Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Rapid-Fire Faves: Childhood Nostalgia (giveaway)

Robertson’s Candy These treats are the taste of my childhood, associated especially with the Christmas holidays.   Chicken bones, maple kisses, “uglee” mints, and sponge toffee (Dad’s favourite).  Glass toy candy was a special treat we would buy at the end of a day of Christmas shopping, heading home to wrap gifts.  I still find them beautiful  - try a quick search through Google Images to see what I mean.  As delicious a treat as they are, one word of caution: do not attempt to enjoy one while wrapping gifts...    

More delights...  Salt-water taffy is a Maritime confection I bring back to BC whenever I visit family in NS.  The Satin Mix of hard candies reminds me of old "Mr. Gordon" who lived up the road and who was kind enough to help us "city folk" learn the ins and outs of farming, draft horses, and old school veterinary care.  And at this very moment, I am having an absolutely wild craving for toasted coconut marshmallows with tea.  (What have I started?!)   All of Robertson's factory-made candies are free of peanuts and gluten.  Check out their selection of natural candies for treats without the guilt!  Available throughout the Maritimes, and orders can be placed online.

 Sharon, Lois, and Bram - Apologies 33 years after the fact to music teacher Mrs. Kemp and my grade 2 teacher, Mrs. Lewis, at The Halifax Grammar School for having had to endure my constant renditions of Cookie Jar and Skinnamarink!  I loved Sharon, Lois, & Bram.  This Canadian musical trio’s songs were a constant in the soundtrack of our early elementary school lives.  I have a distinct memory of Mrs Lewis remarking, with a mix of affection and tested patience, “You sure do like to sing, don’t you, Dawn?”  Yes, and dance.   I should have had an agent.  But I digress…   

If you are looking for lively children’s music that incorporates elements of jazz, calypso, rock, and folk don’t miss out on Sharon, Lois, & Bram.  Fair warning, though…don’t blame me if you’re caught singing Peanut Butter and Jelly full force in the produce section while trying to find the perfect grapes.  *cough*   The tunes are extremely catchy. Available through iTunes or your favourite CD retailer.

Woozles – My brother and I were frequent visitors to Woozles back when “Choose Your Own Adventure”  books, Judy Blume novels, and the Usbourne’s How to Be a Detective/Spy series were all the rage.  Woozles is a wonderful gem, one of the few remaining independent children’s bookstores. (They have a great selection of toys, too.)  This space has such a warm atmosphere, friendly staff, and it holds great memories for me.  The heartwarming “Woozles Memories” section of their website, tells me I am not alone in my affection for this store. The bright yellow, wolf-whistling budgie I received for my 11th birthday was named after Woozles.  Now that’s devotion!   Visit Woozles on Birmingham Street in downtown Halifax, or order through their website.

Dulse –“Uh, what are you eating??”, my boyfriend cautiously inquired the first Christmas my parents sent a care package to me from Nova Scotia.  “Dulse!”, I exclaimed gleefully, grinning ear to ear and exposing a mouthful of purple-flecked teeth.  “Would you like to try some?  It’s really good!”  He politely declined, but his face had, “This must be another weird Maritime thing.” written all over it.

Dulse is a red seaweed that grows in the North Atlantic and Northwest Pacific oceans and is typically harvested June through September.  Dulse harvested off Grand Manan Island in the Bay of Fundy is said to be the best in the world. Once harvested, it is sun dried (turning dark purple), packaged, and sold to be consumed as a snack or condiment.  We would typically munch it straight out of the bag (a healthy alternative to chips that satisfies one’s salt cravings), or toast it lightly in a cast iron pan or on the wood stove. Dulse flakes can also be purchased.  The flakes are nice to sprinkle in salads, on fish chowder, roasted potatoes, or California rolls. Dulse is low in calories and is an excellent source of vitamin B6, B12, iodine, iron, and other minerals.  It is common to find it in grocery stores and farmers markets on the East Coast, and in health food stores across Canada.   To purchase it online, check out Real Raw Food.  To learn more about dulse, or to make wholesale inquiries, check out Atlantic Mariculture, Roland's Sea Vegetables, and Fundy Dulse.

The Plaid Place - Ciad Mile Failte!  
I was always drawn to this shop, even as a young child.  It felt like home.  Colourful tartans, shelves of books, cozy Fisherman’s Knit sweaters, silver jewelry bearing Celtic designs in gleaming display cases.  Traditional music playing in the background while customers browsed.  This is where we bought our family clan badges for the kilts my mother and I wore.  The Plaid Place is a wonderfully Scottish piece of real estate in an already strongly Scottish province! 

Browse through their online shop to find a wide variety of tweed caps, Irish knits and linens, Buchan pottery, fine Celtic jewelry, shortbread molds, rugby shirts, CDs, tartan dog collars and leashes.  Children’s wear (the child's tartan poncho is my favourite item), Highland dress, and kilts (custom made and ready-to-wear) are offered in over 500 Scottish, Irish, and Canadian tartans.  The Tartan Finder will help you select your preferred tartan.  Beautifully packaged imported treats abound, including vanilla fudge and whiskey cakes, butter toffee, shortbread, and Edinburgh Castle Rock (a soft, crumbly, and highly addictive confection).

My personal wish list includes this gorgeous lambswool blanket and any one of the engraved silver quaichs pictured on The Plaid Place's Flickr photo album.  Either would make a spectacular and treasured wedding gift for a loved-one.

If you would like to see many more photos of The Plaid Place and some of the wonderful items they carry, I encourage you to join their Facebook page.  To shop The Plaid Place, drop by their store on Barrington Street or order online.


Enter to win Sharon, Lois, and Bram's, "One Elephant, Deux Éléphants".  

This CD features 35 of their best-loved songs and playground chants.   

One entry per person.  Entry period ends 11:00pm PST June 6, 2013.   

The winner will be selected using and has 48 hours to reply to my notification.  If no reply is received, another winner will be randomly selected.

This contest is open world wide.

Note  In order for comments to be counted as bonus entries, please assure that the name used in your comments matches the name you submit in the form belowIf posting under a different username, indicate your name or email address at the end of your comment.

This giveaway has ended.  Congratulations to Stacey K. of Edmonton!