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Jo-Anna@APrettyLife

Welcome To My Spring House Tour!

Welcome To My Spring House, I’m so excited that you are here!  If you are new here and are visiting from one of the other tours this week, my name is Jo-Anna and I welcome you to my site!  If you would like to know a bit more about me, you can read more here.

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It’s SPRING!  It’s really truly, finally spring!  Can you see me doing a happy dance?  We’re finally having days of warm sunshine, the air is beginning to have that spring rain smell, and everyone just seems to be more hopeful.  That’s what spring does to people up here in Alberta…even though we know that we will still get another blast of winter…but each day that it feels like spring we rejoice.

With each changing season I like to freshen up my home.  I look forward to each change…refreshing and redecorating helps me to get through our long winters.  It’s kind of a mode of survival for me, especially in the spring because our winters are so long and after a while the colours of winter tend to get tiresome and make me long for colour.  So this year I didn’t waste any time bringing spring inside.

Spring House Tour

In the last few years I have really embraced colour.  I used to shy away from bold colour because I was afraid of the seeming permanence of it…what if we move…all the magazine and Instagram houses are white…we have kids…and on and on and on.  But as I get older I feel more confident in what I like.

Spring House Tour

 So I shamelessly have brought more and more colour into my home and I love it.  My family loves it.  Our home feels bright, sunny, cheery and happy and I really believe that the fun pops of colour contribute to that.  Even on the most grey day, inside it feels colourful.

Spring House Tour

This is the first time that I have fully embraced colour on our main floor…over time I have been slowly sneaking it in with the addition of our colourful kitchen table chairs and an aqua cabinet in our eating nook.  But this spring I decided to go all out and add more and more colour to many of our living spaces.  The biggest change is in our living room.  I always kept this space fairly neutral because I felt like I should…why though?  I have no idea.  I decided to stop that line of thinking.  I found some artwork at Minted (you can find all the details, including links, on this artwork and the pillows near the end of my post) that set the stage for everything else I added to this space.  I was drawn to flowers, and colour so that’s what I chose, and I couldn’t be happier!

Spring House Tour

I also found pillows to tie all the colours together…one can never have enough pillows right?  My husband *might* not agree with this point, but he’s a good sport…and I see him relaxing in that corner surrounded by all the fluffy.  He likes it.  😉

Spring House Tour

All.  The.  Colour.

Spring House Tour

Spring House Tour

Spring House Tour

I also need flowers.  I have decided that aside from sunshine and the ocean, I run on flowers.  I need them.  They make a room feel alive and hopeful and happy.  So for $5 for a bunch of 5, I can’t say no.

Spring House Tour

With the addition of all the colour in our living room, I feel like our whole main living space flows more seamlessly.  The mantel artwork and the couch pillows match the colours of our eating nook too.  All the yellow, aqua, pink and white…it makes my heart skip a beat.  These are my colours.

Spring House Tour

Even our patio door matches…I could paint all of our doors yellow, but that’s a bit much, I do admit.  😉

Spring House Tour

I also brought out our bright dishes, added a new table runner that I found at Homesense this spring, and set the table with more flowers.  This table makes me smile.

Spring House Tour

Spring has also arrived in our master bedroom.  I added this soft floral duvet, took down the winter art, and added more flowers.  The most simple changes make such a big impact.  If you want to see more of this bedroom space, stop by and read the post I wrote last week with tips to bring spring into your bedroom.

I hope you enjoyed my spring home tour and maybe found some inspiration to add some spring cheer to your space!

Spring House Tour

Information About Favourite Things in This Post:

Go on a Spring House Tour!

For more spring decorating ideas, I hope you can take some time to check out these beautiful spring homes that are part of this years Canadian Bloggers Spring Home Tour!  Another great way is to follow the hashtag #CBHomeTour on Instagram!

MONDAY

AKA Design  //  Life is a Party  //  Lemon Thistle  //  Clean & Scentsible

TUESDAY

Brooklyn Berry Designs  //  Amidst the Chaos  //  The Happy Housie  //  PMQ for two  //  Elliven Studio

WEDNESDAY

Satori Design for Living  //  Suburble  //  So Much Better with Age  //  Pop of Pretty  //  This Little Estate

THURSDAY

The DIY Mommy  //  ME!  //  Woman in Real Life  //  Kim Power Style  //  The Learner Observer

FRIDAY

The Creekline House  //  Love Create Celebrate

Have an inspired day!

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for supporting A Pretty Life!  xo

Disclosure:  My new art pieces and pillows were provided by Minted for review, with no money exchanged.  All opinions, thoughts and pictures are my own.  I truly love them!

Book Review: The Tea Girl Of Hummingbird Lane

My thoughts on the book, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, written by author, Lisa See.

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I love to read and have loved reading my whole life.  Sadly over the last few years I haven’t read as much as I used to because honestly, TV and the online world have taken up too much space in my life.  So last summer while on holidays, with no internet, and no TV, all there was to do was read, and it was glorious!  I read 6 books over the course of 10 days!  After that time away, I made it a goal of mine to get back to reading at least one book a month.  That may not sound like a lot, but with the busyness of every day life, it can feel like it is, especially when you can’t find a good book.  But when I find a book that I cannot put down I’m thrilled, and it inspires me to read more and more and more.

My Review:  A Definite Must Read

Recently I found such a book, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, by author Lisa See.  One chapter in, and I was hooked. It’s the kind of book that you read every chance you get…in the waiting room at appointments, in between kid pick up times, and at night when you hide in your bedroom just to squeeze one more chapter in before bed time.  I love books like that.  I was mesmerized by the story of Li-yan, a member of the Akha tribe, who grew up in the remote Yunnan village of China, with her family of tea pickers.

One of the most interesting aspects of this book for me, was the constant feeling that I was reading a story from a time long ago, when in fact it is a fairly modern story, based during the years of 1988 to 2016.  But because the Akha live in such a remote region of China, their way of life was very rugged and untouched by the modern world, with no electricity, running water, modern housing or any modern amenities.

The story follows Li-yan through her young life as she faces some heartbreaking challenges.  Li-yan falls in love with a young man from a neighbouring village and becomes pregnant with his child out of wedlock.  According to Akha law, a child born outside of marriage is considered to be a ‘human reject’ and must be sacrificed for the well being of the village, but Li-yan and her A-ma cannot bear the thought, so they secretly whisk the baby away to an orphanage in a nearby city.  Heartbroken and unable to return to her home, Li-yan leaves her village life and moves away to city life to complete her education.  Meanwhile her child, a daughter named Haley, is adopted by a loving family in California.  The storyline then weaves between the two separate lives of Li-yan and her daughter.

I was mesmerized by the resilience of Li-yan and I followed along on her journey turning page after page to find out how things turn out for her and her daughter as they live their lives in separate cultures.  I ached for Li-yan as she wondered about where her child was.  I rooted for her tenacious and modern spirit.  I cried with her.  I mourned with her.  This book will stay with me for quite some time.

I also really love when I can leave a book having learned something, which I did from this book.  I can hardly wait to read more of Lisa See’s work.

The only complaint I have about this book is that I wanted more…I felt that the last few chapters were a bit rushed, and they left me wanting to know more.  But I also think this feeling is a sign of a good book…wanting more is a good thing.

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

Want to see more thoughts on The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane?  Read these blogger reviews:

Where to Buy the Book:

You can purchase this book in bookstores or online on Amazon.com or Chapters Indigo (these are affiliate links).

Happy Reading!

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for sending me this book for review!  All thoughts, opinions and ideas about this book review are 100% mine.

Great Places to Eat and Stay in Ontario’s Lake Country

Here are just a few of the Great Places to Eat and Stay in Ontario’s Lake Country!

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Just about 2 weeks ago now, I went on a bloggers winter retreat in the heart of Ontario’s Lake Country.  My #LetsGoMaple Winter getaway began on an early morning in March, as I boarded a flight from Calgary, Alberta to Toronto, Ontario.  From there I took a shuttle from the Toronto Pearson Airport to Casino Rama Resort, where I stayed for the next 3 nights.

Staying at Casino Rama Resort

Casino Rama Resort is located on Rama First Nation, just outside of Orillia, Ontario (about 1 and 1/2 hours from Toronto Pearson Airport).  This resort is right in the heart of Ontario’s Lake Country, so it is a great location for many different activities.  You could spend your entire vacation right at the resort and take in the casino, book a spa, and eat in delicious restaurants.  But because this resort is centrally located, you can also take in a number of different outdoor activities, and shop and eat in the nearby towns.  While I was there, our group of 16 bloggers did a little of everything.  In my first blog post I spoke to all the outdoor winter activities we took part in, and in this post I’m going to talk about the Casino Rama Resort where I stayed, and about all the delicious food I was lucky enough to eat!

Casino Rama Resort

As I entered Casino Rama Resort I was greeted by a beautiful rustic lobby, with blazing fireplaces, comfy seating areas, ceilings made up of large tinder beams and gorgeous light fixtures…it all had the feel of a perfect spot to kick off a winter getaway!

Casino Rama Resort

After a long travel day, I just wanted to get up to my room, put all my gear down and shower and change before dinner.  I was so relieved when I opened the door to my room and saw a king sized bed, a beautiful big bathroom with a shower and separate tub, and these delicious treats waiting for me!  After I got my self together, it was time to meet up with the other bloggers, for a tour of the resort, which I was so thankful for because the resort is huge, and I wanted to see it all.

Casino Rama Resort

When I take tours of places I visit, I tend to go off the beaten path just a little bit and try to capture some of the sights that might get missed or that really catch my eye.  I found myself doing this many times during our resort tour…this resort is located on the Rama First Nation, so the design pays homage to the culture and proud heritage of the Rama First Nation people, and there are many beautiful features such as the this fish artwork on the ceiling.  Look up, look waaaaaay up.

Casino Rama Resort

Just one of the many art pieces located in the resort.

The Great Indoors at Casino Rama Resort

Then it was time to take a tour of the casino.  I found the tour of the gaming floor SO interesting.  I learned so much about casinos, how they operate, gaming etiquette, and Ontario’s commitment to responsible gaming.  I really had no idea there was so much involved behind the scenes with casinos.  My new friend Sandy of Canadian Blog House wrote a really great blog post with all kinds of fascinating casino facts from our tour!

Image courtesy of Casino Rama Resort.  Picture taking is not allowed on the casino floor!

The Great Indoors at Casino Rama Resort

I think one of the most amazing features of the Casino Rama Resort is The Great Indoors venue where they host some of the biggest acts in the world!  This state of the art venue seats 5000 people, and I was surprised to learn that they have hosted big names such as Faith Hill, The Tragically Hip, KISS, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Carrie Underwood, Alicia Keyes, Johnny Depp, John Legend and SO many more!

The Great Indoors at Casino Rama Resort

Just a snippet of their Wall of Fame!

Balance in Life Spa Pool at Casino Rama Resort

My favourite part of Casino Rama (besides the super comfy king sized bed) was their pool and steam room.  I’m a spa kind of gal.  I admit it.  I could easily spend a day just at the pool, in the spa and steam rooms.  So every chance I got I took the time for a swim and steam.  After a busy and cold winter day, there’s nothing that can warm you up like a hot tub and a steam room.  Ahhhhhh

Balance in Life Spa Steam Room at Casino Rama Resort

I went for a steam every day while I was there!

Suggestions for Dining in Ontario’s Lake Country

And of course, the food!  There are so many places to dine in Ontario’s Lake Country, but with only 3 days to fill my belly, I was only able to try a few delicious restaurants!

St. Germain's Steakhouse at Casino Rama Resort

After our tour of the resort, we went for dinner at St. Germain’s Steakhouse, located right in Casino Rama, where we were treated to a delicious dinner.  The Triple Chocolate Pyramid was out-of-this-world-delicious!

Rustica Pizza Vino in Orillia, Ontario

On day two, after a busy day of outdoor sports, we headed into Orillia for dinner at Rustica Pizza Vino.  This was my most favourite dining experience on our trip!  When we first arrived, we were treated to a beer sampling of the Organic Cold Water Clear Lager from Horseshoe Valley Brewing Company (it was very tasty!).  Then we had a live demonstration on how the restaurant makes their delicious Neapolitan-style pizzas!  They make all of their own dough, use locally sourced ingredients combined with specialty meats, cheeses, olive oils and tomatoes imported from Italy.  There is a deep love of pizza involved in the running of this pizza place, and it shows…the pizzas are SO SO delicious.  My favourite was the ‘Prosciutto’, with San Marzano tomato, prosciutto, arugula, shaved grana padano.  Oh my.  My mouth is watering at the thought of it.  And if that wasn’t enough, they brought out Pizza Doughnuts for dessert, which are deep fried pieces of pizza dough rolled in sugar and placed on a bed of Nutella.  I can’t even.  They were amazing, and probably the reason my pants were tighter when I left.  😉

The Grape & Olive Wine & Martini Bistro in Orillia, Ontario

On our last night, we again headed into Orillia for dinner at The Grape & Olive Wine & Martini Bistro.  I ordered the Tender Beef Sirloin with Mashed Potatoes and it came served in a giant Yorkshire Pudding Puff!  I mean just look at that dish!  I need to recreate this at home for my family…they will LOVE it.

Don’t Miss All The Outdoor Winter Fun!

While you’re in Ontario’s Lake Country don’t forget to take in all the outdoor winter fun it has to offer!  You can see more of that in this earlier blog post I wrote about the ski hills, nordic trails and more!

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I really enjoyed my time in Ontario’s Lake Country!  There is so much to see, do and eat!  And my stay at Casino Rama Resort was restful and peaceful.  I really had a great time!  A BIG thank you to SJ Consulting (Julie and Stacey), and Ontario Lake Country and Casino Rama Resort (Lisa, Jenna, Natasha, and Jenn) for making this trip so fantastic for all of us!  Your hard work made our visit amazing! #LetsGOMaple!

Happy travels!

Carrot Cake Sheet Cake Recipe

This Carrot Cake Sheet Cake Recipe with a Cream Cheese Frosting is tender, sweet and so delicious!  This recipe is made with less oil than many other carrot cake recipes.

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Carrot cake is one of my most favourite types of cakes.  I love how moist and full of spicy flavour they are, I love that they’re packed with nutritious shredded carrots, and I love the creamy cream cheese frosting they’re usually smothered in!  But one thing I don’t love about some carrot cakes, is how full of oil they are…I can taste it, and just don’t like the flavour.  So when my sister brought out this amazing carrot cake recipe at Easter last year, and I found out there was barely any oil in the recipe, I just knew I had to make it.  Honestly, her cake has been on my mind ever since I first tried it.  And now with Easter back upon us again, I figured now was the perfect time to make the recipe and share it with you!

Carrot Cake Sheet Cake Recipe with Cream Cheese Frosting

This particular cake recipe replaces most of the oil with applesauce.  There are two big reasons I love this so much…one, I don’t taste the oil, and two, this cake is more nutritious with less oil, and with the addition of unsweetened applesauce.  Win, win.

Carrot Cake Sheet Cake Recipe with Cream Cheese Frosting

I also love that this carrot cake is baked as a sheet cake.  Sheet cakes are one of my most favourite ways to bake cakes because they’re easy to ice, they’re great for birthday parties and they are easy to transport to pot luck dinners.  I have couple favourite sheet cake recipes here on my site that you might like as well:  Banana, Raisin Oatmeal, and Hummingbird Sheet Cake (the banana one is to-die for).

Carrot Cake Sheet Cake Recipe with Cream Cheese Frosting

To top this carrot sheet cake, I made a cream cheese frosting, because all carrot cakes need cream cheese frosting don’t they?  Yes.  Yes they do.

Carrot Cake Sheet Cake Recipe with Cream Cheese Frosting

Creamy, sweet, smooth cream cheese frosting.

Carrot Cake Sheet Cake Recipe with Cream Cheese Frosting

After the cake has baked and cooled, you can either serve the cake as is with the cream cheese frosting…or you can add some sweetened shredded coconut to top it off.  It looks pretty, but it also add a nice little coconut flavour.

Carrot Cake Sheet Cake Recipe with Cream Cheese Frosting

Delicious and so pretty!  My family loves the addition of the coconut.  Speaking of additions, if you like raisins or chopped pecans, feel free to add them to this cake recipe (see recipe notes)!

Carrot Cake Sheet Cake Recipe with Cream Cheese Frosting

This Carrot Cake Sheet Cake recipe is perfect for any occasion!  We especially love it at Easter.

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Carrot Cake Sheet Cake Recipe with Cream Cheese Frosting

Author Jo-Anna@APrettyLife

Ingredients

Carrot Cake

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 cups grated carrots

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces block of cream cheese softened
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 cups icing sugar confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • sweetened shredded coconut for sprinkling

Instructions

Making the Cake

  1. Preheat your oven oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare a 9x13 pan, with either grease and flour, or a baking spray.
  3. In a mixing bowl beat together the eggs, apple sauce, oil, sugars and vanilla.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  5. Stir in the shredded carrots.
  6. Pour into your 9x13 prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Making the Frosting

  1. In a mixing bowl beat together the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and icing sugar, until smooth.

Putting the Cake Together

  1. Let the cake cool in the pan completely before frosting.
  2. Once the cake is cooled, spread the frosting evenly on the cake.
  3. Optional: Sprinkle the frosted cake with the sweetened, shredded coconut.

  4. Cut and serve!

Recipe Notes

If you like pecans or raisins in your carrot cake, feel free to add 1/2 cup of either to the cake batter before baking.

Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com

Recipe Tips:

  • You can use store bought unsweetened applesauce, or you can make your own homemade apple sauce.  I made my own with 3 medium sized apples, and mashed it down until it was nice and smooth.
  • If you like pecans or raisins in your carrot cake, feel free to add a 1/2 cup of either to the cake batter before baking.
  • Make sure the cake has cooled completely before frosting, or the frosting will melt.

Love Carrot Cake?  Then you’ll love these recipes:

Carrot Cake Cookies with Cream Cheese Drizzle

Carrot Cake Cookies with Cream Cheese Drizzle

Layered Carrot Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Layered Carrot Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cake Pancakes with Cream Cheese Drizzle

Carrot Cake Pancakes with Cream Cheese Drizzle

Carrot Pumpkin Bundt Cake

Have a delicious day!

Exploring Ontario’s Lake Country Winter Wonderland

There’s so much to do while Exploring Ontario’s Lake Country Winter Wonderland!

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Last week I had the amazing opportunity to visit Ontario’s Lake Country, to experience their winter wonderland!  Over a 3 day period I joined a group of over 15 bloggers to hit the sugar bush to learn about maple syrup, we skied, snowshoed, went fat biking and downhill tubing, sat in steam rooms, roasted s’mores, visited a museum, ate amazing food and just had a fantastic winter get away!  There is so much to do in Ontario’s Lake Country.  Come have a look!

First stop…Shaw’s Maple Syrup Bush.  One thing this Alberta raised gal has always wanted to experience, is a sugar bush.  In Alberta you’re pretty hard pressed to find maple trees…we tend to have aspens, birch, spruce and fir trees, but no maple trees.  And since maple syrup is something that the world tends to identify as Canadian, this Canadian wanted to see where it comes from, and experience the makings of maple syrup.

So we hopped on a bus from Casino Rama Resort where we stayed (more on that in a different blog post), and set off for the sugar bush.  Shaw’s Maple Syrup Bush is located about 4 km outside of Orillia, Ontario.  This family farm, owned by the Shaw family, has been producing maple syrup since 1904.  Not only are they busy producing maple syrup, but they have also opened up their farm to the public for tours, horse drawn wagon rides, you can watch the maple syrup boiling process, purchase maple syrup, and have breakfast in their pancake house.

I really enjoyed the outdoor tour led by Tom Shaw, the farm’s fifth generation owner.  I had only ever seen how maple syrup was collected, through TV and in books, so to see it in real life was fascinating!  Shaw’s Maple Syrup Bush has 4000 trees all connected with tubing, that collect around 160,000 litres of watery maple sap each season!  I was so surprised to find out that the raw sap collected is the colour of water, and only about 2% sugar before it is boiled into maple syrup!  Amazing!  So it comes out looking like water, then is boiled down to look like this…

Fun fact!  It takes approximately 40L of sap to boil down into 1 litre of glorious maple syrup!  Look how beautiful and diverse all this fresh maple syrup is!  I could hardly wait to taste it.

One of the greatest things about visiting Shaw’s is their pancake house!  I had an order of their homemade french toast with maple syrup.  I have never had more delicious maple syrup in all my life.  All the maple I’ve had up to this day, didn’t even compare to the flavour of this fresh maple syrup.  It was SO good I could have drank it straight from the cup it was served in…instead I used every last drop on my french toast and sausages.  YUMMMM.  If you are ever in the area, go for breakfast at The Pancake House…go early, and during the week…apparently weekends are very very busy.

Photo from Julie at Try Small Things

After our sugar bush visit, we headed to Horseshoe Resort by Barrie, Ontario, for some outdoor winter fun.  This outdoor park is made up of 29 alpine ski and snowboard runs, and 45 km of nordic trails for snowshoeing, fat biking, cross country skiing, and mini snowmobiling.  They also have an outdoor snow tube hill, indoor spa, fire pits for roasting s’mores.  It’s an amazing place.

Stacey, Sandy and I hitting the trails!  Photo by Julie of Try Small Things

One of the activities I was most excited to try was Fat Biking.  I love to mountain bike, so I just knew I would like this sport.  But first, what exactly is fat biking you ask?  Well, as you can see the tires on these bikes are much wider and have bigger grips than a standard mountain bike, which makes them perfect for riding on the snow.  Yes, it is possible to ride a bike on the snow!  I was actually surprised at how easy it was to do.  I can hardly wait to do it again!

After our fat biking adventure, we strapped on snowshoes and hit the trails for a quick tour.  Snowshoeing is one of my favourite winter sports.  In fact, it’s how I walk my dog almost all winter long…I love it.  I would love to snowshoe every day on trails like the ones here at Horseshoe!

Next up, snow tubing.  Ok, admittedly this activity set my heart a-pounding just a little bit.  There’s just something about shooting down an icy hill in a tube, that makes me a little nervous.  But I’m always up for adventure at least once, so I tried it.  And once was enough for me.  It was fun, but I was terrified.  If you want to see what it looks like as you shoot down the tube hill, you HAVE to see this picture of my friend Alexa.  It’s the best. HA!

Wow, did we ever pack a lot in on this first day here!  After all of our outdoor activities, we gathered back at the bonfires on the bottom of the ski hill for some hot chocolate and s’mores.  This is a really neat activity that you can do with your family while you’re there.

On day 2, half of our group stayed back at the Casino Rama’s Balance in Life Spa, and the other half of us hit the ski slopes at Mount St. Louis Moonstone.  This resort is located just north of Barrie, Ontario.  Mount St. Louis Moonstone is one of Ontario’s largest family owned ski resorts, and is made up of 36 slopes, 9 chairlifts and 3 carpets.

What I loved most about this resort, was how family focussed it was.  I’m used to Rocky Mountain ski hills that basically have one bunny hill for beginners then they’re just expected to go right from there to the giant mountain chair lifts.  As a mother of 3 little skiers, this is terrifying.  But Mount St. Louis Moonstone has mastered getting beginners safely and gradually onto bigger runs, which is amazing.

I especially loved that beginners can safely learn to use the big chair lifts here.  Getting on and off of chair lifts, is one of beginners skiers biggest fears.  So I thought it was fantastic that kids and beginners skiers could learn how to use the lifts properly…the beginner lifts were slower and had special attachments on the bars to help kids feel more comfortable (as shown in the picture above).  I really wish I had my kids here with me this day…this is an ideal ski hill for them to learn.  But it’s not just a beginner ski hill, there are many runs for advanced skiers and snow boarders too!  As a parent, I just really appreciated the gradual and safe introduction to skiing!

Me and Stacey!

The day we were there the snow was great, the weather was windy but really nice, and we all had a great time.  One of the things I enjoyed most about this ski trip was the ski lesson I took.  In all the years that I have skied, I have never taken a lesson…and I’m not really sure why that is. But the opportunity for lessons presented itself on this trip, so I signed up, and am I ever glad I did.  I had the best time. Our ski instructor was SO patient, and I learned a tonne from him.  He helped correct a lot of my bad ski habits and fears, which is invaluable.

At the end of our ski day, we headed into Orillia for dinner and a tour of the local museum.  I’m going to talk about the food and accommodations in another post…it was all so good that it deserves it’s own blog post!  Anyway, back to the Orillia Museum of Art & History.  This museum is a hub of culture for local artists and historians, and it was an absolute unexpected delight.

My transferred image art project in process!

We were lucky enough to be treated to a private art project lesson, then a guided tour through the art exhibit and building.  I loved this stop…the art gallery was beautiful and inspiring, the building was rich in history and the people there were amazing.  I only wish we could have stayed a little longer!

I really enjoyed my time in Ontario’s Lake Country!  I was amazed at how many things there are to do out that way…we packed a lot in, and I just know it was only the tip of the iceberg.  Winter is a wonderful time to explore and try new things!  A BIG thank you to SJ Consulting (Julie and Stacey), and Ontario Lake Country and Casino Rama Resort (Lisa, Jenna, Natasha, and Jenn) for making this trip so fantastic for all of us!  Your hard work made our visit amazing! #LetsGOMaple!

Want to see more? Here are blog posts from my fellow bloggers who also attended this trip:

Have an inspired day!

5 Tips To Create A Spring Bedroom

Here are 5 Tips To Create A Spring Bedroom!  Simple, practical and so pretty.

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I’m so excited to have partnered with Annie Selke on this post today!  The dreamy and beautiful style of their home decor line for spring is so lovely, I could hardly wait to give my master bedroom a refresh!  As I flipped through their online catalogue I was torn between choosing something neutral, or something a with a little more colour…but I kept going back to the same duvet set and shams…the Blossom Duvet and Blossom Shams.  I’m not one to shy away from colour or pattern for that matter, so when I saw this set, I just knew it was the right one for my spring bedroom refresh.

5 Tips To Create A Spring Bedroom

I love to welcome each new season into our home with a refresh to reflect the changing weather and time of year.  I look forward to adding seasonal decor, changing my bed sheets to match the temperature outside, adding seasonal colours …and I especially love decorating for spring, because our winters are soooooo long around here.  By the time March comes around I’m itching to get rid of anything that reminds me of winter.  And I need colour.  Bright and cheery colour.

5 Tips To Create A Spring Bedroom

So I got busy over the last week or so, and changed out all of the winter decor in my home, and replaced it all with fresh, light and airy pieces.  And boy does it feel nice.  There may still be snow on the ground outside, but inside it’s spring!  (stay tuned for a full tour next week!)

5 Tips To Create A Spring Bedroom

The first space I started decorating for spring is my master bedroom.  I really try to make an effort to make this room a sanctuary.

Here are My 5 Tips To Create A Spring Bedroom

  • Update your bedding.  Pack away the dark colours, flannel sheets and heavy blankets, and replace them with light, airy and fresh bedding.
  • Add flowers.  Flowers make every room you walk into feel nice.  I like to buy loads of tulips this time of year because they’re affordable and so cheery.
  • Use an essential oil diffuser.  I am a big scent person.  I don’t like overpowering scents, but I do like my home to smell good so I use an essential oil diffuser to add soft light scents to my spaces.  In spring I prefer to use more soft floral or citrus scents.
  • Change out your artwork.  Take down the artwork with winter or fall scenes, and replace them with bright and colourful pieces.  The light colours almost feel like you’re adding a window into your room.
  • Give your space a deep clean.  Wipe away winter dust, clean your windows, shake out area rugs, replace burnt out lightbulbs.  Get into the nooks and crannies clean them out!  It feels so good.

5 Tips To Create A Spring Bedroom

Right after I deep cleaned my room, I didn’t hesitate to change over my winter bedding, and replace them with my beautiful new Annie Selke Blossom Duvet and Shams, which by the way are SO soft.  Like silky smooth soft.  Then I added some texture with a few throw pillows I already had.

5 Tips To Create A Spring Bedroom

How lovely is this duvet?  Sigh.

5 Tips To Create A Spring Bedroom

After my bed was made I added a beautiful bouquet of tulips I bought at our local market…15 tulips for $15!  I just couldn’t resist.

5 Tips To Create A Spring Bedroom

Aren’t they beautiful?

5 Tips To Create A Spring Bedroom

Then I took down our winter art, and replaced them with our spring/summer pieces which match perfectly with the new duvet!  I just love how it all came together.  And you maaaaay be wondering what the husband thinks about all of this pink and flowers?  Well, he always supports what I do, LOL!  Actually, he came into our room right after I put everything together and he said it looked really nice and cheery.  I’ll take that as a big win!  😉

5 Tips To Create A Spring Bedroom

If you want to see more from Annie Selke, you can request a catalogue or sign up to receive Annie Selke e-mails and receive 15% off your first purchase!  I’m betting you’ll love what you see!

Have an inspired day!

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of ANNIE SELKE. The opinions and text are all mine.  Thank you so much to Annie Selke for sponsoring todays post!  I’m in love with my new bedding!

Asparagus and Swiss Cheese Stuffed Turkey Cutlet Recipe

This Asparagus and Swiss Cheese Stuffed Turkey Cutlet Recipe is a simple and delicious idea for dinner!  Perfect for spring dinners, Mother’s Day or Easter!  Ready in 1 hour.

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Disclosure:  This post has been sponsored by Canadian Turkey.  I am working with Canadian Turkey as a brand ambassador, and over the next year I am excited to bring you some delicious and easy turkey recipes that I have created!  This recipe, all pictures and words are my own.  We just really love turkey over here!

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Gone are the days when turkey was just to be served up at Thanksgiving or Christmas!  Now we can enjoy all cuts of turkey at any time of year.  Turkey is a versatile, lean delicious and nutritious protein that lends itself to many different flavour combinations and recipe ideas, which is why I like to cook with it all year round.  While we do love a whole roasted turkey, we also enjoy turkey in burgers, soup, pot pie, lettuce wraps and casseroles.  Yum.

Now with Easter and Mother’s Day just around the corner, I created this delicious dinner recipe for Asparagus and Swiss Cheese Stuffed Turkey Cutlets.  Fresh spring asparagus paired with lean and delicious turkey, make these a perfect main course for any springtime special occasion!

Asparagus and Swiss Cheese Stuffed Turkey Cutlet Recipe

Don’t be afraid to make these!  I know the idea of stuffed turkey cutlets may seem daunting, but I promise it’s not hard.  Preparation takes less than 15 minutes, and can be made even easier if you buy pre cut turkey cutlets.  Once you have the cutlet, then it’s really just a matter of rolling them up with delicious ingredients inside.  Let me show you.

Asparagus and Swiss Cheese Stuffed Turkey Cutlet Recipe

I like to buy pre cut turkey cutlets from the grocery store that come tenderized and ready to use.  Once you have your cutlets ready to go, lay them out on a cutting board and get them prepared for the next step.  For these Asparagus and Swiss Cheese Stuffed Turkey Cutlets, I first seasoned them with salt and pepper, then placed Swiss cheese slices, and 3 asparagus spears on to each cutlet.

Asparagus and Swiss Cheese Stuffed Turkey Cutlet Recipe

Then you just gently roll them up and secure them with wooden toothpicks.

Asparagus and Swiss Cheese Stuffed Turkey Cutlet Recipe

Now they’re ready for the next step!  See, wasn’t that easy?

Asparagus and Swiss Cheese Stuffed Turkey Cutlet Recipe

I then rolled these cutlets in a crushed cornflake mixture, seasoned them with seasoning salt, and drizzled them generously with butter.  Put into the oven for about 40 minutes and smell the deliciousness as they bake.

Asparagus and Swiss Cheese Stuffed Turkey Cutlet Recipe

These cutlets then come out of the oven with a crispy, crunchy, flavourful crust, a tender turkey outer layer and a cheesy delicious centre!  So good.  You might have noticed that some of the cheese has melted out of the roll up, but don’t worry, it’s not as much as you might think, but make sure to scrape all these buttery cheesy bits off the bottom of the pan and eat them…it’s one of the best parts 😉  Yummmmmm

Asparagus and Swiss Cheese Stuffed Turkey Cutlet Recipe

Serve these Asparagus and Swiss Cheese Stuffed Turkey Cutlets with a side saladoven roasted potatoes, and strawberry shortcake for dessert…the makings of a perfect spring dinner.  Delicious.

Print

Asparagus and Swiss Cheese Stuffed Turkey Cutlets

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4
Author Jo-Anna@APrettyLife

Ingredients

  • 4 turkey cutlets (you can buy them as cutlets)
  • salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese (I used large slices. Just make sure you have enough to cover the cutlet)
  • 12 asparagus stalks
  • 1/4 cup crushed cornflakes
  • seasoning salt
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

  2. Lay out the turkey cutlets, then salt & pepper each cutlet.

  3. Place one slice of Swiss cheese on each cutlet, then 3 asparagus spears.

  4. Roll each turkey cutlet, and secure with wooden toothpicks (as shown in the picture).

  5. Roll each turkey cutlet package in the crushed cornflakes, then place on a baking sheet.

  6. Season each roll with the seasoning salt, then generously drizzle with the melted butter.

  7. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the turkey has cooked fully and the juices are clear.

  8. Remove the wooden toothpicks before serving.

  9. Serve with a side salad and potatoes if you like!

Recipe Notes

You can make as many cutlets as you like...if you have 6 people to feed, use 6 cutlets and increase the ingredients as required.

Asparagus and Swiss Cheese Stuffed Turkey Cutlet Recipe

Recipe Tips!

  • You can purchase pre cut turkey cutlets in your grocery store.  Or if you wish, you can make your own from a whole turkey breast.
  • If you don’t love asparagus (or are allergic to it like my daughter), you can substitute it with broccolini.
  • Don’t have cornflakes?  You can use bread crumbs instead.

More Information on Cooking with Turkey

For more recipes, tips and turkey HOW TOs, visit CanadianTurkey.ca.  The recipe section is filled with all kinds of recipes for full meals, snacks, appetizers, family recipes and tonnes of ideas for using turkey leftovers.  You can also find everything you need to know about turkey preparation, cooking times and how to cook whole turkeys. Or follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram.

Have a delicious day!