the PEI blog

i had such good intentions when i started writing about our 10 day trip out east. i should have realized that school and schedules would drive the memory of vacation to the very bottom of my priorities list. but actually, there’s just not that much to share about actually being on the island.

the basic plan was to get TO the island, and we didn’t actually plan anything for WHILE we were there. the weather was pretty rubbish the whole time, and we really embraced the coziness of being trapped inside a cottage.

during one pocket of sunshine (but not warmth), derek and i borrowed some bikes from our host family, and did a little bit of exploring. i biked on the ocean floor, which was new. we also found an ancient graveyard and read the final summaries of so many lives lived centuries ago.

after that, it rained and rained and rained. we played board games, watched indiana jones, and enjoyed the rest from travelling.

on the only sunny day, we headed out to experience prince edward island, starting with a local beach/park. we explored tide pools, watched hermit crabs, and as the tide came in, ran from shrinking island to shrinking island, building quick sandcastles before they melted in the tide. we chased seagulls, saw adorable plovers, and anne collected some red sand to bring home.

we left canoe cove and drove to port-la-joye to tour fort amherst and hike the trails. i’m always so amazed at the amount of history hidden beneath paved trailes and landscaped lawns. the contrast of a manicured park verses the bloody battlefield of years past, blows my mind every time.

the day was waning, and hunger was growing, so we headed to a tourist hot spot to experience some stereotypical PEI food. main course: boom burger. they use PEI potatoes, beef, and cheese from the cows creamery. (for those of you who know that i can’t eat any of that delicious-sounding stuff: i brought a protein shake with me). i visited paderno while the family was eating, and then we wandered over to the anne of green gables chocolatier briefly before finishing up at cows creamery.

we did a tour of the plant, the kids got some iconic tshirts, and then we bought some of their famous ice cream and enjoyed it in the last few rays of sunlight that we’d see on the island. pictured: sorbet! something that i could actually eat! vacation is so much better when one can enjoy the food.

it rained so much during our final day in PEI. i chose an air b&b with kayaks because “kayaking in the ocean” sounded so dreamy. due to weather and tides, the kayaking didn’t happen. still very happy with the air b&b though, because we DID use the woodstove! buckets of rain were pouring from the sky, but we were nice and cozy with a crackling fire to keep us warm.

having a cozy indoor day with boardgames, netflix, and family was a great way to rest up before travelling back to ontario the next day. it gave us an opportunity to eat up the last of our food, and pack things up at a relaxed pace. when our alarms went off the next morning, it was a very easy transition from cleaned cottage to car.

we didn’t eat seafood, we didn’t see puffins, and we didn’t go whale watching. we didn’t do any of the typical PEI excursions, and in hindsight- i wish we’d had a bit more structure to our trip. i have zero regrets about visiting the island though. we had such a great time as a family, and i’m a big fan of enjoying the journey as well as the destination. i’m hoping that someday we’ll go back and experience more of those touristy trips, but for now the memories of red sand and breathtaking vistas are enough to satisfy me.

October 10, 2018 at 12:27 Leave a comment

GGE, part 2

if the adventures in my last post made you cringe, then i’m sorry/not sorry, because we continued to have more face-palming adventure even after arriving in nova scotia.

our first morning in NS, derek and i decided to go for a run. we’d spent days in the car, and just had a great night of sleep. what better way to explore? damien told us of a great path through the woods, and then went to work. derek and i laced up our sneakers and set off. the path was right where damien said it would be. and then there were more paths, and trees, and paths and trees… it was a bit of a tangle. we ran our 5k, and then started walking back.

i’m not sure at what point we realized we were lost. i mean, i’m pretty much always lost! derek is never lost. we don’t run with our phones, so, not only did we not have maps, but neither of us had memorized damien’s address or phone number.

long story, short (or short run, long): we were thoroughly lost in a strange province with no means of getting back. we walked for so long, looking for familiar landmarks. at one point we asked for help from a kind eastern stranger. he asked where we were going: “um, we don’t know”. he asked where we’d come from: “um, not sure.”

eventually we found a blue barn, which led us back towards the wooded path, which revealed my vibram 5-finger shoe print in the sand. we tracked my strange footprints backwards until 9km of wandering aimlessly after our run later, we found damien’s house.

plus side: the wild blackberries along the path were ripe for the picking and rather sustaining, damien had the best laugh of his life at our expense, and team gilmore became a cautionary tale for all future visitors.

the rest of the visit was more typical: lots of visiting, swimming in the pool, and a few touristy things like visiting the airforce museum, and walking on the ocean floor at lowest tide at a local hidden gem, baxter’s harbour.

i must say, the very best part of our trip was visiting friends. derek and i clearly don’t know how to vacation, but one thing we do right, is to make travelling more about the people than the destination. there’s just no value that can be placed on sustained and continued friendships!

this is my advice from lessons learned in NS:

  • always memorize the address and phone number of your home base.
  • people make the places.
  • locals have better recommendations than google.

August 26, 2018 at 15:04 Leave a comment

gilmores go east, 2018

we’re not great travellers, but we love to travel. a few years ago, we made our way out to newfoundland, but didn’t have time to stop in prince edward island. we’ve long-since regretted not being able to check the island off on our “canadian provinces visited” list.

we were planning to visit our buddy damien this summer at his new home in nova scotia, so we decided to add PEI to the list and declare the east coast done.

we’re travellers who travel with an extremely loose schedule, flexible directions, and no real plans beyond the destination. so when great stuff happens, we’re always pleasantly surprised!

i’m hoping to chronicle our trip on here, but it was 10 days long, and i’m not willing to write it all out in one go.

here are the highlights from the drive to NS:

we’ve been friends with steve and andrée-anne since 1998 or something ancient like that, and they just happened to be home briefly from their mission in cambodia and available to meet up. so good to catch up!

after a really rough night in which we brushed our teeth in a tim horton’s bathroom, then changed in a dark parking lot, then drove to a walmart where the 4 of us attempted to get comfortable for a partial night of sleep in the car; we stopped in grand falls new brunswick to stretch our legs and attempt to feel human again.

we also planned ahead and booked a hotel room for that very night, not willing to risk no vacancy again! the hike was beautiful, the exercise rejuvenating, and the frozen yoghurt satisfying (for the dairy-eating percentage of this family!).

we were only 2 days into the trip and we’d learned valuable lessons: plan a route! then book a hotel! and also, don’t travel on weekends unless we have to.

while i DO have amazing powers of being able to sleep anywhere, i sincerely hope that i never have to sleep in the hatch of my car in a walmart parking lot ever again (although i’m so thankful that sleep in a safe and dry environment was possible).

the trip could have been done in 2 days, but we took 3 so that we wouldn’t be exhausted (ha!). a great night of sleep and some good breakfast later, we were ready to finish the driving and see our friends in nova scotia!

we only made one more significant stop en route, and that was at famous magnetic hill. i don’t have any pictures of it, because the whole thing is nuts. derek has explained it to me about 20 times, but i don’t get it. regardless of the science vs magic debate, it was a great experience!

and then, we were there! rolling into damien & karissa’s driveway and seeing their excited kids who were way too big, was balm for the weary traveller’s soul.

but actually, it was a great drive despite my highlights in this post. the kids were amazing, the scenery was breathtaking. the spontaneous picnics, the quality conversations, and the shared aventures were a fabulous start to our trip!

August 23, 2018 at 17:18 Leave a comment

5 ingredient deodorant

hello friends!

this post has been a looooonnnnnnggggg time coming!

i gave up deodorant about 10 years ago after reading about all of the disgusting toxins that exist in most commercial brands. i wasn’t into making my own products yet at that point, so i just went without! eventally that became…. hmmmm…. unacceptable. haha. i needed to find a solution without exchanging my health for a social circle.


2 T arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)

1 T baking soda

1 T coconut oil

1 T shea butter

10 drops essential oil (i used orange)

melt the shea and coconut oils in a double-boiler. while they’re melting, measure out the dry ingredients into a bowl or mug. pour the melted oils into the dry ingredients, and mix them well. then add your preferred scent, mix, and pour into your storage container.

oh!!! i want to talk about this: please don’t buy dollar store cheapo plastic containers for all of your potions! the chemicals in the plastic leech into your “natural products”, and basically defeat the purpose of making your own. i use glass jam jars which can be purchased at canadian tire, amazon, or any department store once canning season starts. they’re reusable too!

as for application of the deodorant- yes, you have to actually use your finger to apply it, and it’s not weird. i mean, you already made the deodorant in your kitchen and are storing it in a jam jar– embrace the fact that it’s an alternate form of odour control with alternate forms of application.

as to the efficacy of the product? i love it! otherwise i wouldn’t share it. it doesn’t leave white marks on my dark clothing (apply AFTER getting dressed), and i don’t stink. it’s an “apply once a day and walk away” product.

let me know if you try this! i know several of you have been using my toothpaste recipe with great results, and i love hearing the feedback!

(LOCAL FRIENDS ONLY: as always, if you’re wanting to try this recipe but don’t want to buy the ingredients- just message me and i’ll give you a sample to try.)

March 16, 2018 at 12:16 Leave a comment

lipbalm DIY

hey guys. just jumping on here quickly to share my lipbalm recipe before my good intentions fall flat.

i love making my own products, not because they’re superior or cheaper or cleaner (although they are all of that). making my own products totally meshes with my “i hate shopping” and “i hate making decisions” personality. there’s no redeeming the number of hours i’ve lost to zombie-mode in the pharmaceutical aisles! plus, i’m a creative sort. playing with ingredients in my kitchen is so much more my speed.

here’s the recipe!

  • 20g beeswax
  • 20g coconut oil
  • 10g sweet almond oil
  • 12 drops wintergreen eo
  • 2 drops rosemary eo
  • 2 inches aloe vera

heat the first 3 ingredients in a double-boiler, and add in the last 3 before it cools and sets. really really easy! let me know if you have any questions!

January 16, 2018 at 12:38 Leave a comment


i wrote a lot last year about my new year’s resolutions, but the posts dwindled as the year progressed. so obviously my NYR to blog once a month, was a bust. here’s a break down of the 10 hopes & dreams i had for 2017:

  1. ✔️bible in a year: done, and doing it again this year- join me!
  2. ✖️blog each month: nope. i did well at the beginning of the year, but time is a speeding bullet.
  3. ✔️don’t waste: i feel like i did so well with this one! a lot of veggies were turned into stock, and i made a “leftovers bin” in the fridge to highlight what needed to be eaten. some foods sadly ended up in the compost bin. overall though, there was definite improvement and i’m calling it a success.
  4. ✔️meal planning: i got the whole family involved with picking meals to add to the menu, and made good use of the “click and collect” feature at my local grocery store. by far this was my favourite resolution of the year, as it didn’t use up my time, but rather saved it.
  5. ✖️woodworking: nah. this was a “good intentions” goal, but my life wasn’t ready for it yet.
  6. ✔️music: i practiced my flute ALOT this year! in the beginning my face hurt and i felt like i couldn’t breathe, but by the end of the year my fingers knew the notes without my having to look up charts online. if you remember, i had planned to reward myself with the purchase of a piccolo. i qualified for that reward, but piccolos are way more expensive than i thought! i might just reward myself with a tune-up on my old old flute.
  7. ✔️stretch: so good. i turned into one of those wierdos who HAD to stretch all the time regardless of the public situation, but my joints and sore muscles are very thankful for the success of this NYR.
  8. ✔️french: french netflix, podcasts, and duolingo got me through. i’m sitting at 61% fluent (according to duolingo), and i accidentally use french words in english conversation from time to time. i’m pleased with my progress so far, and can’t wait to be actually fluent some day.
  9. ✖️knit: maybe i did this one, maybe not. i dunno, i definitely didn’t do one every month, but i did make a lot of things. i just didn’t really keep track, so i don’t feel comfortable marking it as complete.
  10. ✖️home improvement: kind of the same as the knit goal– i did alot! sometimes 3 things a month, sometimes zero. so i don’t know if it averaged out sufficiently.

so i scored a 6 out of 10, and that’s better than any of my highschool grades. i still got a diploma at the end of HS though, so i’m calling 2017 a success. i learned a lot about myself through the successes and the failures, and i learned to keep it simple for 2018.

this year’s resolutions have to compete with another, longer goal that i’ve been working towards. i’ve always been goal-oriented, but flighty. so i’m returning to my monthly resolutions this year to keep me focused on my larger goal, while experiencing smaller victories month to month.

this post is getting long and wordy, so i’ll post about my 2018 goals in a separate entry. i just really hate movies/books/conversations that don’t give me closure, and leave me asking questions that can’t be answered (Inception, i’m looking at you👀), and i didn’t want to do the same thing on my blog.

how about you guys? did anyone make it through 2017 with a completed resolution (or ten)?

January 12, 2018 at 16:46 Leave a comment

family night

one of my sisters mentioned to me today, that i haven’t blogged since june. oops! my plan in january, was to blog once a month. the goal was to enjoy blogging again, but honestly, having a monthly expectation did more harm than good. i don’t like expectations placed on my creativity! i’m already a busy girl, and setting up a blogging schedule for myself just made writing feel like work.

there are a few blog posts that i’ve written mentally however, and one in particular that i’ve really been wanting to get out of my head to share with you.

several years ago, when the midgets were still very midgety, and derek and i had been working with teenagers long enough to know that sometimes families co-exist without relationships, we decided to “someday” have a weekly family night.

the pace of life picked up, then sped up, then snowballed out of control. we started to co-exist. it was time to actually do family night. here’s how it’s done:

step one: look at your calendars and pick one of the very few nights in your week when you can all be together. if you don’t have one day out of seven where you can be a family, then i suggest that you reprioritize and shuffle. once you have a day– set it in stone. issue an edict. make it law. nobody makes plans on that night.

step two/three/four… whatever. there’s really only one step (that’s why step one is the hardest and most important!)

everything else is up to you. this is how we do family night:

tacos. every single thursday. haha. tacos are one of our favourite meals, and everyone looks forward to thursday nights just for the food. your family can pick whatever meal(s) you want- just make it something that you can look forward to.

alternate planning: we take turns being responsible for what we do on family night. it really doesn’t have to be extravagant. sometimes we watch a movie, sometimes board games. derek does these really elaborate family nights where he basically turns our house into an escape room. elliot’s a fan of popcorn and the animated star trek series. i seriously get afraid when it’s anne’s turn to plan family night!

we take turns planning because we’re all different! with each of us taking turns being in control, we gain more insight into what our fellow family members are really great at, and where they find joy.

that’s the basic recipe, friends! time+food+creative freedom.

i know that we’re all in different seasons of life. i’m sure that the time will come when the kids have jobs that don’t have flexible schedules, or something will come up and we’ll just get out of the routine. *shrug* that’s life! but for NOW, in THIS season, derek and i have the amazing privilege of getting to know these not-so-little humans on a deeper level, and i’m embracing family night for as long as i’m able to.

i encourage you to give it a shot! carving out time isn’t easy, but you will never ever regret doing it!

October 25, 2017 at 12:29 Leave a comment

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