A Birthday Dinner, More Toddler Fun, Ruby Lake and Spring

Being with good friends is always an amazing experience. After celebrating a life at last month’s funeral, that night we celebrated a birthday

The following weekend was warm and sunny. Tori was still in Vancouver completing his course, so I decided to take a drive out to Ruby Lake. Ruby Lake is named because the water turns red at sunset.

It was worth the hour’s drive from Halfmoon Bay – stunning views

hiking trails and a beach.

This is definitely somewhere we’ll come back to over the course of the summer.

The following weekend we took the opportunity of having Neil for the weekend. His parents have decided  to move back to Edmonton, which broke our hearts. The sunny weather turned cloudy and cold, but that didn’t stop us from visiting the beach and eating ice cream

Spring has come in with a vengeance at Halfmoon Bay – the daffodils and tulips that I stuffed into a window box last September when we moved, started to bloom

So beautiful – I just adore Daffodils. Of course, they were too crowded, so not all of them bloomed. When they’re done, I’ll separate them out.

The first of the Rhododendrons – we have 4 surrounding our little cottage

and cherry trees

And then these little flowers that are dotted around all over the place

Last weekend saw us back in Vancouver for some shopping and one last visit with Neil and the family

Until September.

It was Mother’s day the next day and Na-mee and Alex gave me a mug with chocolates in it (love chocolate)

The weather soon warmed up again and animals and humans alike spent many happy hours on the patio enjoying the sunshine

All too soon it was Monday and back to work. I guess Willow felt it too

Until next time …


But First, Tequila





A Night out with Friends, Easter in Edmonton, A Wedding & a Funeral

It’s been pretty hectic since my last post. Tori has settled into his course and is doing very well, according to his trainer. Living in a hotel isn’t exactly his cup of tea, so he’s very keen for it to be over so he can come home again. Only 4 more weeks!

We had some sad news in March – a friend of ours had what everyone thought was the flu bug that was going around, but unfortunately, it was clearly more than than and he passed away after only a few days. He was a wonderful man who always had a kind word for everyone, and always took the time to talk to us, no matter how busy he was.

Spent a very busy weekend in Vancouver on the 24th and 25th – there always seems so much to do and so many people to see. It started off with breakfast with Alex, Na-mee and little Neil. Neil was so very well behaved and it was wonderful to spend time with them catching up on all their news.

Neil - pancakes

That evening we gathered at a friend’s house for a few drinks (lots of Tequila was involved) and appies

before going on to a charity dance.

Thousands of miles away in South Africa, it was my niece’s wedding day. It’s at times like these that I really miss being closer to my family.

Unfortunately, we didn’t feel so wonderful the next day after so many tequilas and about 3 hours’ sleep, but we still had so many things to do, so we sucked it up and got on with our errands. I picked up some Easter cookies I had custom made for Clare

and after some more shopping, we moved onto the baby shower our friends were having for their daughter. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay very long as I had to catch a ferry back home, but, all in all it was a wonderful weekend.

Easter weekend saw me in Edmonton spending time with Clare & Mat. I always love going there – they are such great hosts. We did a bit of shopping at Ikea on Friday and watched a movie on TV in the evening after an amazing supper of pulled chicken. I made this dish for Tori when I got back and he was hooked!

The Best Crockpot BBQ Chicken - Family Fresh Meals -

The next day we went to a very popular bake shop called The Dutchess. People were lining up for 30 minutes or more to get their orders in. I don’t usually wait in line for too long for anything, but Clare assured me this was going to be worth it – and it was. It didn’t take us long to realize that we were’t going to be able to get a table, so we bought some macarons,

a rhubarb pie for dessert that night and a couple of London Fogs

and went home to stuff our faces.

That evening, one of Alex’s old school friends and his girlfriend, came for dinner – Easter ham followed by the delicious pie.

We played a board game which was a lot of fun – (I lost quite badly!) and played with Clare’s new kitten

and took selfies

The next day, we went to a move – A Wrinkle in Time. I love moves like that. There were very few people there, it being Easter Sunday, so we had a place to ourselves

Back in Vancouver, Neil was having a wonderful time with the Easter Bunny, and Na-mee sent us photos

Soon it was time to go home. After travelling most of the day, I relaxed on my patio with a glass of red wine.

and then I displayed the cushion covers that Clare brought back from Zimbabwe.

Until next time …


But First, Tequila


Clearing The Garden, New Patio Furniture & a Relaxing Weekend

Tori started his heavy equipment course on March 5th and I didn’t see him for 2 weeks. The first week was ok – I managed to get on with some home organization and cleaning – but the second week it started to wear a bit thin. So, he came over on the ferry on Friday evening to spend the weekend with me.

We decided to make a start on our patio furniture and bought two adirondack chairs to go at the far end. In a couple of weeks, we’ll buy another two.

We also bought some potatoes and onions and blood meal to add to our growing collection of vegetable and herb seeds.

We spent a lovely afternoon cleaning up the yard a little and making a start on the space for our vegetable garden. Our landlord is building a cottage above us and storing some of the building materials in one of the sheds on our property (the one on the right in the picture below, which will then be torn down to make space for the sewage system). A couple of weeks ago, they dug up some of our driveway to put in some piping, and cut down one of the trees, so where we plan to have our vegetable and herb garden, water feature and fire pit, looked like this. A bit of a mess, yes?

So Tori decided to have a bonfire to at least make a start on getting rid of some of the old wood and junk in that space.


The back yard was a bit of a mess where I had thrown some branches from pruning the shrubs

Back yard

So I put them all into the pile bound for the bonfire, and cut some dead-looking brambles


to neaten it up a bit and make it more pleasing to the eye

Even Tiki came out to help

After all that hard work, we sat ourselves down with a beer in our new chairs and watched the fire burn for a bit.

We made quite a dent in that old wood and only have a small pile left.

After spending a couple of relaxing hours by the fire, we cleaned ourselves up and went out for dinner.

Things are starting to bloom slowly. Little purple flowers are opening on the Creeping Charlie

Soon, this will be a mass of blue on the ground. Also, little crocuses coming up all over the place

and the previous resident planted hundreds of bulbs everywhere

When they flower, this will be a beautiful field of pretty flowers.

This morning, we put the new chairs in their place on the patio

and took our dogs for a walk down to Cooper’s Green.

The Canadian Geese are back and seem to have chosen a tiny island to nest on. They were all swimming around noisily and chasing each other

Also saw two little Sandpipers foraging for food on the beach. So cute with their little red beaks.

All too soon it was over. Tori went back to the lower mainland and I got on with prepping my lunches for next week and finishing off my laundry. Next weekend I’ll be the one taking the ferry over the to mainland to see Neil and spend some time with our friends – I can’t wait!


But First, Tequila



A Cold Spell and Toddler Fun

Neil- beach

This house has been sick these past couple of weeks. Tori has been a very good nurse to my while I coughed and hacked my way through it. Today, he woke up with it, so it looks like it’s my turn to play nursemaid!

Of course, mine started the weekend we had Neil. I almost cancelled it, but I wasn’t contagious and we’d looked forward to having him for so long, I decided against it in the end. And I’m glad I did! He was fascinated with the ferry – something new for him. He loved watching the water go by. Once on the Sunshine Coast, we went to the local diner for breakfast and Neil had pancakes

Neil - pancakes

After some grocery shopping, we took the dogs (and Neil) to the beach – he loved the surf – called it “bubbles!”

Neil- beach

and then some play time, while I did some household chores.

Neil - trains

After supper, we snuggled together on the couch and watched Sesame Street on TV and shared a bowl of his favourite snack – popcorn.

Neil - popcorn

It had been a very busy day for him and I guess it all proved a little too much – he fell asleep on the couch at around 7:30. All I could think at the time was that I was going to have to wake up at some ungodly hour, like 3 or 4 am, but he woke up again at around 9pm and we played some more before going back to sleep.

NEil - Sleep

The next morning, I had to wake him up, which gave me some time to drink my coffee and check my emails :). All too soon it was over. His parents came over on the ferry to visit and then took him home with them.

The broccoli seeds that we planted on the 12th, started coming up the very next Friday – yes, the 17th! I couldn’t believe it – the instructions on the seed packet said that germination was between 7 – 14 days, not 4 days.

Broccoli Sprouts

A few days after that, the basil that I planted also started to come up

The broccoli was getting so tall, it was starting to fall over, despite my running my fingers over them to strenghten the stalks. So today I transplanted them into a deeper tub, and planted some more seeds. I’m going to do this every two weeks so we get broccoli well into September.

Broccoli replant

Tori fixed our headless fisherman – so he’s looking pretty cool. To see what he looked like before, click here. I’m gathering some water feature ideas, so hopefully I can start working on it soon.

While we were basking in Spring-like weather last week and starting to feel pretty smug about how warm it was in February, Mother Nature decided to remind us that it’s still winter by giving us a bit of snow

I’m told my bulbs will be fine and will continue growing and flowering when the weather warms up, but for now, they look like this

Today I comforted my myself my buying some Spring bulbs.

spring bulbs

Hopefully, we’ll both we well enough for a trip into Vancouver next week – I have some shopping to do!



But First, Tequila


Stirrings of Spring, Starting Seeds & a New Shed


We’ve had so much rain in such a short space of time, that everything was starting to look a little waterlogged, especially the four palm trees. Last weekend, I had to cut most of them right back and re-pot them as they were getting root bound. I left two of them under the eaves on our patio and put the other two underneath our porch to dry out – along with the Lavender, Sage and Rosemary.


Lavender, Sage, Rosemary, Palms

This weekend, the sun came out, so I moved them into the sunshine to dry out, and gave the lavender a haircut

Lavender pruning

I kept some of the trimmings to use as cuttings for more lavender plants. Hopefully, in about 6 weeks, these should have taken root and will be ready for transplanting into the garden.

Our bulbs and garlic are starting to come up and there are buds on the trees. The evenings are starting to get noticeably lighter, so while it’s still pretty cold, February is shaping up to be quite cheerful.

Soon we’re planning on starting our vegetable seeds indoors and I’ve been gathering egg boxes for this purpose. However, yesterday I read that Basil harvests in 80 days! Yikes, that’s a long time! So I’ve decided to start these seeds this weekend so we can harvest in May or June instead of August. Tori filled two egg boxes with potting soil and brought them inside to warm up a bit. We’ll plant the Basil seeds tomorrow. The rest of the seeds can wait until mid-March or so.

While puttering around what is to be our new vegetable garden and planning where things will go, we came across this poor guy at the very back of one of the sheds (the one that will torn down soon)

As you can see, he’s lost his head and is looking a bit creepy. But Tori is going to glue his head back on and I plan to use him as part of a small water feature I’m going to make for our herb garden.

Yesterday, we came home from grocery shopping to find our Landlord and his dad putting up a shed in our back yard :). When it’s done, we plan to put our little deep freeze in there along with a few garden tools and such.

Next weekend, we have Neil for weekend. I’m so excited – there’s so much here for a toddler to do. I also booked my air ticket to visit Clare in Edmonton over Easter – so excited for that too.


But First, Tequila



January – the Nothing Month

January is a funny month – it’s too cold and rainy to do much outdoorsy stuff and so nothing much happens. I usually use this time to declutter and get organized, but I’ve been doing that every month since we moved here in September, so there’s nothing much left to do at the moment. We have, however, started to plan our vegetable garden. At the moment, the space where we plan to grow them looks like this

But soon the building materials and shed on the right in the first picture, will be gone and things should have dried out enough to prepare our beds. We plan to start some of the seeds indoors next month and I decided to buy a few things every pay day so I don’t end up spending a huge amount in one go in a month or two



At the end of the month, we were in Vancouver for a WCB assessment for Tori – he won’t be able to drive long haul anymore, so they want to retrain him as a heavy equipment operator. Friday the 26th saw in at a training school going through the motions to see if that job would suit him. While he was doing that, I sneaked in some toddler time. We didn’t have much time, so I took him to the duck park and then for an ice cream. Unfortunately, my phone died and I had left the charger at home, so didn’t get many pictures of him.

We had a lovely Friday evening dinner with the usual suspects

Of course, no get-together is complete without Tequila

And then all too soon it was over and we were on the ferry the next day and back home.

The end of the month saw a full blue, blood moon. Did you see it? Ours looked like this



But First, Tequila

A Quiet Christmas & and a Bittersweet ending to 2017

Hi Guys, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! The weather report promised us a white Christmas, but here in Halfmoon Bay, we woke up to this

Christmas morning frost

One can hardly call it snow – more like frost, really! I shouldn’t complain. One of the reasons why we moved here is because it’s warmer than almost anywhere else in Canada.

We had a very quiet Christmas this year as our kids were away, but it was filled with lots of chocolate and mulled wine interspersed with some real food. Here’s how our lacy chocolate turned out

Lacy Chocolate

Lacy Chocolate

You can see how we did this here

Our Christmas morning breakfast was a giant waffle cooked in a griddle pan, and thick, hot chocolate that we dipped waffle soldiers into. Decadent, but delicious. Of course, the hot chocolate was laced with our Christmas tradition of Forty Creek Whiskey Cream.

For Christmas dinner, we opted for cornish hens instead of a huge turkey. It’s been a while since I had a good roast dinner, so it was very delicious.

Of course, no meal is complete without a glass of something. I made mulled wine as Tori has never had it before.

A perfect end to a perfect day.

The next day, I woke up to the tragic news that Sheena’s (my sister-in-law) brother, Fraser, had passed away. I was so shocked I felt sick. We all hung out together in the 90’s, singing, eating, drinking, raising our kids. It was a magical time.

Fraser was a unique human being who was prepared to be himself in a world that didn’t allow for that easily. A musician and artist, father, husband, brother, friend – he touched the lives of everyone he met. We thought he was invincible!

“We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”

Fraser, no words can express the life you lived, but you lived it and you lived it so well. Truth be told we are never prepared to say goodbye to someone so close to our hearts, especially someone as vibrant as yourself. There are many things that have been left unsaid and so many things still left to do, but that is exactly how you wanted it. Because now we can only remember the times we said “Hello” and all the blissful conversations that flowed with it. This is the memory you left us with – your infectious passion for life. It lingers within every person you met. Your ability to touch souls and ignite a fire of wonder within them is something you come by once in a lifetime. There have been long nights of deep conversations, contemplating the most amazing ideas and how to go about plans that would never have come true, but in those moments nothing stood in our way. These are the things we will remember you by. I thank you for all that you were and all that you still are, because you are still with us… In our hearts and souls, on our lips as we sip good whiskey, and our tongues as we share tales of the great life you lived. If there is one thing I am sure of it is that your beautiful craziness lives on. It lives on in all of us.

Image may contain: one or more people and guitar

We ended off 2017 with good friends – just as it should be.

While the weather on the Sunshine Coast was producing very mild winter conditions, the rest of Vancouver were experiencing this deep freeze

Happy New Year!


But First, Tequila