Sunday, April 20, 2014

Earth Day Activity: How To Make Play Dough

1 cup flour
                1/2 cup salt
                1 cup water
                2 tbsp canola oil
                2 tsp cream of tartar
Food coloring

1. Mix flour, salt, water, canola oil and cream of tartar in a large saucepan.
2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until a ball of dough forms.
3. Remove from heat and when the dough is cool enough to touch, knead until smooth.
4. Divide the dough into the number of pieces needed for the desired colors.
5. Add drops of food coloring to the dough and carefully knead until the color is uniform.

The Gunny Sack

Saturday, April 19, 2014

12 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

1. Switch to Reusable Bags
When packing your kids' lunch or going grocery shopping, forget about brown paper bags or plastic bags. Use reusable bags instead! You can find these tote bags anywhere in cute designs and they're super cheap. You can also buy your kids insulated lunch bags with their favorite characters on them so they can show them off during lunch time.

2. Get Some Exercise
Instead of driving your car everywhere, try to walk places instead if you are going somewhere nearby. Get in some exercise and ride your bike to work if possible to save on gas and lower your carbon emissions. If it's too far to walk or ride your bike, you can also start taking public transportation or carpool to work.

3. Plant a Garden
Planting a garden is a fun and easy activity for the whole family and it will save you money on grocery shopping. You can plant your own fruits and vegetables and you don't even need a large space to do so. This has a really positive impact on the environment and you can also research eco-friendly methods of maintaining your garden such as composting and collecting rain water to water your plants.

4. Buy Local and Eat Smarter
Visit your local farmer's market whenever you can to purchase locally raised and organic dairy, eggs, meat and more. Not only are you supporting eco-friendly food practices but you're also supporting your local economy. Plus, local food tastes better and is fresher.

5. Use Eco-friendly Cleaning Products
Rockin' Green eco-friendly cleaning products are all biodegradable and gluten and vegan friendly. They don't contain phosphates, SLS, Parabens, or optical brighteners. All of our packaging is made from recycled materials. Being green can be fun, and quite possibly even cool. We can all do our part to make the Earth a better place. Green laundry detergents work hard to fight dirt and stains while being gentle to the environment and your budget. 

6. Unplug
Whenever you are done using your appliances during the day (including the tv, computer, etc.), unplug them. You can also use a "smart" power strip which will cut "phantom" energy use when it is able to sense that an appliance is turned off and not in use.

7. Buy E-books and Read Online
There's no need to continue buying paperback books when there are so many book titles available online as ebooks. They are inexpensive and can be easily transported with you during your commute to work without having to lug heavy books around. You can even cancel your newspaper and magazine subscriptions and read articles online.

8. Save Water
Your family can start taking shorter showers to save on water consumption which will also lower your water bill saving your family money! There are special shower heads you can buy for the bathroom which reduce water flow to save on water use and the money you save on water will be worth the investment.

9. Buy Secondhand
Think about what you need before you go out and buy brand new products and see if it's a product that you can buy secondhand. You can visit your local thrift store or even browse online for new or gently used secondhand products. Craigslist is a great site to check for furniture, appliance and more that people are selling cheaply or even giving away for free.

10. Save Energy
You can save energy at home by setting your thermostat a few degrees higher in the summer and a few degrees lower in the winter. This will also help you save on heating and cooling costs. Another idea to save energy is to hang your clothes up to dry on a clothesline instead of using a dryer which consumes a ton of energy.

11. Bring Your Own Cup

Do you go to your favorite coffee shop for a cup of coffee every morning before work or during your midday slump? Bring your own cup to your coffee shop so you will no longer toss out the plastic cups they give you during your daily trip. Also keep in mind that some coffee places will give you a discount for bringing in your own cup. Bonus!

12. Use Cloth Diapers

If you have a little one in the house you can cut down on waste and save money by getting rid of the disposable diapers and using cloth diapers instead. Cloth diapers are better for baby's skin and also much better for the environment. While disposable diapers get thrown away after one use, cloth diapers are washed and reused over and over again.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Family Favourite Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs

Get your comfort food craving filled with this all-time family favourite meal. Get ready for your kitchen to be filled with the rich, mouthwatering aroma of simmering tomato sauce!

Prep Time: 20 minutes| Cook Time: 40 minutes | Makes 6 servings
1 pkg (450 g) lean ground turkey
45 mL (3 tbsp) seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs
90 mL (6 tbsp) freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
30 mL (2 tbsp) chopped fresh parsley
1 mL (1/4 tsp) fresh ground pepper
1 can (796 mL/28 oz) no salt added tomatoes, pureed
1 carrot, grated
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs of fresh basil
1 mL (1/4 tsp) hot pepper flakes
1 pkg (375 g) whole wheat spaghetti

1. In a large bowl, combine turkey, breadcrumbs, 45 mL (3 tbsp) of the cheese, parsley and pepper. Using 15 mL (1 tbsp) measuring spoon, roll turkey mixture into meatballs and place on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mixture. Makes 24 meatballs. Bake in preheated 180°C (350 °F) oven for 10 minutes*. Remove from oven.
2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring pureed tomatoes, carrot, onion, garlic, basil and hot pepper flakes to a simmer. Add meatballs; cover saucepan slightly and simmer for about 30 minutes or until thickened.
3. In a pot of boiling water, cook spaghetti for about 10 minutes or until tender but firm Drain well and return to pot. Toss with sauce and meatballs until well coated. Sprinkle with remaining cheese to serve.
*Use a digital food thermometer to check that meatballs have reached an internal temperature of 74°C (165°F).
  • To purée tomatoes, place in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. If you do not have a blender you can substitute 800 mL (3 1/4 cups) strained tomatoes (passata).
  • Ask older kids to help make the meatballs. Be sure they wash their hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food.
  • Time saver: Whip up a double batch and freeze extra for another day.
  • Switch up the grated carrots with shredded zucchini for a change.

Healthy Canadians

Monday, April 14, 2014

Part 3: Easter Activities from Surrey to Abbotsford

Easter can be a hoppin' good time for the family with all these egg-cellent activities around the Lower Mainland, listed by municipality. Your local community centre may also offer Easter-themed fun - check with yours. Happy Easter everyone.


Eco Easter Egg Hunt
April 19, 10:00am – 3:00pm
Search for Easter eggs in the forest!  Meet the Easter Bunny and enjoy egg-themed crafts, fun activities, tasty food and family entertainment. Children’s Easter egg hunts take place throughout the event and every child receives a prize.  Register now to avoid the line or buy your wristband at the Surrey Nature Centre on the day of the event. Cost: $8 per child.
Location: Surrey Nature Centre, 14255 - 96 Avenue, Surrey BC

Info: 604-502-6065 or

Easter Fair 2014
April 19, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Join in Easter fun for the whole family at the Surrey Museum with crafts, games and an Easter Egg scavenger hunt. Learn about the real Easter Bunny and friends as you discover local wildlife and meet rescue animals, from rabbits to reptiles and an assortment of dogs and parrots. For all ages. Cost: by donation.
Location: Surrey Museum, 17710 - 56A Avenue, Surrey BC

Pictures with the Easter Bunny
April 11 – April 20
Visit the Easter Bunny in his spring garden between Winners and Future Shop at Central City. Have your picture taken with him starting at $14.95. Picture times are: Noon to 6pm.
Location: Central City, King George Boulevard & 102 Ave, Surrey BC


Breakfast with the Easter Bunny
April 19, 9:00am – 11:00am
Join us for an egg-citing morning filled with Easter themed activities including a pancake breakfast, crafts and an Easter Egg Hunt. Bring your camera and have your picture taken with the Easter Bunny. Cost: $7 per child. Location: South Delta Recreation Centre, 1720 56th Street, Delta BC

Info: 604-952-3000


Fort Langley Easter Scavenger Hunt
April 20, 10:00am – 5:00pm, Scavenger hunt (10am – 5pm), Easter egg hunt (11:00am, 1:00pm, 3:00pm)
Calling all little bunnies! The all ages scavenger hunt includes fun activities that will take you exploring around the fort and earning chocolate as you go. The egg scramble will last until all the eggs have been found. Regular admission applies; free for annual pass holders.
Location: Fort Langley National Historic Site of Canada, 23433 Mavis Ave, Fort Langley BC


Easter Bunny Photos
April 4 - 19, Various Times 
Hop on down to Willowbrook to have your child’s photo taken with our Easter Bunny. Every child that visits the Easter Bunny will receive a free eco-friendly gift (while quantities last). Photos taken at Centre Court near Purdy's Chocolate during the following hours: Friday to Tuesday 11:00am – 6:00pm; Wednesday & Thursday: 11:00 am to 8:00 pm. Partial proceeds from the photos will benefit the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada.
Location: Willowbrook Mall, Centre,19705 Fraser Highway, Langley BC
Info: 604-530-4492 or

Easter Egg Hunt
April 20, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Fun for the whole family- participate in an egg hunt in the vineyard and splurge on Easter goodies in support of the Small Animal Rescue Society (formerly BC Rabbit Rescue). Take in live music and enjoy a glass or two of wine with your barbecue lunch at our outdoor wine bar while the kids frolic for the afternoon. Cost: $3 by donation.
Location: Township 7, 21152 16th Avenue, Langley BC

Easter Scavenger Hunt 
April 20, 10:00am – 4500pm
Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the Fort, where every child, ages 16 and under, will receive a treat after completion of their Scavenger Hunt adventure. The Scavenger Hunt will take place around the grounds within the fort walls and will be available all day from 10am - 5pm.  For younger children, ages 5 and under, a special Easter Egg Hunt will take place promptly at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm and 3:00pm sharp - be sure to arrive early to the Visitor Centre to ensure you do not miss the start of the Scramble. Parka - our Parks Canada mascot, fluffy bunnies and baby chicks plan to make an appearance!
Location: Fort Langley National Historic Site, 23433 Mavis Ave  Langley, BC


Easter Egg Hunt 
April 19 - 20, 9:00am – 3:00pm
Join us for our 2nd Annual Easter Egg-Stravaganza at Maan Farms. Join for Easter Egg Hunt, prizes, Easter Bunny Meet and Greet, petting zoo and play area. Admission $5.00, Bring own Easter basket. 
Location: 790 McKenzie Road, Abbotsford, BC

Part 2: Easter Activities from Burnaby to New West

Easter can be a hoppin' good time for the family with all these egg-cellent activities around the Lower Mainland, listed by municipality. Your local community centre may also offer Easter-themed fun - check with yours. Happy Easter everyone.


Easter Egg Hunt

April 20, 12:00pm - 1:30pm
The Easter Bunny is stashing treats at the pool. Seven-year-olds and younger must be accompanied by an adult in the water. Bring your bathing suit. Loonie swim rates apply.
Location: CG Brown Pool Memorial Pool, 3702 Kensington Avenue, Burnaby BC
Info: 604-297-4520

Easter Egg Hunt
April 20, 12:00pm - 1:30pm
The Easter Bunny is stashing treats at the pool. Seven-year-olds and younger must be accompanied by an adult in the water. Bring your bathing suit. Loonie swim rates apply.
Location: CG Brown Pool Memorial Pool, 3702 Kensington Avenue, Burnaby BC
Info: 604-297-4520

55+ Grandparents and Tot Easter Egg Hunt Eggcitement
April 19, 10:00am – 11:00am
Come join in on the Easter festivities. Decorate an Easter basket that you can use to collect eggs during our mini egg hunt! Children must be accompanied by a grandparent. Cost: $6.94 per child. No drop-ins.
Location: Bonsor Recreation Complex, 6550 Bonsor Avenue, Burnaby BC


Easter Extravaganza
April 20, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Join in on the Easter egg hunt (kids look for marbles and exchange them for chocolate eggs). There will also be magic, music, face painting, photos with the Easter Bunny, a Easter basket craft and a duck pond prize game. Rain or shine. Cost: $5 per person, cash only.
Location: Port Moody Station Museum, 2734 Murray Street, Port Moody BC


Easter Photo
April 12 - 19, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Visit and Photos with the Easter Bunny 
Location: Haney Place Mall, 35 - 11900 Haney Place

Easter in Queen's Park
April 20, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
This family event is filled with activities for children between three and 10 years of age. Event highlights include: entertainment, crafts & face painting, photos with the Easter bunnies, the petting farm and loads of fun activities for youngsters to enjoy. Concession services will be available. Admission is free.
Location: Queen's Park, 600 Eighth Street, New Westminster BC
Info: 604-777-5121 or