May Things

Monday, 30 May 2016

May was a bit of a marathon month for me.

While others were training for Bluenose...I was getting by!  I went to Halifax, three times in less than a one trip to Middleton (That's like a record for me...not a good one, either).

It felt like a lot of my week days were scheduled...both inside my work life and outside.

There was a lot of me saying yes, when I should have probably said no...(or "could we try this instead?")

On a good note...all our financial stuff lined up and we finally finished the approval process with the bank with our house.  Yea!

We chose a contractor and signed a contract of sorts.

I am super pleased with our contractor (in this very short period of time that we have been working with him). He has taken so much time to ask us detailed questions about anything and everything to deal with our house. He has been extremely forthcoming re: suggestions and very available via email and to meet on short notice.  Their product sourcing has been phenomenal (from stair railings, to siding to fixtures)..and I can't wait to see it all happen....eventually.

We are now in the permit phase of things.  I have learned to take timelines with a grain of salt (already...which is probably a good zen with the timeline)....and until then, we will wait for our start date!

Hoping to witness some of the big dig on start date...and in the meantime...I hope to come up with a little something to introduce ourselves to the neighbours.

Anyone that knows the area we are building, will know space is somewhat tight and the road is pretty much single lane.

Here we are coming in...making lots of noise...lots of upheaval and most likely lots of mess for everyone to "enjoy".

I hope to start things off on the right foot and give a little something to our close neighbours to buy us a little patience.

I am thinking maybe something baked, with a note introducing ourselves and the promise of coming over for an open house at the end of it all....gawd knows...we will probably all need a large drink at the end of this all...(whether it be the month of May or the end of house building).

Wish us luck,


Newfangled Camping Adventures

Monday, 16 May 2016

I grew up camping.

My parents were big outdoor, we didn't have tons of money.  Summer vacation was usually a trip to "the mainland" on the ferry...where we camped our way through Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI, Quebec, Ontario and the States.

The view from our Keji campsite
Last Labour day weekend, we went camping with friends, to Keji.

It had been a looong time since we had been camping.....we definitely hadn't been since Emma was born.

Our tent was moldy from living in the basement...the air mattresses questionable.

So we borrowed as much gear as we could...we did invest in three sleeping bags from MEC....and slept on foam "pads".  By "pads", I mean thin, hard strips, of hell.

Yes. Hell.

If there is something at this end of this life...and I have been judged to have been a miserable, horrible person with little humanity...I fear I shall see that our beds will be these foam pads we slept on for two nights, on a gravel campsite.

That and we only have soy milk to put in our coffee.

So we are going camping again this year (hopefully, more than once!).  I found some sweet self-inflating mattresses at Costco last time I was there (similar to the awesome Therm-a-rest products) and am expecting a much better sleeping experience this time 'round.

Next up....the tent.

We borrowed our tent last time...but this time our friend we borrowed from, is going with us!  It might be a bit cozy, so we are opting to purchase.

Tents are so confusing.

I grew up with the pyramid type ones that had stainless steel poles...where if your tent fell down, the poles might turn into weapons that could cause blunt force trauma.

Later on in my teenage camping years I discovered dome tents, that were easier to set up. Obviously, dome tent for the win.

Hot tip: If a tent says that it is a 2 person's really a 1 person tent....unless you are into spooning.  (And maybe you spoon away.)

So that means we would probably be looking for a 4-ish person tent.

Personally, I prefer tents that have a "fly" that creates a zip up vestibule to the tent entrance, itself.  It creates a barrier between weather, bugs...and gives you some extra privacy for when your child opens the tent door while you are changing out of your happens, right?

Where to shop?

Here's the part where I tell you I googled "best tent for the money canada" (cuz otherwise all these U.S. tent articles show up).

So of course, MEC shows up...where the cost of a tent is a healthy RRSP contribution and you would feel comfortable camping with their tents at some base camp of a mountain.

What you notice about the cheaper tents, is that they don't have much protection from weather and the fly is very skimpy....and a bigger tent is not always better. A tent can be roomy but not great quality. Who wants to buy a new tent every few years? (We are trying to be a "one and done" style of shopping fact I will save that topic for another day!)

Canadian Tire and Cabela's share some reputable name brands (Eureka!).

In the end..I think we are going to purchase a tent from Cabela's online store. The one we are looking at comes in 4 and 6 person sizes. The plan is to take the dimensions for each, go out in the back yard and map out the size difference...probably lie down in the grass side by side to get an opportunity to see how we would fit (plus or minus gear)...have the neighbours peek out to see what the heck we are up to....

One nice feature about the 6 person tent is that you can stand up, full height, if you are less than 6 feet tall...non essential...but a nice feature none the less.

Next up...a camp stove..cuz nothing is more important than food, while you are camping (is it just me, or does food taste exponentially better while camping?)

A truly happy camper

Stayed tuned...since our house planning is limping a long..I will have lots of time to think and research camping gear for families!!

Do you go camping, glamping, RV-ing or hotel hopping?

What gear is the must have?


Cookies and Cream Cookies at Oak Island

Monday, 9 May 2016

Tax season is really tough.  It's really hard on the people that work so hard, for their job.  It's also really hard on families.

I was told recently, that the breakdown of all relationships all come down to expectations.

Expectations that aren't met.

Expectations that are implicit to some; failed to be made explicit.

A mismatch in expectations.

Tax season always challenges us as a family (hello, overtime).  It's when I struggle to change my expectations, from my usual. It's when I have to say "I understand", but also ensure I say "I need help", before my frustration turns to resentment.

Each tax season is easier, as I become more explicit with my expectations and Andrew with his.

(Each tax season is still hard...but I felt more confident this year. Emma still notices...that's a different story. It helped that the winter wasn't too hard this year...not too many storms...hardly a cold or a sniffle in this house...yea for immunity building...and flu shots!)

One great thing that Andrew's workplace does is go on a weekend trip to celebrate the end of tax season.  This year we went to Oak Island Resort. I didn't take many pictures...which is probably good, because it meant I was busy doing stuff...and all three of us had a great time as a family, and a great time with the work crew.

We did a lot of rock throwing

Emma and I had side by side mini-pedis. 

Since I have been trying to bake for the crew, this tax season, it only made sense that I make cookies for the get-togethers, we had over the weekend.

I got this recipe from Joy the Baker's website...but she actually got it from Graham Blackall from the website Glazed and Confused (cute name, huh?).

He likes to make these crazy cookie mashups that often have other iconic ingredients in them (Cap'n Crunch, Nutella etc.)

Well.....this cookie that I made for the weekend short....the Inception Cookie.

Cuz this was a cookie with Oreo cookies.....meta....I was intrigued by this cookie...a cookie within a cookie. Find the recipe HERE!

And I had reservations...because while everyone loves an Oreo's not as good as a home baked cookie.

In's a good damn thing that I felt that I should make these cookies for others, because I would have eaten most of the dough...(and I certainly ate a large chunk of it.)

A few dozen came with us....and none came back....and I was a bit sad. Tax season baking complete....

(I was so busy that I completely forgot to take a pic of the final product! Oh well....)

Guess I will have to push through start a new baking tradition...June 30th filing deadline baking! O-lay!