Monday, 25 January 2016



This winter the citizens of the Place Under The Pine have taken to the snow like penguins or polar bears or some other Arctic type animal (except the walrus, haha). The last few weekends have seen them spend hours and hours outside, bundled up against the cold, enjoying the snow - mostly by sliding down it at the local toboggan hill.

Scene from The Toboggan Party
However, this past weekend the gang found themselves in a place without a hill. They were surrounded by snow, had the sleds (they were even GT Racers) but no hill. What did they do?
With the aid of an ATV they came up with a suitable substitution...

Monday, 18 January 2016



The new year begins with the birthdays of two PUTP citizens - Oskie and Elli.

Oskie is now three. He will tell you this by putting up three of his fingers. To celebrate this milestone a party was held. A couple of his little friends were invited over and they partied like the penguins do. There were balloons, games, and cupcakes.


A waddle of balloon penguins
Toss the fish...

...into the penguin!
If you recall, local resident Elliott is mad about snow. His two passions in life are shovelling snow and playing hockey. His favourite season is winter. And, we have never heard him utter the words, "I want to come in because I'm too cold".
Combine his love of winter activities with his friends and you have his ideal birthday party.

A few of Elli-bellies friends met at the local hill to celebrate his birthday. The weather was ideal, there was lots of snow, and the hot chocolate was warm. We partied for a couple of hours - fun in the snow.

The hill was covered in hard packed and icy snow - ideal tobogganing conditions.

Estimated speed 65 km/hr
Estimated speed 0 km/hr

After an hour or so everyone took a break to recharge with some hot chocolate and a cupcake.

The thermos worked great at keeping the chocolate hot

Maybe too much whipped cream Oskie?

A Minecraft Creeper cupcake

Creeper's a Minecraft thing
 Full of chocolate, sugar, and creeper?...they played in the snow.

Is that Frosty or did someone cover Oskie with snow again?!

Spray bottles filled with coloured liquid - endless fun...until the water runs out.

Back to the hill until your parents come kids. You're welcome parents for tiring them out.

There are so many people in the boy's life that one party was not enough. The next day a similar party was held with extended family to celebrate both boys birthdays. Sledding, back to the Place Under The Pine for hot chocolate, then cake.

Oskies penguin cake

Elli's hockey player cake

Hot Chocolate Bar

Happy 3rd Oskie

Happy 7th Elli

Wednesday, 13 January 2016



For the past few years the kitchen in the Place Under The Pine has put out some prize worth food. But, there is one treat that has become infamous - the caramels, the holiday toffee, the 'Mackintosh Toffee' is a yet to be officially named. It is so chewy and delicious that everyone who has ever tried it has loved it, wanted more, and asked for the recipe.
Well, the recipe is locked away in the safe. Google 'homemade caramel recipes' and you will see all you need is a few simple ingredients (sugar, corn syrup, evaporated milk, butter, and vanilla). The trick may be in the actually cooking process - remember to keep stirring for 15 mins and take it off just at the right moment when it looks done. This video will help you see exactly what it will look like as you cook away.

Now remember, when you make a successful batch of caramels you will most likely have to make more, and more, and more...

You will be shocked at how fast a big pan of caramel can/will be eaten

There are a few ways you can package up your caramels - tiny bite sized pieces, small blocks with square indents, small blocks, or gigantic slabs.

After you have divided up your caramel it can be wrapped up in parchment paper.

Enjoy responsibly.

Monday, 11 January 2016


Christmas 2015

Christmas time around the Place Under The Pine?
Busy is one way to describe it. The citizens are busy trimming trees, wrapping present, making cards, baking cookies...when the 25th hits the busy-ness only increases. The Place bursts at the seams with friends and relatives all sharing in the events of Christmas.
Early Xmas morning, before the sun even rose, over a dozen people were busy distributing presents and drinking hot, strong, coffee. The kids were overwhelmed with all of the stuff given to them by their generous relatives. The Place was full of laughter, smiles, and full stomachs.
Over the next week the citizens spent day upon day hunkering down at home; soaking in hour upon hour of quality family time (and playing with all the new toys). It was a much needed break from school, work, and regular life. A great time to recharge for the upcoming winter.
Here is a little video showing some of the things we did over the holidays. Enjoy.


Oscar lives up to his Sesame Street personality...

..Grouch :)  (He frowned on purpose at the very last second)