Winter

dice games
Dec26

Whether you are traveling in December for holiday festivities or just some pre-New Years relaxation, you might be looking for things to do indoors when the temperature drops. Here are 3 easy dice games that you can do with minimal prep (super easy to pack, too).

1. Knock Out

This dice game only requires 2 dice and involves adding up to the number 10, making it great for younger kids to play, too. Each player first chooses their “knockout number” between either 6, 7, 8, or 9. Two players CAN pick the same number.

Decide who goes first by each rolling a die with the person who rolls the highest taking their turn first, second highest goes second, and so on. On their turn, a player must roll two dice. If they land on their chosen “knock out” number, then they are disqualified from rolling until everyone has been knocked out and the next round starts.

Every roll (EXCEPT the knock out number) contributes to the player’s overall score. Players race to a score of 100, or whatever goal your group decides on.

2. Catch Up

This dice game is great for a larger group, as it requires between 4-8 players. You will need 2 dice as well as an assortment of counters, which can be anything from bits of paper to coins, etc. The first player to obtain 3 tokens wins.

Give the dice to the oldest and youngest players (or however else you want to divide it up). Both will roll their dice at the same time and anyone who lands on a 6 must pass their dice to the right. The goal is to be the one person holding both dice. Then, you earn a counter and the process starts again.

Between each dice roll, there is a chant (mainly to give those without the dice something to do), which you can customize to your group. Use an assortment of clapping or knee-slapping to emphasize every other word to make it more exciting. We like to use the “We Will Rock You” chant, changing up the second repetition to announce the dice roll, as such: We will, we will, rock you. We will, we will, ROLL NOW!

3. Run For It

You will need 6 dice to play this and any amount of players is fine, though it tends to work best with 4-5 for time’s sake. Players will take turns rolling all 6 dice and trying to make “straight”, that is: a series of numbers that progress in counting order. For example: 1, 2, 3, and 4 OR 5, 6, and 7.

A “straight” can encompass anywhere from 2 to 6 numbers and each dice in the sequence gives the player 10 points. So 1, 2, 3, 4 would be worth 40 points in total. You can only make ONE straight per roll, so players should pick the one that gives them the most points.

Whoever reaches 500 points wins. You can raise or lower that number depending on how long you want to play.

Bonus: Want something even simpler? Check out these dice games that require only a single die!

Have Fun and Roll Away

Whatever dice games you decide to play, be sure to enjoy the time spent with your loved ones this holiday season. Play games, enjoy the snow, and celebrate the holidays together.

If you need some help booking your next great vacation rental, be sure to reach out to us using our phone number or contact page!

blender soups
Dec18

We always recommend bringing a blender when you travel to one of our vacation properties. That’s because there are so many recipes that can be made with this one simple tool. It’s easy to pack and endlessly diverse, whether you want to make dessert smoothies, creamy blender-made soups, or blended cocktails. An immersion blender is particularly easy to pack and works great for soups of all kinds.

As the weather dips in December, you and your family are probably craving something warm and rich to eat. Blenders are great for whipping together easy soups. Here are a few of our favourites:

1. Easy Carrot Soup

This uber-filling soup makes for a perfect winter dinner. Cut up 2-pounds of carrots and boil them with the other ingredients in full-fat coconut milk and water. After about 10-15 minutes of simmering, the carrots should be tender enough to blend. Poke them with a fork and insure the prongs go through easily before introducing the blender.

Curry paste and onion make up the base of this flavourful dish. Additionally, you can add in some cilantro, toasted almonds, or chile oil.

Get the full recipe here.

2. Tomato Basil Soup with Asiago

This twist on traditional tomato soup is a welcome chilly weather meal. You can use canned tomatoes for the base or boil and peel 3-pounds of fresh tomatoes for an even richer flavour. Though the recipe calls for chicken broth, you may substitute vegetable broth in order to make the recipe suitable for vegetarians.

The grated asiago cheese gives this dish some zest. Save a bit to sprinkle on top of each bowl directly before serving. You can also garnish with croutons if you choose!

Get the full recipe here.

3. Butternut Squash Soup

The most challenging part of this recipe is peeling the squash, removing the seeds, and quartering it all. If you don’t have time for this, you can use frozen or canned squash as a substitute. But fresh always tastes best! You will need 3 cups of squash and 1 peeled, decored, and cubed apple to make up the bulk of the soup.

You will want to saute some onion in butter while the squash and apple are steaming. Then, blend it all up with the rest of the ingredients and voila!

Get the full recipe here.

Stay Warm and Fill Up!

Hot, fresh, and quick blender-made soups are the perfect winter recipe. They are easy to make and can be adjusted to accommodate what you have on hand if you are in a rental suite and away from your kitchen.

Ask us about spring vacation rental bookings now to secure your first choice of luxury cottages before they book up. Or, sign up to our newsletter to watch for special deals. 

christmas crafts
Dec11

Winter holiday travel will be filled with Christmas markets, building snowmen, and ice skating…but sometimes you just want to stay warm indoors! Whatever the reason for staying in, your family night together needn’t be uneventful. Here are some family-friendly Christmas crafts to keep everyone entertained.

  1. Paper Plate Santa Clause

This craft is great because minimal supplies are needed. Also, the resulting product is flat and easy to pack in a bag or suitcase to take home after your holiday trip. The main supplies are a paper plate, construction paper, googly eyes, and paint or markers. However, you can modify the list to customize the experience: try pipe cleaners, pom poms, stickers, or glitter (if you dare!).

How to make it.

  1. Pinecone Christmas Tree

Turn a simple pinecone from your walks and hikes in the area into seasonal souvenirs! Use a bit of paint and whatever supplies you want to use for a star (construction paper, wood cut-outs, etc.). Kids will love exploring outdoors to find their “perfect pinecone.” Plus, the craft is minimalist if you need to buy supplies: just a few paint colours and brushes will do! You can leave them as stand-alone decorations or attach a hook or thread loop to them and turn them into tree hangings.

How to make it.

  1. Paper Snowflake Cut-Outs

Ah, a classic! The best part of this craft is that you can print out patterns at home and easily pack them along to have an easy, on-the-go craft ready for any occasion. Patterns range from ridiculously simple to quite challenging and precise. That means there is a design out there for any age range to enjoy. You can also fold the paper and “freestyle” a design to see what you can come up with from scratch.

How to make it.

  1. Popsicle Stick Ornaments

A simple pack of popsicle sticks and a few odds-and-ends to decorate with can go a long way. This can also be a multi-night craft, as there are plenty of patterns to make: reindeer, gingerbread, penguin, holiday tree, snowman, and anything else you can dare to imagine! Use buttons, markers, pipe cleaner, pom poms, felt, construction paper, and ribbon to decorate to your hearts’ content.

How to make it.

The best part about the above Christmas crafts is that many of them use similar materials so you can buy bulk supplies and mix and match projects on different nights of your winter vacation. Plus, you can have fun exploring the local shops to find supplies!

Need somewhere for your holiday parties or weekend ski trips? Check out Breakaway Vacations’ selection of luxury vacation rentals.

Winter activities
Dec04

You don’t need to be cooped up indoors during your stay at a Breakaway Vacation property in Parksville or Qualicum Beach from November through January. Vancouver Island, while renowned for its summertime affairs, has plenty to do even when the snow starts falling. Plus, you won’t have to fight the typical warm-weather crowds! Here are a few winter activities you can look forward to in the area.

  1. New Year’s Day Annual Polar Bear Splash

Don’t mind the chill? Want a challenge? Join the Parksville community on New Years Day as residents and visitors alike participate in the Polar Bear Splash. Dash into the winter-chilled ocean at Parkville Beach to brave the cold.

  1. Sports at Oceanside Place

Oceanside Place is a sports and ice area that is perfect for the whole family. They have an active skate schedule on their website if you want to pop by. You can also catch an Oceanside Generals game, if you want to watch the local hockey team.

  1. Winter Hiking

There are plenty of hiking areas that are open year-round, like Little Qualicum Falls, Top Bridge Park, Englishman River Falls, or Rathtrevor Beach. Most are empty during the winter months even though they are open, meaning you can have the trails and scenery all to yourselves!

  1. Take a Pacific Rainforest Adventure Tour

These are available year-round and offer trips suitable for families and seniors. You can pick the theme of your tour, ranging from nature tours to wine tours. The Salmon Spawning Tour is only available in October and November, making it a winter-exclusive activity!

  1. Horne Lake Caving, Winter Edition

We love caving year-round but winter caving tours tend to be less crowded and offer a different experience due to increased levels of moisture for the season. Horne Lake Caves offers October through January bookings with limited availability, so call ahead and save your spot.

  1. Visit Grotto Spa

The Tigh-Na-Mara Grotto Spa just outside of Parkville was named one of the top spas in Canada by Spas of America in 2018! Check out the large mineral pool, the relaxation lounge, various spa treatments, and finish your night with a meal from the attached Cedars Restaurant & Longue.

Vancouver Island has many, many things to do in the winter months. Want to hear more about where to stay to access these winter activities? Reach out to the Breakaway Vacation staff, we would be happy to help.