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

Spectacular!

 

But First, Tequila

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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

 

December – Home-made Christmas Decorations, Making New Friends & Lots of Chocolate

It rained and rained and rained for all of November, and then, just as it was starting to get tedious and depressing, suddenly in December, rain turned to blue skies and bright sunshine. Almost overnight the warm-ish weather turned freezing. Parts of the Sunshine Coast were covered in pretty, white frost sparkling in the sunshine. Nothing in Halfmoon Bay, where we live, but I had to be careful driving to work as I could see the ice glistening on the road. Yesterday there was a slushy covering of ice on Trout Lake.

Image result for images of icy trout lake, sunshine coast

I got round to putting up the Christmas tree and other decorations around mid-December. I try to to get this done every year by about December 15th. Most of the time it’s late, but this year, I was a day or two early!  I made a simple wreath for the front door and added some small decorations to our front porch. You can read how I did this here Continue reading December – Home-made Christmas Decorations, Making New Friends & Lots of Chocolate

October & November – Settling in, a Thanksgiving Dinner & a Birthday Party

Hi Guys! I recently had a bloggy glitch where I lost a lot of my content! So I’m playing catch up. I can’t believe it’s already December and I’m still trying to write about October! Nothing much happened in November, so we could probably move right to December after this.

October was spend settling into our new cottage and me settling into my new job. We moved from an 1,100 sq. ft. townhouse, to a 650 sq. ft. beach cottage, so it’s been quite a challenge finding a place for everything.

The kitchen was our first project as that’s mainly where everything happens in our house. Because of the lack of counter space, we were using our drinks trolley as a coffee/tea station. But, not long after we moved in, we visited my favourite furniture store, Ikea, and bought a kitchen island

 

and got our junk drawer back and space to put extra utensils

and shelving for mixing bowls and measuring jugs and stuff

And then we moved some of the food I use a lot in cooking, from the pantry (which was not that close to the kitchen anymore) to a corner unit in the kitchen which has revolving shelving

and the spices and condiments to a cupboard next to the stove

The dishes that I don’t use on the daily basis, and my slow cooker went onto a shelf in the pantry cupboard as did my recipe books

Much better, dontcha think?

And then I just puttered around placing some ornaments that were still in boxes

 

and finished off with fall decor for the front porch

The first Monday in October was Thanksgiving in Canada and our friends invited us to share it with them. It was a very special day spent with old friends and new.

The weather turned rainy and cold in November and we stayed indoors and did not very much. But a friend’s birthday party got us out of the house and onto the ferry back to the Lower Mainland. But not before visiting Neil and filling him with cinnamon buns.

Once again, an amazing time with friends. When the photos are blurry, you know we had a great time!

 

But First, Tequila

 

 

 

 

Exploring Our Surroundings and a Visit From Friends

 

Hello again! Still trying to catch up on September stuff! I had a bit of a computer glitch and lost a lot of photos in these posts. So I’ve been spending a lot of time putting them all back again. Thankfully, I have then saved in a safe place.

September continues … Continue reading Exploring Our Surroundings and a Visit From Friends

September Stuff

Sunset at Sunshine Coast

Hello everyone. The above photo is the sunset at my new home! I’ve been trying to post in here for at least 3 weeks now, but something always gets in the way!

September was an exciting month. First of all, it was Neil’s 2nd birthday on the 12th. He had a party on the 16th, but we couldn’t be there, so we visited on the actual day. We gave him some little wooden trains from Ikea to add to the set he already has, and he just loved them.

Neil's 2nd birthday

He played with them for the rest of the evening. Alex and Namee made us a delicious dinner of Shepherd’s Pie and Corn. Corn is Neil’s favourite food.

On the 14th we moved to the Sunshine Coast. We loaded the moving truck the night before and left for the ferry first thing in the morning.

Ferry

 

And then the fun began.  We moved approximately 1,100 sq. ft. of stuff into a 650 sq. ft. Yikes!

Cottage at Halfmoon Bay

moving boxes - new cottage

Looks a bit overwhelming, yes? Well, it was, and I remember saying things like “I hate this house” and “I’m too tired to do any more”, but that first day we set up a working kitchen

and the couch

cottage couch

and called it a day. I think there was vodka involved.

That evening after supper, we sat on the beach and watched the sun go down. That, alone, made it all worth it.

Halfmoon bay sunset

Over the next week or two we slowly got organized – the entryway

Cottage entry way

Living room

dining area

and bedroom

Cottage Bedroom

cottage bedroom2

 Finding little spaces for the things that used to live on the mantle in our old house

There was also Tori’s ‘man cave’, but it’s a work in progress 🙂

The cats settled in quite well after exploring everywhere

We finished off by tidying up the patio/deck – placing the little birdbath, angels and frog surrounded by the grasses we bought a couple of months ago

And moved the sun-loving plants to a sunny spot

and hung some other stuff

And then sat back and admired our handywork (this involved more vodka)

Once we were, er, refreshed, we took our dogs to Cooper’s Green – the beach across the road

Until next time ….

But First, Tequila

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A New Adventure, A Girl’s Night Out & a Birthday Party

 

Hello! It’s been very hot a muggy here in Vancouver – too hot to do anything constructive after about 11 am. It’s even too hot to sit outside on our shady patio – no breeze at all. Still, I’m not complaining because we had nothing but rain, rain and more rain this past winter and I’m not missing it at all.

I have some exciting news! I got a job on BC’s beautiful Sunshine Coast! In my opinion, it’s paradise and I can’t believe we’re going to live there. Whilst it is, technically, part of Vancouver’s Lower Mainland, because of it’s mountainous/watery terrain, it can only be reached by ferry. It does seem to get more than it’s fair share of great weather, and then of course there’s the beaches and little coastal villages to explore. The drive from one end to the other is 180 km (110 miles). LOVE.

It was a bit of a shock when it finally sunk in that we have to move from our beloved townhouse to a place where, technically, we had never been before. Tori was a little upset, but, after much discussion, we decided that we could definitely make this work. He would stay on the Lower Mainland during the week and then come home on the weekends. But, as he’s on WCB at the moment and his work future isn’t really clear, it’s a matter of ‘wait and see’ for the next month or so.

So, last Monday, we took the ferry across to the Sunshine Coast to look at a couple of houses. The scenery was breathtaking from the ferry.

and 40 minutes later saw us landing in Langdale and on our way to our first viewing. We had about an hour or so to kill, so we stopped at Gibsons for lunch.

And dined at the famous Molly’s Reach where the series The Beachcomber’s was filmed. I used to love that show when I was younger (much younger!). The food was amazing – and reasonably priced.

After lunch, we drove up the only highway to our first viewing. The wooded cabin-type house looked good from the photos, but in actual reality was awful and not what we were looking for at all – so we passed on that and drove to Halfmoon Bay

where we found this cottage … and fell in love

It’s quite a bit smaller than what we’re used to – 2 bedrooms instead of 3, and whoever designed the kitchen didn’t have food prep in mind, but it’s nothing that a kitchen island won’t solve and I love it.  All our friends want to visit.

And so, we begin packing for our move on September 14th.

The day after we got back from Fort Vermilion, Tori left for a motorbike ride for 4 days with 18 other bikers

and the wives/girlfriends had a girl’s night out. We all met at the RV park where one of the girls lives, and she gave us a ride in her golf cart to her house

where we all got into the limousine that she hired to drive us around for a couple of hours.

Before long, the party was in full swing with champagne and, er, other beverages

Loud music, singing and generally having fun, as you can see by the blurred photos! 🙂

Why risk spilling your wine by pouring it into a glass when you can drink straight from the bottle? 😀

And then onto the pub for some supper and dancing. This was the only clear-ish photo I managed to salvage of that night.

Not long after that night, I got a FaceBook message from some friends I had not seen in about 35 years! I spent most of my teenage years at Kay’s house. She and her husband Paul, were high school sweethearts. They had traveled from South Africa to visit a friend in America and were now in Vancouver!! I couldn’t believe my luck. We dropped everything and drove an hour to North Vancouver for a reunion – drinks and supper – it was an amazing evening and wonderful to see them again. We chatted (and drank) like no time had passed at all. Kay and Paul are on either side of me.

And then a couple of weeks after that – a birthday party. Champagne was replaced by shooters – home made Apple Pie Moonshine

And love was in the air

The birthday girl

A lot of fun with old friends and new

Whew! That’s enough partying for a while, I think!

Cheers!

But First, Tequila