• Petiquette 101: Seasonal Pet Health Hazards Associated with Fall

    Oct 24, 2017

    We all want to keep our pets safe. There are many seasonal pet health hazards associated with fall. These dangers can lead to serious injury or worse. Luckily for pet owners, most of these hazards can be easily avoided. To help keep your pet safe this fall, Timbercreek has advice for how to avoid the most common fall pet hazards.

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    Leaf Piles

    Leaf piles offer hours of fun for kids and adults, but the piles can pose hidden dangers to pets and humans. While seemingly soft and delightful, they’re still airy piles of mostly, well, air. And with most of them residing on the street, they often house stones, pieces of metal or broken glass, dirt, and potentially large stones and concrete debris -- not to mention other animals (alive and/or dead!). Though seemingly harmless, keep an eye on your pet as they sniff around leaf piles.

    Cars

    As kids go back to school, university students return to town, and 9-to-5 workers get back to the grind after summer holidays, traffic increases. In addition, the decreasing daylight that comes with fall means lower visibility in the evenings. Cyclists, pedestrians, and cars all have a harder time spotting animals on the road. For your pet, that means increased danger - especially if they’re outdoor cats, dogs that are used to being off-leash, or pets that have a tendency to run away. A quick walk before bed or a cracked door to get the mail can be the ideal opportunity for your pet to dart out into the street. Keep a watchful eye on your pet this season.

    Off-leash Parks

    Off-leash parks are usually safe public zones for dogs, but they still require caution from pet owners. Even the most urban of parks have wildlife like squirrels and raccoons, and parks close to water may have turtles, fish, and potentially even skunks. It’s key to keep a close eye on your pet to avoid canine calamity and/or troublemaking.

    Seasonal Plant Dangers

    The Chrysanthemum is a classic fall flower. It can be toxic if ingested (the flower, stems, or leaves), and may cause Ataxia (stumbling), skin inflammation, Ptyalism (increased salivation), nausea/vomiting, and diarrhea. Other plants producing blooms with a toxic potential for dogs and cats include meadow saffron/autumn crocus and clematis. Mushrooms also appear in fall and some varieties are toxic. If you walk close to forested areas with your pet, have a look around the area for fall mushrooms and the other harmful plants we mentioned above. Learn more here.

    Timbercreek hopes that this article helps keep your pets safe and sound this fall. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Fall Boot Trends We Love

    Oct 23, 2017

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    There are a ton of fall boot trends for 2017 and we love them all. From a resurgence in 90s styles, to bold colours, and new takes on timeless classics, fall’s here and boots are hot. If you’re ready to find your perfect pair, Timbercreek has put together this list of what’s trending in boots this fall.

    Combat

    Badass 80s and 90s boots styles are back. Combat boots or army boots, in particular Doc Martens, are lining shelves this fall for women and men alike. Marc Jacobs, Frye Veronica, Alexander Wang, Dr. Martens, Timberlands, and good old legit army surplus boots are all the rage. Best part is: they’re comfortable and they kickass. Learn more about the trend here.

    Sparkle

    Sparkly, glittering boot styles appeared six separate times on Fall 2017 runways throughout New York, Milan and Paris. They came in all manner of colors, heel heights, lengths and silhouettes. Some were '80s-infused, while others came with patent leather toe-caps or dainty bows and detailing. Sparkle is definitely in this fall. Learn more about the trend here.

    Heel Art

    Big heels are hot this fall and they’re available in a range of styles. You can find something unique you love -- like wood or block heels, colored, and even snakeskin-covered (faux, of course) heels. Everything from glitter to velour and custom artwork is making its way onto boot heels in 2017.  Learn more about this trend here.

    Red

    Red is one of the biggest color trends for the year. It has dominated fashion shows this fall, especially when it comes to boots. From high to low, leather to velvet, boots are blazing red this season. Learn more.

    Urban Cowboy

    This iconic fashion (and lifestyle) theme never seems to get old. And for 2017, cowboy boots take on a fresh look with a combination of different variations. From ankle boots to mid-thigh high strutters, vivid colors, and exotic needlework -- urban cowboy is where it’s at this fall. Explore the trend here.

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    Great boots can make a statement. Stay on trend with these fall boot trends Timbercreek loves. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.
  • Best Fall Activities for the Kids

    Oct 16, 2017

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    Fall has finally arrived. It’s a special time of year, full of beautiful colours and crisp, cool air. Don’t let this short season pass you by -- Timbercreek has a list of some of the best fall activities for kids.

    Make Handprint Fall Trees

    Your kids will love making these Autumn Handprint Trees. They’re easy for kids of almost any age to make and require very little preparation. All you need is a sheet of white cardstock paper, a pencil, paint (primary colours), paper plate paint palettes, and some Q-tips. Start by tracing a faint line around your child’s hand and arm - this will form the trunk and branches of the tree. Mixing the paint is a great way to teach your kids about colours. Any kid can make brown, just mix them all together! For the leaves, experiment with mixing primary colours to get the fall shades you want. Use Q-tips, the pencil tip or even fingertips to add dots around the tree and watch it transform into something special.

    Go On A Fall Scavenger Hunt

    Getting outside and enjoying the brilliant colours and the cool air is a great way to make the most of fall. Rather than taking the kids out for a regular walk in the park, why not plan a fun Fall Scavenger Hunt! You can turn it into a chance for them to learn, too! This free printable animal camouflage scavenger hunt features frog cutouts. Your kids can colour them in fall shades and you can hide them in the fallen leaves. Set a timer and see how fast your kids can find them, while they learn about how animals avoid predators.

    Paint Some Pumpkins

    Pumpkins are a big and bright symbol of fall. Carving them into Jack O’Lanterns is fun, but not a great activity for younger kids. Put the knives away and break out the paint! The options of what to paint and how to paint your pumpkins are endless! Add some white to the top, some yellow to the bottom, and leave the middle orange for a candy corn inspired look that kids of all ages can create.

    Make Leaf Crowns

    You and your children will have a royally good time creating these Fall Leaf Crowns! All you need are some fallen leaves, a thin strip of cardboard (a cereal box will do nicely), and glue. All you have to do is glue the leaves to the cardboard and glue the cardboard into a circle! It’s fun and easy and it makes your kids feel like kings and queens!

    Timbercreek hopes that that these fall activities for kids help make your family’s fall even brighter! To find your home with Timbercreek Communities across Canada, please visit our website.

  • Sweet Pumpkin Recipes for Fall

    Oct 12, 2017

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    Pumpkins are a big, bright symbol of the season. These gorgeous gourds are also delicious to eat. If you’re a pumpkin fan, Timbercreek Communities has some sweet pumpkin recipes for you to try this fall.

    Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

    Cinnamon rolls may be one of life’s greatest pleasures. We adore these Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls. The soft pumpkin dough combines perfectly with the spiced sweet filling, and the gooey maple cream cheese icing takes them over the top. This recipe is pure pumpkin perfection.

    Pumpkin Spice Latte

    As soon as the leaves start to change, Pumpkin Spice Lattes begin popping up at pretty much every coffee shop. They taste good, but they are pricey and most contain no pumpkin at all! This homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte is the perfect pairing with any sweet pumpkin treat on this list. It’s also easy to make and actually contains pumpkin. Imagine that!

    Pumpkin Loaf

    Picture this: you’re curled up on the sofa with a slice of Spiced Pumpkin Bread, a blanket and hot cup of tea or cocoa -- it’s heaven on a chilly day in fall. If you want to make that fantasy a reality, prepare a couple of loaf pans and preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine sugar and oil in a big bowl and blend. Add in egg and pumpkin. In a separate bowl sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices (cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg). Combine the two mixtures, add in walnuts for an even more substantial snack, and pour the mixture into loaf pans to bake.

    Pumpkin Pie 

    It’s tough to beat a perfectly prepared piece of Pumpkin Pie in the fall. Prepare your pie by combining pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, sugar, salt and spices (cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg) in a bowl and beat until smooth. Pour the mixture into a prepared pie crust and bake at 425°F for 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 350°F for another 50 minutes. Allow it to cool before you dig in!

    Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Chocolate chip cookies are a classic dessert any time of the year. Put a fall twist on the traditional treat with this Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe. They’re easy to make and require less than 15 minutes to bake!

    Timbercreek hopes that these sweet pumpkin recipes help you get the most out of pumpkin season this fall! To find your home in one of Timbercreek’s Communities, please visit our website.

  • The Best Pumpkin Pie Recipes

    Oct 05, 2017

    There is a lot to be grateful for when fall rolls around. There is Thanksgiving, of course, but there’s also the cool, crisp weather, the changing colours and cozy clothes that come with this special season. Fall is also pumpkin pie season! Timbercreek Communities wants to help you savour the sweet and spicy flavour of fall with the best pumpkin pie recipes. Dig in!

    Perfect Pumpkin Pie

    This Perfect Pumpkin Pie recipe is aptly named. Pumpkin pie can be tricky to make. The crust can easily be too soggy, or too dense, and the custard filling can be too gooey, or too spicy. This pie has a light and flaky crust and a perfectly spiced filling that won’t crack when it cools. This tutorial will walk you through each and every step -- with lots of pictures to make the process as easy as pie.

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    Pumpkin Cream Pie

    You don’t have to make plain old pumpkin pie. Mix it up this season and try this Pumpkin Cream Pie. It has all the gentle spice and flavour you’re craving, with a light and lovely cream pie filling. Best of all, it’s easy to make. It requires only 30 minutes of hands-on prep time. The gingersnap cookie crust requires less than 10 minutes of baking, and the filling requires no baking at all - just let it set in the fridge for a few hours.

    Pumpkin Pie with Oreo Crust

    This Pumpkin Pie with Oreo Crust is a sweet twist on the tradition that will be adored by children and adults alike. Your kids will love to help you make it because they will get to crush a bag of Oreos with a rolling pin. Who doesn’t want to do that? Then all you do is pour melted butter into the bag and smoosh it around to make the crust. Fun and easy!

    Chai Spice Pumpkin Pie

    Put a spicy twist on tradition when you whip up this Chai Spice Pumpkin Pie. You can choose to make the Foolproof Butter Crust from scratch, or save some time with store-bought. For the filling, combine pumpkin puree, condensed milk, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla chai spices (cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, clove, nutmeg and black pepper). Beat until smooth and pour into the crust. It needs about an hour to bake and another hour to cool and set. It’s well worth the wait.

    Timbercreek wishes you a sweet, spicy and delicious fall! We hope you give these delicious pumpkin pie recipes a try. To find your home in one of Timbercreek’s Communities across Canada, please visit our website.

  • How to Host a Thanksgiving Dinner

    Oct 02, 2017

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    The countdown to Thanksgiving is on. Whether you prefer stuffed turkey or tofu, mashed potatoes or roasted, there’s really something for everyone on the table. And from table decorations to wine, there’s a lot to consider when you host Thanksgiving dinner. Timbercreek has a few great tips to help you host a memorable holiday meal this Thanksgiving.

    Timing

    Pretty much every list of how to host thanksgiving starts (and finishes) with timing. Not to be pessimistic, but if the food isn’t ready for dinner, you’re doomed. If you’re serving roast Turkey (or even Tofurkey), timing is everything. The Turkey itself takes hours depending on weight. And then there’s all the side dishes -- we’re talking everything from mashed potatoes to sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, carrots, green bean casserole, corn, and/or squash. If you opt for scalloped potatoes or gratin potatoes you’ll add a whole other level of complexity to your timing. And then there’s the pumpkin pie. Our best advice is to carefully plan your menu and start cooking early -- the previous day if possible. Make anything you can before the day. Oh, and accept all the help you can get! If someone asks to contribute, ask them to make one of the side dishes.

    Table Setting and Decoration

    Gourds, gourds, gourds. While knobby and odd looking, these little suckers are sensationally seasonal. You can find them everywhere from grocery stores to Walmart in October. They are the perfect decorative accent for Thanksgiving. Pair them with few well placed candles, some colorful placemats and napkins. If your guests offer to bring something, ask for seasonal flower arrangements.

    Wine

    Red wine is made for Thanksgiving. While winefolly.com includes a rose and a sparkling white on their list of best wines for Thanksgiving, reds overwhelmingly win the day. Look for Beaujolais, Granache, Carignan, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese. You can’t lose when you go with red.

    Beer

    Stouts and heavier IPAs are perfect for Thanksgiving. They tend to be “warmer” and more substantial. Many craft breweries also offer seasonal beers to celebrate Thanksgiving. Give Great Lakes Brewery’s Pumpkin Ale a try.

    Seasonal Teas and Coffee

    You have to have options for the non-drinkers in the house. We’re not talking about Budweiser Prohibition. Go with seasonal teas and/or coffee: i.e. pumpkin spice, chai, and fruit teas with a medley of nuts or cinnamon, in addition to classic chai pumpkin lattes or flavoured coffees. Learn more here.

    Fire Smell

    There’s nothing like the smell of wood fire. It might be the most popular smell of fall. If you have a fireplace, light it up this Thanksgiving. If you’re one of many who don’t, try collecting some pine needles, dry leaves, or pick up some cedar incense or (lightly) scented candles. There’s nothing like walking into a home or apartment and getting hit with the aroma of Fall.

    Conversation Topics

    Good conversation makes any celebration better. It can be tricky to avoid the “So what do you do for work” or “How ‘bout that Trump” small talk. If your celebration involves guests who are strangers to each other this year, look at converstationstarters.com

    Timbercreek hopes this article helps you make the most of Thanksgiving this fall. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Outdoor Adventure List

    Sep 19, 2017

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    Whether it’s camping, watersports, hiking, or an intercontinental trip, outdoor adventure is good for body and soul. Adventure is about taking risks, trying new things, and diving in with both feet. Whether it’s across the globe or in your own backyard, adventure awaits. To help you discover your inner explorer, Timbercreek brings you our outdoor adventure list.

    Camping

    Camping is key. From hikes to multi-day backcountry canoe trips, camping brings you back to nature, even if it’s in a car or an RV. Fresh air, sun and wind, water and woods. They cleanse the soul and ground the spirit. And it’s the kind of thing you don’t have to venture too far for. Even city folk can drive an hour or two, set up a tent, and bask in the rejuvenating energy of nature.

    Rock Climbing

    While this point involves considerable skill and also risk of death, it’s a great way to get outside and get your adrenaline pumping. Rock climbing is a sport that involves strength, technique, planning, and courage. It makes you face your fears, try new things, test your skills, and take chances. Best of all, it’s increasingly becoming available in unexpected like indoor climbing gyms.

    Watersports

    Adventure doesn’t have to imply distance. It’s as much a mental state as a physical activity. Doing something you don’t often do, or that can be done close by or in another medium (i.e. water), can instill a sense of exploration even in the middle of the city. Windsurfing, canoeing, swimming, kitesurfing, dragon boating, or paddle boarding: they all remove you from your normal environment and call on different skill sets. They also demand an immediate connection with nature - in these cases - with wind, water, sun, and sky.

    Road Trip

    From RVing to car camping and cross country marathons, road trips are what adventure is made of. Route 66, the Trans Canada, the Dempster highway -- roads are a symbol of freedom, the unknown, exploration, and travel. And cycling definitely counts as well. Multi-day cycling adventures can be just as exciting and promote a more direct and hands-on experience of a particular area.

    Pilgrimage

    A more extensive outdoor adventure, a pilgrimage in the style of Mecca, the Camino de Santiago, or visiting Stonehenge, is an adventure with purpose. With spiritual meaning and physical, outdoor components, an adventure of this sort combines the visceral aspect of moving through a new environment, with the mental component of experiencing new and unseen vistas.

    Timbercreek hopes this article gives you a few ideas for your own outdoor adventure this year. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Best Kid-Friendly Fall Activities

    Sep 18, 2017

    To help keep your little ones smiling this fall, Timbercreek brings you this list of kid-friendly fall activities the whole family will love.

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    Nature Walk

    It’s almost always a good time to go for a walk. Even if you’re subdivision bound, there are always parks close by, or conservation areas a little further away, that can make for a great fall outing. Pack a snack or a full-on lunch, make sure to bring water, and outfit your little ones with some sturdy shoes. Also bring bags for the kids to collect nature items - twigs, rocks, leaves, bark - it can all be fun for nature collections or crafting once you get home. As fall temperatures start to drop, be sure to consider appropriate clothing and layers to make your outing disaster proof.

    Picnic

    Picnics aren’t just for summer. A fantastic fall activity, picnics are great so long as you wear and bring the right stuff along. With unpredictable temperatures, pack some hats and coats. Don’t forget to bring all the usual picnic supplies like frisbees, baseballs, blankets, PB & J sammies, drink boxes, and kites. 

    Pumpkin Carving

    While generally reserved for Halloween, pumpkins are a symbol of autumn. Harvested from September through October, they offer families a great range of activities. Going to a local pumpkin “patch” to pick a few for the house is a great afternoon outing, while carving competitions, roasting pumpkin seeds, and playing with pumpkin “slime” are all great ways to enjoy them.

    Leaf Forts

    Jumping in a pile of leaves is a classic fall activity that never gets old. For kids it’s like an invitation to play and explore. Burying, burrowing, making forts, tossing them all over each other in leaf wars: they all make for great outdoor play that can occupy kids for hours. On a safety note, while obvious, check your leaf piles (before your kid jumps in them) for branches, rocks, garbage, and other debris that can be hiding inside after raking and yard cleaning.

    Baking

    A great fall activity for kids is baking. A couple seasonal snack options are apple chips and roasted pumpkin seeds. Slice some apples in thin, full width pieces and place evenly on a baking tray. Sprinkle them with cinnamon, brown sugar, a bit of butter, and even some coarse sea salt, and bake at 340F until slightly dehydrated and/or golden brown. Let dry and refrigerate for a great snack. Almost the same process can be applied to pumpkin seeds. Clean and rinse a big handful of seeds and lay them out evenly on a baking sheet. Add coarse salt and, if desired, a dash of olive oil, and bake until firm and slightly brown.

    Make Butter

    It’s surprisingly easy to make butter and it’s also a great activity to do with kids. All it requires is heavy whipping cream and a whisk. But by using a Mason jar, two small marbles, and a bit of music, you can dance your way to whipping that cream into butter. Shake a jar (or whisk) until the cream thickens. As the fat molecules bind together, a ball of butter will form, separating from the remaining buttermilk. Once a ball has formed, drain off the buttermilk, add some salt, and voila!  Homemade butter.

    Timbercreek hopes this article gives you a few ideas for how to entertain your kids this fall. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Stay Caffeinated With These Fall Drinks

    Sep 11, 2017

    Chilly fall days are all about cozy sweaters and warm drinks. When you don’t have time to curl up under a blanket, Timbercreek Communities wants to help you stay caffeinated with these fall drinks.

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    Salted Caramel Latte

    Get all the flavour you’re craving with this Salted Caramel Latte without all the hidden calories that may come with your order at a local coffee shop. It’s easy to make in minutes. Heat milk, caramel sauce and sea salt in a pan. Pour your favourite brewed coffee into a mug. Use an immersion (hand) blender on low to froth your warm milk before topping your coffee with it. Drizzle the foam with more caramel sauce.

    Pumpkin Spice Latte

    The ubiquitous Pumpkin Spice Latte pops up all over the place at this time of year. Avoid the lines and mystery ingredients and whip one up yourself. Whisk together pumpkin purée, with pumpkin pie spice, milk, maple syrup and vanilla extract over medium heat. Blend the warm mixture until frothy. Pour brewed coffee into mugs and add the pumpkin/milk mixture and top with foam.

    Vegan Hot Chocolate

    Even if you’re off animal products, you can still enjoy a rich, Vegan Hot Chocolate with very minimal effort. Cocoa powder and chocolate contain lower levels of caffeine than coffee. Heat almond or rice milk in a saucepan or microwave. Add cocoa powder, chocolate and your favourite sweetener and whisk to combine them. Top with coconut whipped cream if desired.

    Dirty Chai Latte

    Chai is Indian black tea. What makes this latte “dirty” is a shot of espresso. This homemade Dirty Chai Latte is for those mornings where you need an extra kick. Steep a chai tea bag in boiling water, then add coffee or espresso to the mug. Shake up the milk in a sealed mason jar until it gets frothy, then remove the lid and microwave for about 30 seconds before adding it to the mug. Scoop the foam onto the top of your beverage and maybe add a bit of cinnamon.

    Matcha Latte

    If you’re looking for a change to your morning coffee routine, this Matcha Latte (powdered green tea) may be just what you’re looking for. Simmer milk or milk alternative (soy, rice, almond etc.) over medium heat. Add matcha powder to a mug and then add the heated milk and sweeten to taste.

    Timbercreek hopes these fall drinks help you stay warm and active this season! To find your home in one of Timbercreek’s Communities across Canada, please visit our website.

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