Tag Archives: Sensors Quality Management

Sweet Mother’s Day Gift

Baking is love…and we are all doing it these days!

Just before the pandemic, SQM was working on a project that involved a local startup: The World’s Best Vanilla Company. The original goal was to import the highest quality Madagascar vanilla to sell to the foodservice industry, but due to COVID-19, the strategy had to change.

Everyone was staying at home and baking, so the company decided to start selling to consumers. Some people use the vanilla for baking, or for making ice cream—many high end bakeries and ice cream parlours in the city purchase this company’s vanilla for use in their products.

In addition, other people buy vanilla because they want to make their own vanilla extract.  A lot of people don’t realize how simple the process is.  Slice the vanilla pods lengthwise, run your knife over the beans, scraping them out, and steep them in alcohol for approximately three months. The result is some of the best-tasting vanilla extract on the planet, to cook and bake with at your leisure.   This is a great way to undertake a fun family project, while saving yourself some money at the same time.

The World’s Best Vanilla Company also sells vanilla extract gift bottles. The bottles come in two different sizes and they make amazing gifts for people looking for something different.  Lately, we have been seeing people buy a bottle for themselves, and one (or more) for a friend.

Mothers Day is coming!  If you’re looking for a unique gift for Mom (and if you are lucky, she will bake for you…), or looking to support a small business, I highly recommend you check out The World’s Best Vanilla Company. Happy baking!

The World’s Best Vanilla Company
416-847-1029
https://www.worldsbestvanilla.com/

 

Add Comment

How To Celebrate Valentine’s Day During The COVID-19 Pandemic

Like all holidays celebrated recently, this year’s Valentine’s will be slightly different from the rest. Whether you’re in a lockdown, quarantine, or just trying to stay safe during the pandemic, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate the Valentine’s Day long weekend with your loved ones:

Treat yourself: Whether or not you’re in a relationship, it is always important to take some time (especially during the holiday season), to treat yourself. Order from your favourite restaurant, binge-watch your favourite tv show or do whatever it is that you find relaxing. Make an effort to have some valuable “me time”.

Romantic Dinner: There is no shame in the take-out game! This is the perfect time to support your local small businesses. Where possible, pick up the food directly from the restaurant instead of using UberEats or SkipTheDishes.

Cook at home: Show off those cooking skills you learned during lockdown/quarantine! If you’re looking to enhance your cooking skills, consider staying in and cooking, using ingredients from high-end grocery stores, such as Pusateri’s or Bruno’s Fine Foods. Cooking as a couple is a great way to bond.

Splurge On Dessert: Dessert is arguably the best part of any meal. If you or your significant other has a sweet tooth, here are some of our favourite bakeries in Toronto that you should try:  Bobbette & Belle have an excellent variety of artisanal pastries that you can order online, R Bakery Cafe boasts excellent customized cakes, as well as an impressive breakfast menu, The Rolling Pin has different daily flavours for their cupcakes, Dufflet Pastries allows you to mail a cookie to your loved one for Valentine’s, and Phipps Bakery has an assortment of unique pies and cakes to choose from.

Afternoon Tea: You are cordially invited to high tea at The Windsor Arms, which is currently offering a tea at home for 2 program. The package also comes with a variety of scones, sandwiches, and cakes. 

Gourmet Chocolates: You could go the old-fashioned route and get your partner a nice box of chocolates. SOMA Chocolate Maker has unique shapes and custom orders, Ambience chocolat carries gourmet chocolate boxes, and The Chocolateria has chocolate bars, cookies, and an assortment of gifts.

Take your date outdoors: Skating is a way of getting out and getting some great exercise—although you have to book in advance. Skating rinks that are available for booking are High Park, Nathan Phillips Square, Mel Lastman Square, and Rosedale Park.

Volunteer in a soup kitchen: At a time when everyone’s trying to help others, you could consider putting off your date night to deliver foods to the homeless or help out at a soup kitchen. Some kitchens and food banks around Toronto that are accepting volunteers include the Daily Bread Food Bank, and The Salvation Army.

DIY Vanilla Extract Kits: If you’re buying your partner a gift, why not get them something from the World’s Best Vanilla Company! I’m involved with this company and want to let you know about the Valentine’s Day version of our popular, Make Your Own Vanilla Extract bottles.

Just add your choice of alcohol, follow the instructions, and in a few weeks, you will have some amazing extract to bake with.

If you’re interested, check us out on Facebook or email info@worldsbestvanilla.com

Wishing everyone a safe and happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Add Comment

You Can’t Beat the Smell of a Classic Bookstore

6 of the best used bookstores in Montreal | Curated

Hello blog readers!  It’s Miriam again and I have once again pushed David aside to share with you my SQM Pick!

I am so happy that summer is here.  Not because I am going anywhere or doing much of anything….the pandemic saw to that.  Since we are spending lots of time at home, I am, however, enjoying the effort that David and I have put into our backyard – new cushions for the outdoor furniture, new string lights, a bonfire pit and a hammock that my 14-year-old daughter loves to lie in and read under the shade of a tree.

While my girl loves to read – she doesn’t do it very often.  During the school year, homework becomes a priority, guitar lessons take over and playing competitive soccer three to four times a week, doesn’t leave a lot of downtime for pleasure reading.  With overnight camp closed for the summer of 2020, she has rediscovered her love of reading, with the help of a little store and a little tale that goes back 14 years to the small town of Bracebridge, Ontario.

We are one of the lucky ones, as my parents have a cottage in northern Ontario.  Every year, since Talia was a baby, we would go up on summer weekends and would inevitably end up walking around town.  It is there that we discovered the Owl Pen Bookshop, a used bookstore with all the charm that you would expect in cottage country.  Talia was always allowed to go in and choose herself a book and it became part of her cottage ritual.  Even when David and I didn’t go up with her and she went with my parents and her cousins, a trip to the Owl Pen was always worked in.  Fast forward to present day and the love affair with this bookstore has found renewed life in a pandemic era, where summer camp has to wait until next year and cell service at the cottage is seriously spotty.

It began a few weeks ago, when my parents were heading up north and we were still not “bubbling” with them yet.  Talia asked me if we could call Owl Pen and find out if they had books that she wanted and then maybe “my grandparents could do a curbside pick up for me”.  I called the store and Katherine (she and her husband took over the family store from her in-laws) answered the phone.  I explained that I was from Toronto and my daughter was a huge fan of her store.  I gave her a list of books that Talia wanted, she went to the shelf, pulled them all down for me, took an e-transfer payment, wrapped them up and brought them out to my mom when she pulled in front of the store.  Since then, Katherine has kept her eyes out for books that are on Talia’s list, puts them aside and even suggested reading that she thought Talia would enjoy.  When we head up north, our first stop is always the Owl Pen to pick up my daughters curated reading material.  

Yes, we could easily order these books online, but Talia, at 14 years of age, still loves the thrill of going to her favorite bookstore.  And I happily plunk down all the cash necessary to support her love of reading…and a small family business that provides outstanding customer service.

The Owl Pen Bookshop
58 Manitoba Street, Bracebridge, Ontario
705-645-1966
Ask for Katherine and remember: they only accept cash and e-transfer.

 

Add Comment

And the SQM Picks Goes To…

A few weeks ago, I wrote about ways to support local, small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.  Now, while you are supporting these businesses, I’d like to hear about them.

Maybe there’s a local restaurant that has been having a hard time, but still cooking up your favourite dishes?  Perhaps there’s an employee at a retail store that you feel has gone above and beyond the call of duty to get you what you’re looking for?  Or it could just be a business that regularly and consistently provides top-notch customer service.

Nominate any business…large or small….and I will try to feature them in an upcoming post of SQM Picks.

Comment below with your nominations!

Be safe and be well.

 

Add Comment

How to Support Local Businesses During COVID-19

The past few weeks have been a trying time for many Canadians, both personally and financially.  One sector of the economy that has been particularly hard hit by the lockdown is local and small businesses. Unfortunately, many companies have been forced to close their doors, while others are struggling to make ends meet.  Although online support has been fantastic, there still needs to be more done instead of simply “liking” a post or photo.

Here are some simple ways that you can support local businesses:

1. Participate in Takeout Wednesday
Takeout Wednesday is just as it sounds. The idea was started by restaurant owners to raise awareness that while it may not look like it, many restaurants remain open for takeout and delivery.  So, every Wednesday, you can show your support by purchasing lunch or dinner from a local establishment.  Personally, I recommend, delivery, as it allows you to continue social distancing, and avoid crowded restaurant lobbies.

2. Purchase a Gift Card
If you don’t feel a need to buy anything at this time, you can still show your support by purchasing a gift card or credit for your favourite restaurants, stores, salons and spas.

3. Online Services
While it may not seem so, many local businesses are currently offering ways you can purchase their products or services from the comfort of your homes.  Check if your favourite place offers online purchases.

4. Tips
When possible, simply tip or give some extra money to the people helping out.  Whether it’s the delivery person or someone who may not necessarily be in a position that normally receives a gratuity, these days it is certainly appreciated by frontline workers.

5. Reschedule Instead of Refunding
If you have an event coming up, such as an appointment with your hairdresser or barbershop, simply reschedule for a later date instead of asking for a refund.  Even if you haven’t paid for anything, trust me, they will appreciate the support

6. Schedule an Appointment or Make a Reservation
Another way to support small businesses is by scheduling an appointment at a salon, spa or making a reservation for months into the future at your favourite restaurant.  While many services are on hold until the lockdown ends, many businesses are still willing to book appointments and take reservations.

7. Share
While liking a post is helpful to gain popularity, you can also share your own posts about the local business you support to raise more awareness and gain even more support.

8. Don’t Forget About Summer Contractors
While we are still under lockdown, you can still continue with any summer outdoor home improvement project, from fixing your roof to doing dome landscaping.  Seasonal workers only have a short window to do this work, so book now.

9. Donate
If you don’t shop locally, it is still great to show support.  You can simply make a donation by going to a gofundme page.

This virus has tested many Canadians and has been hard on everyone, however with a bit of help, we can all support local businesses until there is an end to social distancing.

 

Add Comment

How to Celebrate Mother’s Day in Lockdown

Coronavirus changing Mother's Day plans - WFMJ.com

With Mother’s Day fast approaching, things will look a bit different, this year, with everyone practicing social distancing.  But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t celebrate your mother on May 10th.  Here’s a list of ways to celebrate:

1. Purchase Flowers – Although many of us are still on lockdown, there are still many flower shops that are currently open and ready to deliver. 1800-flowers is a company still open that ships in Canada and the United States just by simply placing an order on their website. Alternatively, you could support your local florist by checking if they are currently open and sending out deliveries.

2. Order a Mother’s Day Brunch or Dinner – This year while we are stuck at home, other ways to celebrate is by hosting brunch or dinner by sending your mother her favourite cuisine from a local restaurant, or even looking up the recipes and making the meal yourself.

3. Create a Spa Day – If you’re currently at home with your mother, you can host a spa day with her; by purchasing an assortment of masks, nail equipment and any spa needs at your local drug store.

4. Tea Time – Many usually spend their time with their mothers having tea and a small lunch.  So, to celebrate this year, you can still do the same, but it will look a bit different. You can drop off some teas to your mom and have your teatime while on a video call, so you’re still spending time together.

5. Create a virtual slideshow – To honour your mother this year, create a slideshow full of your favourite photos and videos.  Creating the slideshow is simple and can be done on sites such as Smilebox.  You can create a free account and look through the many mother’s day templates and add in your own photos.

6. Game Time – To celebrate, have a games night with some board games or puzzles. You could even create a family-based trivia game.

7. Have a Movie Night – Whether you’re together or apart if you and your mom are movie buffs, then have a movie night.  You can enjoy your favourite movies together or checkout brand new films available on demand.

8. Drop off care packages – If you’re older and spending time away from your mother, you can simply plan a drop-off.  Create a simple care package filled with all of your mom’s favourite items, including her favourite chocolates, wine and anything else she loves.

9. Have a virtual meetup – Since many people are celebrating apart, you can simply create a zoom chat with your entire family and friends to celebrate together.  Simply go on Zoom and organize your own meeting, and you can invite anyone.

10. Give mom some free time – Many families have had to deal with the added responsibility of working from home and also helping their children with online classes, so, give mom some alone time / downtime where she can unwind on her special day.

Whatever way you celebrate, Happy Mother’s Day to all the amazing moms out there!

 

Add Comment

Top Nine Ways To Celebrate The Valentine’s Day Long Weekend

Valentine’s Day (or as some people like to call it, the International Day of Love) is almost here, and we have you covered for great ideas to celebrate. Whether you are spending some quality alone time, hanging out with your friends or with that special someone, here are SQM’s top nine ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day 2020. 

“Pal-entine’s” Day.

Who says Valentine’s Day needs to be all about romance, candlelit dinners and flowers? Grab your friends, order a pizza and dessert and have yourselves a party. Celebrate your friendship by having a board game night, having a movie marathon with your favourite rom-coms or sci-fi flicks, or complete a thousand-piece puzzle. Take time to celebrate your friendship and enjoy each other’s company. 

Ikea Date

This year, Ikea is rolling out the red carpet by offering a three-course meal, all for the low low price of $29.99 for members and $34.99 for non-members. Enjoy a dinner for two and then have the time of your life roaming the store looking for the great next purchase. 

Dinner and a Show

This is a classic date night option for a reason. It gives you and that special someone a reason to get dressed up, eat a delicious meal, talk about the meaning of life while staring deeply into each other’s eyes. Obviously, this will all be done over a shared plate of spaghetti (a la The Lady and the Tramp) before going to enjoy a night of cinematic excitement, artistic talent or theatrical drama. Check your local listings for great shows and performances scheduled around Valentine’s Day.

Take A Class Together

Get out of your comfort zone and bond with the ones you love by checking out a new activity together. Whether that’s trying out a cooking class to teach you the skills to master that Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe, busting out a dance move or two at a salsa or ballroom dance class, or learning to find your inner peace through meditation and yoga.

Weekend Getaway

Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to get away for the weekend. Lucky for you, this year Valentine’s Day falls right before the Family Day long weekend. Take this opportunity to head out of the city for a cozy getaway with that special someone. Visit Montreal to experience the architecture, food and culture, or go to Blue Mountain for skiing. If neither of those options sounds like your cup of tea, try going to the wine country and see if you can book a wine tasting tour.

Recreate your first date or favourite date

A wonderful and meaningful way to spend your Valentine’s Day with that special someone is recreating your first date. It is such a romantic and thoughtful gesture that really shows that you care.

NBA All-Star Weekend

For all you basketball fans, whether you’re #TeamGiannis or #TeamLeBron, get together with your friends and family to cheer on your team this Sunday!

Give Back

During the season of love, show how much you love and care about your community by giving back. Grab your friends, family and partner and volunteer to help the less fortunate.

Treat Yourself: Self Love

Take some time out of your busy schedule and treat yourself with some “me time” and self-care. Whether that means, getting a massage or your nails done, having a quiet night in or treating yourself to a new book or sweater, take the time to appreciate yourself and all the hard work that you do throughout the year.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Add Comment