Joshua Tree National Park gets about 2cm of precipitation every year, the day we visited with our family it decided to rain and snow, and was horribly cold. We jumped out of the car a couple of times to take pictures, but that was about it. At some point, my husband gave our two-year old daughter a piece of gum to chew. She decided to stick it up her nose, then started howling and crying. We weren’t sure what was going on; I didn’t even know she had gum.I tried to see if I could pull it out, but it was in there pretty good. An hour and a half later we made it back to my parents’ condo in Palm Springs and she was still quite upset. I didn’t want to have to use the US health system for something so ridiculous, so I tried to get her to sneeze it out. About ten minutes after I made her sniff pepper she had a big sneeze and out it came. No more gum for her. Erin Stang Chrusch Working Mother Chronicles
Thirty minutes into three-hour drive from the Phoenix Airport to Yuma, Vivian (then 5) bazooka barfed all over the rental, quickly ruining the new-car smell. Leanne Shirtliffe Ironic Mom
I was traveling with my son Evan and our plane from Birmingham to Houston was delayed due to weather. We got to Houston 10 minutes before our plane left from another terminal. I ran carrying Evan sobbing across the airport only to be turned away on the jetbridge, though the plane was still there. I sat on the floor and sobbed while Evan (then four-years-old) tried to comfort me. We had to stay overnight at the airport hotel on our dime, as the airline wouldn’t cover it because it was weather related. We went to the hotel gift shop to buy some snacks, and Evan walked up to the wine rack saying, “Mommy, you need some of this!” Merry Spooner Kuchle Merry About Town
We were allowed to use our daughter’s car seat on our flight, but we bought it in the U.S., and the flight attendant couldn’t find the proper sticker. She was looking for the Canadian one and didn’t recognize the American, so she refused to let us use it. We had the very front row seats, which meant we also had no seat in front to store our bags under, and the same flight attendant wouldn’t let me keep my diaper bag with all our snacks and entertainment at my feet. So I emptied out everything we needed – toys, books, wipes diapers sippy cup at my feet and scattered it on the floor for easy access. I spent the entire flight trying to keep my two year old strapped in while she screamed and fought me. And I was six months pregnant, so that was all sorts of fun. Tamara Schroeder from That Tam I Am
Do you have a terrible travel memory you’d like to share?
I love Christmas baking and all, but let’s be honest – gingerbread blows. Sure the spices are intoxicating and decorating them is a hoot (so long as you’re with good friends, drinking wine and don’t have to clean up after yourself). But the taste? Meh. My Christmas gift to you is this divine gluten-free chocolate gingerbread cake adapted from Nigella’s full-on wheat recipe. Unlike gingerbread cookies, this baby is moist and the chocolate adds a rich depth, making it a very decadent treat.
What I love most about this recipe that you just melt everything on the stove, then tip in a bit of “flour,” making your clean up minimal. Enjoy!
Gluten-free Chocolate Gingerbread Cake
- Not quite a full cup butter – around 7/8 of a cup (or 175g)
- Not quite 3/4 cup brown sugar (or 125g)
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 3/4 cup maple syrup (or 200g golden corn syrup). If I’m running low on maple syrup I sub in brown rice syrup to top up, and that works just fine.
- 2/3 cup molasses
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 tablespoons warm water
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups all purpose gluten-free flour (I use Cup 4 Cup)
- 2/3 cup cocoa
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips
- Preheat over to 350 and grease a rectangular shaped baking pan.
- Melt the butter, sugars, syrup, molasses and spices in a good size saucepan on the stove.
- Mix the baking soda with the warm water in a cup.
- Once the butter has melted, take the pot off the heat and beat in the eggs, milk and baking soda in the water.
- Stir in the flour and cocoa until well mixed.
- Add in the chocolate chips and pour into your baking pan.
- Bake for 1 hour to an hour and 20 minutes.
*Note: You can sub in regular white flour for the GF flour and your cooking time will be reduced to about 50 minutes. With GF flour, it takes longer, so you’ll want to check that the center has set before taking it out of the oven.
Chocolate Ginger Icing
- 2 1/3 cup sifted icing sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon cocoa
- 1/4 cup ginger ale
- Heat the butter, cocoa and ginger ale on the stovetop.
- Whisk in the icing sugar bit by bit once the butter has melted. (Don’t worry if you get some clumps, just try to work them out as best you can. You won’t notice it on the cake.)
- Pour the icing over the cake and let set before cutting.
Do you like gingerbread, fruitcake or mince pies? If yes, are you, like 80 or just British? Just kidding (kind of). I’d love to hear if you have a favourite Christmas baking recipe you make every year.
Ah, ’tis the season for decking the halls, making merry with good friends, and if you’re me, taxes! This fall has been such a whirlwind, I’ve neglected to get my corporate taxes in order, which means a weekend of
mulled wine mulling over receipts. If you’re in Calgary on Saturday, you should check out Olympic Plaza from 2 to 4p.m., for Alberta Ballet’s The Nutcracker ice skating party. It’s free, but they’re collecting food donations for the Calgary Inter-Faith Food Bank.
Here’s a few fun links I found amusing this week.
Ever longed to camp in a Westfalia? Treat your kids to this VW camper van play tent.
Take this quick quiz to find out who in fiction are you? (I’m Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird.)
This digital yule log is pretty cool. Be sure to go full screen when watching.
10 Creepy Santas (whose laps you want nothing to do with).
In this season of endless events, do you know the most important party etiquette rule?
Under the weather? Check out these cocktail recipes to cure the common cold.
17 productive ways to spend 5 minutes instead of checking your email (again).
Ever wonder how crazy, long German words are made? This cute video explains all.
And the winner is … Colour of the year 2014.
Fake binder for important office naps.
These melted snowman cookies are easy (and cute) enough to make with wee-ones.
What are you plans for the weekend?