Nicola Valley British Columbia Canada including the City of Merritt, Lower Nicola, Quilchena and the surrounding First Nation lands.

Street Art in Merritt BC

Nicola Valley Arts Gallery Show “Street Art”, first show in 2021

Street Art is visual art created in public locations for public visibility.

Street Art Merritt BC

Merritt BC Street Art Show

Street art in Merritt BC just got a boost with the Art Show. For the last two weeks of January 2021 the community of Merritt and the Nicola Valley were invited to submit designs they thought would make good street art.

We collected over 40 pieces of art for us to consider for a street art project coming up. The City of Merritt, with their Beautification program, is working with the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council to bring art to the streets and buildings in Merritt.

Merritt is already known as a mural town.

Most of our murals have a country music theme.

We want to bring a variety of focuses, mediums, and sizes of street art to our community. So our art call out asked for designs and depictions of plants and animals common in our area, of humour, information/word art, abstracts…

Our Art Show was a good way to collect what people already have or was created especially for public art ideas. And it also allowed the public to come in and have an opinion on what they thought would make great street art in Merritt BC.

We have artists who’s art have already made it to the streets in Merritt and other towns, like Joel Reid.

Street Art Joel Reid

Joel Reid Street Artist

Our show consisted of paintings, sketches, mosaics, carvings, and photos.

Street Art Carving

Pat Tombe Carving Design

We talked about the process of turning the art into a design, small to large. And who would do it. It’ll take a team!

After we know the  possible spaces for designs and get the kinks worked out, then a group of volunteers from the NVCAC will get started on turning these ideas into a reality.  

We hope to have street art several projects completed this year. That’s the plan. And then locals and visitors can enjoy art around them when they are downtown in our community.

Street Art Mosaics

Ellen Miller Mosaics

We want the public art designs to have a wide appeal.

From the look of the art work we had in our show, the designs will appeal to a lot of people. From flowers to mandalas, from stepping stones to powwow scenes, there’s lots to choose from!

Street Art in Merritt BC from Indigenous artist Leonard George

Street Art Leonard George

Leonard George Mural Artist

Our Art Show visitors had a great response to a long and dynamic piece brought in by long time local Indigenous artist, Leonard George. We are hoping to get a space for a mural by Leonard soon, so his work can be a showpiece for the community.

Thanks to all artists and creatives!

Thanks to all who contributed art, and to all our visitors who came by the Gallery! The NV Arts Gallery and Gift Shop has now been in its new location, 2051 Voght Street, for four months! It’s a bright, accessible space.

And “Street Art” was a bright and colourful Art Show…

Street Art in Merritt

Phyllis Laage Street Art

Next show at our Gallery? “Art of Covid”! 

What have the members of our Nicola Valley community been doing over the last year of Covid, to keep their creativity alive?

The submissions are starting to come in…

Hope to see you there! February 3 – March 8/2021

Covid Protocols in place…

And read about our fall move to 2051 Voght Street, beside Kekuli Cafe.

Jano Howarth, Arts Gallery Director

Express Yourself!

Nicola Valley Arts Council

Get in touch! nicolavalleyartsgallery@gmail.com

Street Art in Merritt BC

Twin Willows Street Art Poster, Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

 

Artisans in Merritt

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Tire Shop in Merritt – Nicola Valley BC Canada Mechanics

Fountain Tire Merritt – Tire Service in the Nicola Valley

Tire shop and mechanic service in the valley of Merritt

Fountain Tire is a preferred tire shop in Merritt BC Canada. This local mechanic automotive service station takes care of commercial and light car and truck automotive repair. And of course Tires, lots of tires. Fountain tire Ltd (Merritt) opened in Merritt in 2008 by Larry Ruttan.

tire shop in merritt

Fountain Tire New Owners

In 2021 Jamie and Sheila Hatch will become the new owner/operators of Fountain Tire (Merritt) in British Columbia Canada. Jaime moved to Merritt from Drayton Valley, Alberta in 2018. He worked as assistant manager. Soon after Sheila and the kids followed.

Jaime is a red seal journeyman mechanic and has been in the industry for over 23 years. However, when he is not at work, he enjoys fishing, hunting and spending time with family. Therefore they have settled nicely into the Nicola Valley, so much so, they are members of the Merritt Speedway. Subsequently, their daughter, Megan, is a race car driver.

Merritt Speedway Stock Car Racing is well know in the Nicola Valley for its sense of community and family for over 30 years. The speedway is looking forward to when we can race again.

Sheila says, “The advantages of operating a tire shop in Merritt are that you meet so many different people from many walks of life. This community has a sense of family, everyone looks out for each other.”

fountain tire

Sheila continues with, “And for us, because Merritt has several highways coming into it, we are able to assist those who need help when travelling through our beautiful valley. We have had the pleasure of helping out the travelling talent that come for various music festivals that run each year. Never a dull moment and Oh ..the weather!”

tire man in merritt

Brandon Hatch of Fountain Tire Merritt Photo Credit: Sheila Hatch

Meet the Owners

Sheila and Jamie Hatch, the owner of Fountain Tire Shop in Merritt, and their son Brandon, are like most of us, surviving Covid-19 by planning to get involved in community events. In other words they are really putting themselves out there expressing that we are all on this road together.

Fountain Tire Staff

Communities need to stick together to survive hard times. There is strength in numbers. At the tire station they have 7 staff in addition to 2 more red seal journeyman mechanics. 

Tires For All Seasons

Whether you need tires for the highway, bush, logging truck or racing they have a wide assortment of quality tires. Tires for a range of budgets that best suit their customers. Fountain Tire in the community of Merritt BC is known to go the extra mile for their customers. Most importantly get them back on the road safely and in a timely manner.

Who is Fountain Tire?

Fountain Tire Ltd. is a Canadian company, founded in Wainwright, Alberta by Bill Fountain. The first store opened in 1956. As a result they have stores from B.C. to Ontario.

Contact Information

website: www.fountaintire.com
facebook: merrittfountaintire
email: f132@fountaintire.com
Phone: 250-378-2442

Tire Shop in Merritt

Nicola Valley Mechanic Station

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Art in Merritt BC

Art in Merritt BC was on the move in October 2020.

Let’s get artistic in Merritt 

Art Gallery in Merritt BC

2051 Voght St, Merritt BC

Art in Merritt BC at the Art Gallery and Gift Shop moved to 2051 Voght Street after almost 20 years at the old Courthouse on Nicola Avenue. The Nicola Valley Community Arts Council took the plunge and took over enough space in the heritage Jackson building to have an office, a Program Space, our Gift Shop and a Gallery Exhibition space.

After our move, Art in Merritt BC is Back in Action

Two weeks of moving and intense action to spiff up the place, and we were back in action. In a big way!

At least, for our restricted Covid 19 times. We are still waiting for a return to full workshops and music events. Even Friday night Open Mic is on hold!

"Twin

1st Art Show in the New Space on Voght Street

On Oct 15/20, we held our first Art Show in our new space in Merritt BC,  “Art for the Love of It”. Prolific local Artist Jean Kiegerl filled the walls with her work, past and present. Joining her was the creative stained glass duo Glenn and Susan Parkinson of Twin Willows.

The Gift Shop space, adjoining the Gallery, was full of artisan work, from pottery to weavings, so there was lots to look at! Locals and visitors flocked in, masked and socially distant. We doubled our usual show numbers!

Art and Music Reception

A week into the Art Show we held a Reception, held over 6 hours and by invitation, to manage the social interaction we are used to at our events. And for only the 2nd time this Covid year, we enjoyed live Reception music. This time Paul Mozin and Desiree Dunbar played us a little jazz. (I would do that again!)

Music in Merritt BC

Art Show Reception with Paul Mozin and Desiree Dunbar

Shop local!

In mid November, when our first Art Show in our new digs came to

Winter Art Show, Merritt BC

Winter Artisan Show

an end, we switched up to our 5th Winter Artisan Show.

30 local artists and artisans filled the whole spacious space with gifts- practical, creative, fun and beautiful works. And in a year when there were no craft fairs to go to,  we had a flow of people in for the weeks leading up to Christmas Eve.

Who’s who at our Arts Council?

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I really want to talk about the people in the Arts Council, and all our artists and artisans! We have a motivated group making decisions in our Nicola Valley Community Arts Council. It was a lot of work and decision making to get us down to our new space from the old Courthouse. For now, I’ll just send kudos out to everyone who made this move, this change, happen.

Thanks everybody!

Active Arts in Merritt BC, 2021

We are looking forward to an active Arts year here in the Nicola Valley! For more on our NVCAC and Art in Merritt BC, visit here.

After a short holiday break, we are open again January 8th, 2021!

Our extended hours are Wednesday to Saturday, 11-6pm

Sunday 12-4pm

NVAC Facebook and Instagram

NVAC Gallery Facebook

Thanks for stopping by! Jano Howarth

Remember…Express yourself!

Art Gallery in Merritt BC

Merritt BC Art

Art Show “Art for the Love of It”

"<yoastmark

 Merritt, BC, Canada

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“Santa Claus” and Christmas in Merritt BC

A Nicola Valley Christmas with Santa from the North Pole

“Twas the Night Before Christmas and all through Merritt …”

Christmas in Merritt BC Canada is coming up and Santa Claus is busy looking over his naughty & nice list in preparation for the big night. It has truly proven to be a very difficult year for keeping off the Naughty List too. Therefore Santa is checking it twice to find out who has been naughty or nice. In doing so, Santa was very pleased with the children of the Nicola Valley, as well as, the Experience Nicola Valley Bloggers in their efforts of bringing good cheer into the homes of Merrittonians throughout the year.  

Christmas in Merritt BC

Santa checking the Naughty and Nice List twice from Santa’s Village in the North Pole

Mrs. Claus started Christmas in Merritt BC 

Christmas in Merritt BC started with Mrs. Claus accompanied by some poking and prodding from the Elves. One night talking with Santa, Mrs Claus was sharing some of the things she was reading about in the letters from Nicola Valley children. Meanwhile, the snickering Elves nearby hanging the Reindeer stockings were encouraging Mrs. Claus to take a Nicola Valley vacation. So she looked it up on ExperienceMerritt.com to learn more. She was hooked. 

Mrs. Claus Pays It Forward 

Mrs. Claus wanted to get a positive feel for Christmas in Merritt BC Canada. So she visited  the “Walk of Stars”, the Downtown Shops and some of the children, who are now adults, operating small businesses in Merritt during Covid 19. On her list was Blacks’ Pharmacy, Miss Vicki’s Petal and Plants, Planet Hair and Spa, Community Futures Nicola Valley and the City of Merritt Mayor, Linda Brown. 

Christmas in Merritt BC Must Go On

The Elves, the reindeer, Santa and Mrs. Claus all realize first hand how the children miss meeting with Santa Claus due to Covid19. Because of the pandemic Santa could not do his annual rounds visiting all the children throughout the world. Santa decided, based on the feedback from Mrs. Claus’ visit to the Nicola Valley, that Christmas in Merritt BC must go on!

christmas in merritt

Santa and Mrs. Claus discussing Christmas in Merritt BC

Interview with Santa and Mrs. Claus

Santa and Mrs. Claus agreed to provide Experience Nicola Valley a 1/2 hour interview on our community talk show called Nicola Valley Talk. Lucky me! I, Tania Stewart, was the host of that episode on Nicola Valley Talk which had Santa and Mrs. Claus as a special guest! They shared so many things during our interview about Santa’s Village, the North Pole, the reindeer, the mischievous Elves and Xmas Eve. Watch the interview below. 

Letters from Nicola Valley Children

After much consideration Mrs. Claus and Santa, along with their 90 thousand elves, decided to grant the Nicola Valley Talk Show an additional episode so they could answer the letters from Nicola Valley children live online. In addition, they would invite a few children online to talk and chat with Santa on a video call live from the North Pole in Northern Canada. We received letters and some video submissions too, making for great stories and answers.

We all know that  Mrs.. Claus runs the show in the North Pole. Without her,  Santa would truly be lost. Of course Mrs. Claus did all her research on the ExperienceNicolaValley.com and ExperienceMerritt.com websites! Notably she searched Merritt BC  Things To Do on Google and the Experience Nicola Valley and Experience Merritt websites came up 3 times on the first page! 

“They must be the community experts Experience Nicola Valley Bloggers. And I was right!” Mrs. Claus.

Meanwhile back at the North Pole 

Then there are the Elves who are dedicated and work tirelessly to make sure Christmas is special. In our discussions, we met the two head Elves, Alex and Daniel.  These two had it all together. Therefore they were in charge of feeding the Reindeer, building toys, and assisting Mrs. Claus with the banking so to provide Santa with his cookies.  

christmas in merritt bc elves

The Head Elves, Alex and Daniel, helping out at the North Pole.

“In the light of  all the work that Santa’s Elves do throughout the year. They are just so jolly and full of spunk.” Melvina White

To point out these are the 5 most asked questions from children as well as adult’s to Santa Claus. 

  1.  -“Do you remember when Santa and you got me a XXXXX when I was 6?”
  2. – “Is Xmas cancelled because of COVID?”
  3. – “Can the reindeer really fly?”
  4. – “How does Santa get down the chimney?”
  5. – “Are there really such things as Elves?”

Santa in 2021

We sure do hope to have Santa back next year on the show to answer and chat live with Nicola Valley children. 

Christmas in Merritt BC Canada

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Winter Activities in Merritt BC

Outdoor Winter Activities in The Nicola Valley

Getting outdoors and enjoying the crisp cold air is exhilarating to say the least.

Winter activities in Merritt BC – Albeit we all want to hunker down during the winter months and hibernate, sit back and wait for spring. Truth be told Winter is one of my favourite seasons to become more active and enjoy Outdoor Winter Activities in the Nicola Valley. Although nothing compares to swimming in a lake in the summer, ice fishing on that very lake in the winter is an “AHA moment”. Winter Activities in Merritt BC is an outdoors enthusiasts dream scape. Here in the Nicola Valley there is a winter activity for everyone to enjoy. Get outside and Experience Nicola Valley!

Winter Activities in Merritt BC.

Snowshoeing in Merritt.

 Winters in Merritt, BC, Canada

Snowmobiling on Tyme Mountain – Winters in Merritt, BC, Canada.

Let us begin with cross-country skiing and snowshoe winter activities in Merritt BC.

Importantly and ideally the best place is” Kane Valley” for xc skiing and snowshoeing. It is only located 18 kms south of Merritt, BC, Canada. ExperienceMerritt.com points out that the Kane Valley enjoys a base elevation of 1160 metres (3800 feet). The timbered valley has a micro-climate that can provide ideal Nordic skiing conditions. The snow is generally dry, seldom more than 1 to 1.5 metres deep, and the air temperature is usually between 0 and -15 degrees Celsius throughout the winter. The best winter access to the ski areas is along the Kane Valley road which joins Highway 5A/97C near Corbett Lake, 18 kilometers south of Merritt. 

Winter Activities in the Nicola Valley.

Cross country skiing Kane Valley. Photo by

merritt cross country skiing - kane valley

Cross country skiing on the Kane Valley Trails

Snowshoes are welcome also at Kane Valley. Outdoor Winter Activities in The Nicola Valley.

Snowshoeing winter style. Photo by Bonnie Kittle.

Furthermore with Covid19 and self-distancing there has been an increase with people getting back outdoors and enjoying nature. Albeit cross-country skis can be cumbersome to younger children, snowshoes are much easier to navigate and you will forget you are wearing them.  

Now let us look at Snowmobiling. Outdoor Winter Activities in The Nicola Valley.

Snowmobiling is an outdoor winter activity everyone can enjoy in The Nicola Valley. While experiencing the crisp air and boundless trails. Snowmobiling in the surrounding  Nicola Valley is an outdoor enthusiasts dream. Snowmobiling in Merritt BC can be the ride of your life, as stated by EH Canada Travel.

“Come and experience a snowmobiling paradise in Merritt BC, Canada. From rolling hills, groomed trails to immense peaks our snow-covered landscapes offer a variety of snowmobiling adventures for all ages, abilities and desires.”

snowmobiling on Helmer Lake

One of the great winter activities around Merritt, BC.

Snowmobiling on Tyme Mountain - Winters in Merritt, BC, Canada

Snowmobiling on Tyme Mountain – Winters in Merritt, BC, Canada.

Ice Fishing truly an Outdoor Winter Activity in The Nicola Valley.

Ice fishing is not for the weak at heart. In other words having to deal with the wind, cold, wet feet and even picking the wrong drilling spots can be trying for some. However, ice fishing is a winter delight for many who enjoy fishing as a hobby. This is an activity anyone can enjoy, whether being a beginner or a pro. On the other hand, when the fish are not biting, make it a family day of fun with a hotdog roast and gooey smores. Lastly, make sure to check the depth of the ice. Safety is key! Need more information on ice fishing, go to “Getting Started for Ice Fishing.

Where to Ice Fish in the Nicola Valley?

Nicola Lake located 13km from Merritt is a favourite for ice fishing. Chicken Ranch Lake, another lake, offers great fishing for Brook Trout. The fish average in size around 1 lb but can reach up to 3 to 4 lbs. Alleyne Lake (near Merritt) fishes Kokanee. Generally speaking ice fishing usually starts in mid December as the colder weather brings over 6 inches of hard ice. Along with the fish still feeding because of the high oxygen levels in the water. Ideal ice fishing time!

Photo courtesy of Freshwater Fisheries Society.

What about Tobogganing? Truly a Winter Activity enjoyed in Merritt BC.

Surely one of the best tobogganing is just before Lundbom Lake. With easy access for cars this is an ideal place with some amazing hills to toboggan down. It is an outdoor adventure with a picnic. A historical fact – the toboggan was originally used as transportation by the Inuit and First Nations groups of Canada. Moreover do not forget the hot chocolate! 

Star Gazing outdoor winter activities in The Nicola Valley.

Star Gazing during the winter months in the Nicola Valley is ideal. Because it is a smaller community there is little-to-no light pollution to cover the stars at night. In effect the Nicola Valley is one of the best location for avid star gazers. Thus if you are a pro star gazer or a beginner this is your destination place.  

Star Gazing. Photo by Alessandro Viaro.

Winter Activities in Merritt.

Photo courtesy of Calwaen Liew.

Winter Activities in Merritt BC.

Winter Moon. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Even more there is Winter Hiking! 

Hiking Kentucky Lake.

Okay now let us talk about winter time hiking. Merritt is situated in a valley surrounded by mountains with an abundance of mountain trails. Makes for an ideal spot for all levels of hiker’s who like a challenge or just a hour stroll.

In addition the Nicola Valley offers trails that wrap around majestic lakes. Check out Kentucky Lake which offers a scenic hike around it’s lake. Assuredly the Nicola Valley has a wide variety of hiking trails available for all hiking abilities. Iron Mountain located just off highway 97C,  enjoys a 4k trek to the top. Worth the views.

Winter Hiking. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Hiking trails in Merritt. Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart.

Tom Lacey Memorial Trail. Located close to downtown Merritt. Truly a fun family hike. Then there is Sugarloaf Mountain which starts at Lundbom Lake. Follow the access road to Hamilton Lake, gives  you the most direct access to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain,

Winter in Merritt BC 

Winter activities in Merritt BC are numerous.  Getting outdoors and enjoying the crisp cold air is exhilarating to say the least. As previously stated winter in the Nicola Valley offers ice fishing, tobogganing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, hiking, and star gazing. Further more Merritt has numerous Hotel accommodations for travelers along with a great selection of downtown shops with fine eateries for all. Let us bring back skating on lakes what about outdoor hockey with masks.  

Winter in Merritt, BC, Canada

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Arts in Merritt on the Move

New Location for the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council

The Arts Will Grow

After 15 years at the Old Courthouse Gallery on Nicola Ave (Hwy8), the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council and the Old Court House Gallery have the arts on the move in Merritt, BC.  In 2005 the Old Courthouse was purchased by a local doctor  with the idea of  turning it into a cultural space,  which would provide a home to the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council, a music society and a dance studio.  However the Council has decided it is time to move on.

Old Courthouse Gallery

Old Courthouse Gallery – Bev Veale Painting

The Old Court House Gallery

The Old Court House was a major step forward for the Arts Council because for many years they had no permanent home.  At this time,  their major project was the Performing Arts Series which brought many great musical concerts to town. The visual arts were handled by the Nicola Valley Visual Artists where Community art displays were generally relegated to their annual Art Show which was held at the Merritt Civic Centre. It was therefore, not necessary to have a permanent home Fortunately the Courthouse allowed the Community Arts Council to have a bigger presence in the community.  For example, the current Arts Gallery Director, Jano Howarth gives a summary of the many activities carried out at this venue.

Arts in Merritt BC on the Move

The Courthouse building was sold and so that made the future use of the building uncertain. Consequently the Arts Council determined that the time was right to investigate a new location. Ultimately they were looking for a space that had high visibility, in the downtown core and large enough to provide gallery space, program space and an artisan shop.  As a result their search led them to the Jackson Building (for the old timers, the Post building for us newbies) at the corner of Voght and Nicola. 

Arts in Merritt BC

Arts on the Move – New Home of Nicola Valley Community Arts Council

The New Home Fits the Bill for Arts in Merritt

Location was one of the primary considerations in the move.  As such this makes  the building on the corner of the main

entrance to downtown at the corner of Voght and Nicola, the perfect location.

Gallery Space, Program Space and an Artisan Shop

The New Gallery

The new gallery is bright and airy and therefore is a great space for showing  off the Artists’ work.

The New Gallery for arts in merritt bc

The new Gallery

 

Program Space

Space for programs was important as this is an area that the Council wants to expand on.  Currently the picture shows the size of the room that will be used for programs but does not reflect the current condition of the space as this was taken before the move was complete.  However,  you can see that there is ample space.

New Activity Room

New Activity Room

Artisan Shop

The Artisan Shop has benefited from the new location.  While in the Old Courthouse it was tucked away in a back room and was out of site, in the new space it is front and centre and therefore, has more space to display the contributions of over 20 Nicola Valley artisans and crafters.

Artisan Shop for arts in merritt bc

Artisan Shop

Therefore the new location looks like it will be a great success for the community at large and in particular our local network of artists.

Arts on the Move – The First Show

Consequently, the opening show in the new space features Jean Kiegerl and Twin Willows Glass Arts.

Meet Jean Kiegerl

Jean Kiegerl

Because of  her leadership and with a strong group of volunteers the Arts Council has flourished. Currently, her legacy is  being carried on by the new Arts Council president, Mischelle Pierce.

 Jean is also a family friend, as  my wife and her spend many hours together painting and collaborating.  As a result, I like her work so much I have one of her originals hanging in my hall.

Quiilchena Falls-Jean Kiegerl Painting

Quilchena Falls – Jean Kiegerl Painting

 

Jean has produced work in water colours, acrylics and now oils which she prefers.

“I love the vibrant colours you can get with oil paints”—Jean Kiegerl

Clearly this can be seen in her painting of the red sports car that is on the poster for the show.

Red Car

Red Car-Jean Kiegerl Painting

Twin Willows Glass Arts

Glen and Susan Parkinson are the creative minds behind Twin Willows Glass Arts. They have been producing great work out of their studio for more than eight years.  Incidentally they work in a variety of styles which includes, leaded stained glass, fractured glass on glass mosaics and fused glass.

Panda-Twin Willows Glass Arts

Panda-Twin Willows Glass Arts

Arts on the Move in Merritt, BC will be a Success!

Lastly, with this new location, a heightened enthusiasm by the volunteers and with a high visibility location the future looks bright.

Old Courthouse Gallery Contact Info

Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

2051 Voght St, Merritt, BC

New Hours Wednesday to Saturday

12 noon to 6 pm

Sunday 12-4pm

(beginning Oct 21st)

nicolavaleyartsgallery@gmail.com

Phone 250-315-3437

Or text 250-315-3437

 

Arts in Merritt BC

Nicola Valley Art Gallery is Born

 

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School Snack Ideas and Recipes

My Best 5 School Snack Ideas!  

Being a mama of 7,  our house runs on snacks. I  hope you enjoy my 5 back to school snack ideas! Nutritious and delicious. 

 So this week I decided to share with you our school snack ideas! Consequently it is back to school season. Therefore it is a great time to share school snack ideas that my family comes back to again and again. I think these snacking suggestions would be great for anyone, home schooled or public schooled. Assuredly these are some great options if you are hungry and need something to tie you over until your next meal.

Plant Based School Snack Ideas

I love using plant based treats for snack time. These snacks come loaded with healthy grains,  nuts and seeds. Add  in healthy fats like coconut oil or delicious nut butters and you have a sticky and satisfying snack time. In conclusion I feel these plant based snacks have all  the makings for the perfect school snack. 

school snack ideas in Merritt

School Snack Idea #1 Chocolate Hummus

Hummus is a great one to lead with for school snack ideas. A different spin on a good classic staple. Hummus is great any time of the year. I love keeping a batch fresh and ready to spread on tortillas or rice cakes. That is where chocolate hummus comes into play. Decadent and dark, enjoyed with fresh fruit or pretzels this is a crowd pleaser. In addition to dates being a sneaky health building sidekick, binder and tasty thickener – they are high in fiber and may promote brain health. Which makes them a easy go-to for an after school snack.

Hummus

Unexpectedly Yummy

Chocolate Hummus Recipe

1 Can Chick Peas ( microwave for 3 mins to cook) 

6 Dates (more or less – depending on how much sweetness you are looking for)

1/2  Cup Cocoa Powder 

1/4 Cup Honey or Maple Syrup

Pinch of Sea Salt 

1/4 Cup Tahini Paste ( If you do not have any of this on hand, you could always use peanut butter or maybe almond butter)

Blend in your food processor  taste and enjoy! I recommend trying this a few times before you say you love it or hate it. It does have a “beany” taste some may pick up on. But I would say, don’t give up on it if they first batch is a bust. In conclusion I know my kids love this now. But did take some effort to warm up to the idea. I am ecstatic I can add it to my school snack idea rotations.

School Snack Idea #2 Fruit, Veggies & Protein

School snack ideas is not complete with out these three. For example, I keep fruit and veggies stocked up in this house. I was recently listening to the audio book “Atomic Habits” and in the book the author was talking about replacing cookies to fruit in your cookie jar. This was something I did years ago when my kids were little. I counted this as a win. 

Easy Kid Meals snacking

Un-Bear-Ably Cute

Previously, the sight of the cookie jar made me want a cookie.  Or my toddler would want a cookie. Since replacing the “cookie” with fruit. Our eating habits have improved as well as our waistlines. For us a easy protein is always nut butters or hummus. In addition a small handful of almonds or walnuts is also a great way to get some healthy fats and protein. This un-bear-ably cute snack was created with sliced “banana pennies”, peanut butter and tasty blue berries. 

School Snacks ideas for kids

Fun Food Kids Will Ask For Again & Again

Snack Idea #3 Treat balls

School snack ideas cant be complete with out these super simple and easy to do treats. I love making a huge batch of these and enjoying some right away. But then also tucking the rest away in the freezer. Perfect for when a sugar craving hits, or you need some easy protein after a work out or intense trip or as a reward for not buying the cookies you were eyeing at the supermarket. I personally love to use them as a way to get our daily flax seed intake in. Flax is delicate and can loose effectiveness if heated to high temperatures . So I feel the best way to enjoy it is either in a fresh smoothie or eating in a raw tasty treat ball. I like to store my flax in the freezer for freshness, it can go rancid if left in the cupboard for too long. 

Snack Idea #4 My Home Made Granola Bars

These are a great school snack idea! Granola bars always are a hit! They are perfect for adding into lunches or ready to go when you want to hit the trails and go on an adventure. So easy to have it ready for when you need some quick and easy inexpensive energy. I have made these bars for years. And have played around with different flours. You can always add an extra egg or add more apples sauce or even a banana if you use a flour that is more dense like whole wheat or spelt. 

Healthy Kid Snacks for school

Healthy Kid Snacks

Jens Granola Bars Recipe

2 1/2 Cups of rolled oats                                        

1 cup of flour

1/3 cup of brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup of apple sauce 

1 cup of ground flax seed

pinch of sea salt 

1/2 cup of honey

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

1 cup of  either trail mix, chocolate chips, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, raisins and white chocolate chips, dried fruit. 

Oven; 350 degrees F ( 175 degrees C)

Kid Approved School Snacks Ideas

Granola Bars Are Always A Treat!

Stir oats, flour and ground flax seeds, brown sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add your egg, honey, apple sauce, vanilla. Stir until evenly combined. Pour mixture into a 9X13-inch baking dish, pat down and smooth evenly . Bake in pre-heated oven until golden and set. About 25 mins. 

Snack Idea #5 Roasted Chick Peas 

Simple Snacking for Toddlers

Easy for little fingers to handle also.

These are a great after school snack. Chickpeas are high in protein and fiber, and offer a good dose of iron while stabilizing your blood sugars. So all in all a great snack to reach for in the afternoon. I love to make a big batch of these and add to snack time or as a side to our lunches. These are super yummy sprinkled over salads here are a few recipe ideas to get you as excited for these as I am. I always bake mine in the oven, But I could see owning something like an air fryer might be pretty great for this healthy treat! 

Roasted Chick Peas school snack ideas

A tasty snack.

Doritos – This looks like a tasty option if you have a craving for chippies but gotta cut back. 

Basic  – This is an easy basic recipe to get you started. 

Cinnamon Sugar  – If you are looking for a healthier option for a sweet treat. This is also a tasty way to enjoy! 

Ketchup – We call our chickpeas “nibbles” due to using this cookbook. The ketchup version is so delicious. We have a bunch of ketchup lovers in this house so this satisfies the craving asap! 

In conclusion

 I hope you enjoyed my mash up of some of our favorite school snack idea’s! Its exciting to be blogging with the Experience Nicola Valley Bloggers! We are always so thankful when you stop by.  If your curious about getting to know me and my family a little more you can read this post. To learn how we do life with a large family. And you are always welcome to follow along with us on Instagram.

Login Lake BC Canada

Recipes for School Snacks

Recipes, ingredients and directions for 5 snacking ideas for school. 

 

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Merritt BC Birdwatching & Wildlife Watching from Home

Photo’s of Nature  During Covid19 Merritt Canada

“From my home, my backyard, there is a whole world of activity opening up to my eyes that I may have taken for granted before Covid 19.”  

 

Merritt BC birdwatching and wildlife watching from my backyard in the Nicola Valley has really opened my eyes up to how fortunate we are as Merrittonians.  However, being isolated during Covid19 may make a person a bit “Bat Crazy” therefore finding things to do can be tricky especially when you have children. 

Merritt BC birdwatching through Photography

Grab your camera, phone or art paint and head outdoors into Mother Nature is one option to consider. Almost every day I spend a couple of hours taking photo’s of nature during Covid19 in Merritt, Canada.” I like to experience the beauty of the Nicola Valley backyard “Critters” during isolation through photography.

Not Merritt BC Birdwatching

Happy Squirrel that loves to living in Canada. Photo by Tania Stewart

Enjoying Merritt nature during isolation.

Finding things to occupy yourself during this time can be trying at times. I combine my passion for photography and nature to be my therapy during the pandemic. Consequently, I often find myself wandering my backyard for a photo moment. Admittingly I am not a pro at taking photos, but these pictures will forever be a reminder of this time in my life.  

Albeit when standing guard for your peanuts! 

Photo's of Nature Nature During Covid19 Merritt, Canada.

Photo’s of Nature During Covid19 Merritt, Canada. Merritt Nature During Isolation. Photo by Tania Stewart

merritt bc birdwatching

Hanging on. Nature Around My Yard During Isolation. Photo by Tania Stewart

birdwatching in merritt bc canada

Backyard Feeding Nature During Covid19 Merritt. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Types of squirrels

Canada is home to 22 different types of squirrels. Six of these are ground-dwelling, four live in trees, and two are varieties of flying squirrels. Can you count flying squirrels as Merritt BC birdwatching? Probably not. Common ground squirrels have thin tails and hibernate through winter, while bushy-tailed tree squirrels are active year-round.

Life as a Squirrel

Tree squirrels build nests, living amongst branches and within tree hollows. Ground squirrels do the opposite. They dig  burrows to reside underground. All squirrels use their tails for shade during warm weather, warmth during the winter, and balance when climbing or jumping. Here is a link to learn more about squirrels –  Backyard friends.

Photo's of Nature Nature During Covid19 Merritt, Canada.Merritt

Fast n Furious! Photo by Tania Stewart

They help plant trees

While they can be a nuisance to gardeners thanks to their fondness for flower bulbs, squirrels play an important role in forest regeneration.  As winter approaches, squirrels prepare by burying nuts and seeds to help see them through. Inevitably, some of their stash will be forgotten and germinate in the spring.

backyardPhoto's of NatureWaiting its turn for the birdfeed. Photo by Tania 
merritt bc birdwatching

Spring is here! Robins are back. Image Tania Stewart

 

The crow family (Corvidae) is a large family of birds that includes jackdaws, choughs, jays, magpies and nutcrackers as well as crows and ravens. The crow family represents one of the most advanced stages of avian evolution, showing, for example, a highly developed intelligence and a complex social organization. 

Photo's of Nature Nature During Covid19 Merritt, Canada.Crowmerritt.

Standing guard over his nest. Image Tania Stewart.

Caw to the Crow.

Crows will jointly defend space with a lifelong mate and displays their status with the rest of the flock, as well as, warns all fellow crows when danger is afoot. Furthermore, here is another interesting fact,  crows recognize human faces!

birds of merritt bc canada

My friendly Crow. Image Tania Stewart.

OK I admit I love Crows!

crows are birds too

Image Tania Stewart.

Merritt BC Canada backyard birdwatching includes Robins!

Robins feed extensively on insects, insect larvae and earthworms but also consume fruits and berries in season and are considered bird pests in many areas. The robin is widely found in many parts of Canada. Birdwatchers tell us the robin is migratory in most parts of the country however, it may winter or attempt to winter in some of the southern parts of most provinces. 

When you spot a “Robin” spring is here! Tania Stewart

Merrittrobins

Welcome back! Image Tania Stewart

The call of the Morning Doves

The mourning dove gets its name from its low, mournful “ooo-Ahhh crooo-ooo-ooo” call, though other calls include a low, rapid coo when in distress and a rapid, high wing whistle when the birds take flight.

birdwatching in nicola valley

Apples are great! Image Tania Stewart

It’s a Birds Paradise! 

backyrad birdwatching in merritt

Waiting for feed. Image Tania Stewart

Taken in some shade! Image Tania Stewart

During Covid19. All bird feeders are open.

birding in merritt

Backyard friends. Image Tania Stewart

merritt birdwatching

Two legged prowler! Image taken by Tania Stewart

birdwatching in the nicola valley

Birds are always singing. Image Tania Stewart

 

Deer are always welcome to visit during Covid19.

Being a deer is an even-toed ungulate, deers are grazers  and browsers (eating shrubs and woody plants). Deer also have a four-chambered stomach making them ruminants. The process of ruminal fermentation allows deer to partially digest complex carbohydrates that other mammals cannot – this means that almost all vegetation is available to deer as a food source.

deermerritt

Image taken by Tania Stewart.

Furthermore Oliver

Oliver the cat truly enjoys being outside and birdwatching in my backyard here in Merritt BC.

Oliver loves the Outdoors! Image taken by Tania Stewart.

To tell the truth even Oliver takes in the sights with wonderment! Tania Stewart

Additionally you may run into this little critter!

As a result of using high zoom, I was able to capture this cool creature. Consequently,  those green looking leaves are decorative Christmas fur on the outside railing of my home. Got to just love Insects.

Small but adorable. Image taken by Tania Stewart.

Nature During Covid19 in  Merritt, Canada

This is how I find some balance during this time during the pandemic. Therefore, almost every day I spend a couple of hours during the day taking photos.

Merritt BC Birdwatching

Wildlife Watching from Home

Adventures and activities in British Columbia Canada

 

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Outdoor Berry Picking in Merritt BC

Picking Berries in the Nicola Valley, Spring, Summer and Fall 

Outdoor family fun while picking berries around Merritt BC

 

As a consequence of the Nicola Valley’s dry climate we have many  berries 

Outdoor Berry Picking in Merritt BC –  Celebrate this time of year with your family and head out on a wild berry picking adventure in Merritt BC. Harvesting wild berries can strengthen your connection to the land and it is a great opportunity to be active outside with family and friends. Not to mention how great those berry’s will taste, after all everything tastes so much better when you’ve harvested it with your own hands. First Nation traditional foods in Merritt and throughout the Nicola Valley consisted of berries like Saskatoon berries, huckleberries, choke cherries and soap berries. So many Canadian Berries! Outdoor berry picking around the Nicola Valley can make a bad day into a good day one berry at a time. 

“A picking here, a picking there, here a pick, there a pick, everywhere a pick-pick.” Berry quotes.

Outdoor Berry Picking Merritt BC.

Can you almost taste it? Photo by Tania Stewart.

Outdoor Berry Picking Merritt BC.

My favourite, raspberry! Photo Tania Stewart.

Strawberry’s along with Raspberry’s Make For Good Outdoor Berry Picking Merritt BC

Albeit summer is truly a time of picking fresh berries. Whether in your garden or in the wild. Eating faster than you pick,  hands stained with juice, and smiles of enjoyment. Hard to imagine, but you can enjoy the ancestors of our modern-day ruby red strawberries in our wild meadows, roadsides, woods and coastline. British Columbia has native strawberries throughout, just waiting for you to pick and enjoy their a burst of sweet flavour.  

Outdoor Berry Picking Around The Nicola Valley, Spring, Summer and Fall

https://curious.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/native-strawberries-wild-ancestors-of-our-delicious-cultivated-fruit/

Outdoor family fun time picking wild berries around Merritt BC 

You can find wild strawberries almost everywhere in our province except in Haida Gwaii (the Queen Charlotte Islands), though it is much more common in the interior than along the coast. Indeed almost any open habitat, except bogs, supports wild strawberries, but the most favoured habitat has to be the open roadside, where clearing and scraping have created an ideal growing environment.

https://curious.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/native-strawberries-wild-ancestors-of-our-delicious-cultivated-fruit/

Wild strawberries make excellent jam as well the leaves can be used for anti-diarrhea. but getting enough berries is a challenge.

Outdoor Berry Picking Around The Nicola Valley, Spring, Summer and Fall

Canned Jam. Photo Tania Stewart.

Outdoor Fun Time Berry Picking in Merritt BC.

Leaf form and texture are helpful in identifying native strawberries. Many teeth typically line the edge of strawberry leaflets. Wild strawberry leaflets are often bluish green and the terminal tooth of each leaflet is usually shorter (smaller) than or equal to adjacent teeth. Wood strawberry has a terminal tooth that is larger and longer than adjacent teeth. Wood strawberry leaflets tend to be a bit softer and more yellowish than wild strawberry leaflets.

If you like to pick berries. Then you’ll want to know how to identify a few of these tasty treats. Tania Stewart.

Red Current Berries.

Firstly Red Current Berries can easily be identified due to their bright translucent red. Secondly , they are sour but palatable, even more sour than black currant’s. Thirdly, plant’s are about waist high. They tend to be growing in swamps, moist coniferous forests and rocky mountain slopes. Bring your bug spray along with H2O on every berry picking adventure.

Flowering/Red/Black – The berries, flowers and leaves are all edible. The berries make a great sauce for duck especially when combined with oranges as a marmalade.

Outdoor Berry Picking Around The Nicola Valley, Spring, Summer and Fall

Red Current.. the blossoms are tasty too.

Wild Blueberry

Additionally, wild blueberries are smaller than the commercial berries, but very delicious. Wild blueberry can be confused with blue huckleberries, but both are edible. Throw some of these tasty berries into your salad. Blueberries are the king of antioxidant foods, low in calories but high in nutrients. May help protect against aging and cancer. It is hard to argue with the strength of the “Blueberry”.

Blueberries.

Not to mention 

Berries have been an important part of First Nations and Aboriginal culture in BC for thousands of years. They have been used for both food and medicine. As a food, wild berries are nutritious and delicious. They can be eaten out of hand, tossed into a salad, added to baked goods, or be turned into jam or jelly. Bannock slathered with wild blueberry jam! Can you taste it now.

Saskatoon Berries

Saskatoon berries.

Berries are wild

Wild berries thrive in many different climates throughout Canada Eh.  They’re packed with nutrients and powerful plant compounds. Though wild berries can be tart, they’re quite versatile and can be enjoyed in many ways. Wild huckleberries grow in mountainous regions, forests, bogs, and lake basins in Northwestern America and Western Canada. The berries are small and either red, blue, or black. Ripe huckleberries are fairly sweet with a little tartness.

What about Choke Cherries?

First Nation traditional foods in Merritt and throughout the Nicola Valley consisted of berries like Saskatoon berries, huckleberries, choke cherries and soap berries. Gerome Garcia.

Chokecherries I picked. Photo by Gerome Garcia

In Conclusion.

Come enjoy our sunshine and outdoor berry picking around Merritt BC. Celebrate this time of year with gathering up your family and head out on a wild berry picking adventure. Harvesting wild berries can strengthen your connection to the land and is a great opportunity to be active outside with family and friends. Not to mention how great those berry’s will taste, after all everything tastes so much better when you’ve harvested it with your own hands.  

When berry picking there are a few rules you should follow. Firstly, leave no trace behind. Secondly, do not pick if you do not identify the species of berry. There are berries which are not safe to eat. Know the difference. Lastly, bears like berries too. Always be bear aware when picking berries in the backcountry. 

Berry Picking in Merritt BC

Adventures and activities in British Columbia Canada

 

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Gardening in Merritt BC

Butchart Gardens Lookout!

Prepare for the Spring

Gardening in Merritt, BC, Canada can be very rewarding as you take a boring property to the heights of beauty. While the Butchart Gardens, just outside of Victoria, BC may be the gold standard for gardens you can make your property a thing to behold as well.  All it takes is some planning and you can be on your way.

Planning is Essential

I have to admit I have no formal training in gardening but as a homeowner for nearly fifty years I have learned a few things.  Besides, my wife has a gift for remembering plants, what they look like, when they bloom and how big they get,  all important aspects of planning a garden.

The best place to start is with a plan of your yard.  On a large sheet of graph paper lay out the dimensions of your yard and place the outline of your house on the sheet.  You then have to determine where you want your gardens beds to be.  I personally prefer garden beds that have some shape to them rather than just a rectangle.

 You also have to figure out where your hardscapes will go.  Is your lot sloped?  Do you need retaining walls or terraces?  What kind of walkways will you need to connect various spaces?  Place all these ideas on your plan.

Examples of Terraced Gardens

Terrace garden with logs

Terrace Garden-Tom Reynolds Photo

Terrace Concrete bloc

Terrace-Concrete Block Tom Reynolds Photo

Rock Wall

Rock Wall-Tom Reynolds Photo

Examples of Pathways

The following path connects the driveway to the front door.  You will notice that it is curved to add interest.

Pathway

Curved Path-Tom Reynolds Photo

When Gardening in Merritt BC What Plants Can You Use?

The first thing that you need to know is what gardening zone is appropriate for Merritt. According to the BC Interactive Plant Hardiness Zone Merritt is in Zone 5b.  This means that plants that are rated for this zone will be more successful than zones that are different.  You also need to know their drought tolerance as Merritt is considered semi arid.

Once you determined what plants will be suitable for your garden you need to make other considerations.  If you are renovating your current landscape you will probably have a good supply of plants already.  For example, you may already have trees that are well established and therefore you want to work with their current locations unless the tree is not healthy.  Trees provide shade and are a dramatic feature.  

Flowering Tree

Flowering Tree-Tom Reynolds Photo

Flowering shrubs are also great additions to any garden.  I particularly like a mock orange blossom shrub.  This is one of those cross over plants that could also be considered a tree. It grows quite large and provides a great privacy barrier and wind break.

Mock Orange

Mock Orange=Tom Reynolds Photo

Colour should be Your Goal when Gardening in Merritt BC

Perrenials Garden

Perennial Garden-Tom Reynolds photo

Perennial plants should be a part of everyone’s garden.  They are called perennials because they self propagate in place so you don’t have to renew them every year.  The downside is that they generally bloom for a short period during the growing season.  The good thing is that not all perennials bloom at the same time so with a littlie planning you can keep colour in your garden by selecting plants that bloom at different times.

Annuals have to be replaced every year but they have the advantage of  blooming all season long.  I think placing them between the perennials  provides constant colour.

Annuals

Annuals-Tom Reynolds photo

Colour can also be created by using different types of shrubs and perennials.  Some shrubs, like barberry come in many different colours.

Barberry Shrub

Barberry Shrub-Tom Reynolds Photo

“Colour in my garden is so up lifting”-Shirley Reynolds

Hostas are also a plant that comes in many different colourings.

Hostas

Hostas – Tom Reynolds Photo

Gardening in Merritt, BC doesn’t have to be all plants 

Plants aren’t the only things that you can use to make your garden interesting.  My wife likes things such as old chairs or head boards, while I  like things more on the tacky side such as garden gnomes and whirly-gigs’

Chair

Chair-Tom Reynolds photo

Rock Wall

Roc Wall-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Joy of Gardening Never Ends

If you take in these tips you can start your journey to a beautiful yard and a great hobby.  Have fun!

Gardening in Merritt BC

Plants for the Soul

 

Adventures and activities in British Columbia Canada

 

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