Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Veddy Skeddy Halloween!


All the candy has been purchased and the stockings hung by the chimney with care...oops - wrong holiday.  Either way, all the candy has been purchased - $50 worth.  I bought extra as Halloween falls on a Friday night and we expect at least 60 plus trick-or-treaters.  Is it just me or is the candy much more expensive this year?  I still like handing it out so I guess I can't complain - plus if we couldn't afford it we would shut the lights off (bah humbug).  Hubby and my stepdaughter will watch scary movies while I act as the official treat-hander-outer as I can't stand horror movies.

We survived Tropical Storm Ana which was really not much more than a normal Fall storm here with a 1.5 hr power outage in the middle of the night.  I woke up just before the power went back on thinking how much I needed my morning tea - and wouldn't you know it but the power came back on!  Other parts of the island were hit a bit harder with some minor flooding and tree damage but all in all, Tropical Storm Ana went out like a lamb, thank goodness.  Our new bed was delivered and is much easier on hubby's back, and my stepdaughter is enjoying sleeping on our old bed which is loads better than the fold out couch she has slept on for the last couple weeks and is still basically an almost new bed.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Back to Nature Weekend


We had a very nice weekend away on Quadra Island at the Taku resort.  It is low season on the island and very few tourists go there this time of year - a fabulous place to enjoy some peace, quiet and nature.  This post is a little photo heavy but it was hard to leave out any of the pictures(click on any photo to enlarge).   

These seals were right out front our resort lounging about on some logs attached to the marina.  They were just watching us when two got spooked, swam away then realized we meant no harm so came back, flopped back up on the log and gave us the big stare.  The photo above I believe is the baby harbour seal and the photo below is either Momma or Pappa.  Usually you just see their cute noses above the water but Friday they were not that shy.  They are such curious creatures.


Pappa, Momma and Baby

The Tlingit Tribes named Taku as the nesting place of birds.  We saw plenty of different types including this loon.

Friday was rainy (it has rained 25 days straight now after months of drought-like conditions) but it did break for 2 hours so we spent those on the beach and marina enjoying the wildlife.

I love nature of any kind and am fascinated by these anemones attached to the dock.  They were very healthy and plentiful, a sign of a good ecosystem.

As we were heading back inside we encountered this doe and fawn about 15 feet from our front door.  The fawn was busy eating but unfortunately the only picture I got of it was a bit blurry.

Doe keeping an eye on us.

Fawn completely ignoring us

Blue Heron
 I believe the fish in the picture below spotted off the dock are baby sturgeon (I am sure they are not salmon or trout) which grow to extremely large fish but are only 3 inches long here.



This duck is called a Harlequin duck and I believe from the markings is a Drake (male).  These guys are very shy as I see them a lot in Comox and usually cannot get close enough to get a decent picture.  The water was so peaceful on Sunday this guy was unconcerned by us and posed.


It rained almost all day Saturday so all these pictures were from Friday and Sunday.  On Saturday despite the rain we went for an hour walk on the beach with our umbrellas but got cold so went back and spent the day reading and watching movies.  Sunday the sun came out for the first time in over 3 weeks and it was a very nice day.  We went for a 1.5 hour walk at Rebecca Spit (a sandspit is a long slim finger of land with water on either side) which was directly across the harbour from our resort separating us from the Straight of Georgia (Salish Sea).


View of Rebecca Spit from Taku Resort


I love taking pictures of jellyfish, they are such beautiful creatures.  This one was particularly luminescent and right near the surface of the water.  I don't ever recall seeing so many jellyfish in one spot as how plentiful they were near the marina.

Walking on Rebecca Spit


I photo-stalk all creatures great and small.  


If I have misidentified any of the creatures in this post please let me know - I am certainly no expert, just like taking their pictures.

We are now preparing for Tropical Storm Ana that is supposed to hit Vancouver and Vancouver Island by late Monday night/Tuesday.  This is quite rare for Tropical storms to land so far north but it has happened in the past.  We have lots of candles, water and food, and will stay warm and cozy by the natural gas fireplace should the power go out.    Wouldn't you know that Tuesday is the day we scheduled the arrival of our new bed (our 1 year old bed is going to my stepdaughter, hubby's back is getting worse and we needed more support), scheduled a repairman for our washing machine and scheduled Doctors appointment.  I certainly hope Ana doesn't get in the way!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Recent Bargains and one not so much :)


Just a quick post to share some recent finds.  The Owl above was purchased brand new as we went regular retail shopping this past weekend (oh my, have I lost my mind? lol) to get my Stepdaughter some much needed clothing necessities that could not be purchased at the thrift stores.  I rarely buy anything for myself - just my luck to get sucked into Pier 1 Imports and I could not resist this little fuzzy guys charms.  Yes, it is a Christmas ornament - $4.50 total cost - worth every penny of that on the cuteness scale and my one un-bargain of the week.  That also counts as my one and only brand new purchase for Christmas Crap this year.  If new to this blog see past Christmas Crap Campaign guidelines  - I have lived by these rules for the past several years and saved tons.  Feel free to join - the rules are pretty easy to live by and you can amend the rules to work in your household if required.  Any other non-gift Christmas purchases this year will be solely from the Thrift Stores.  He will be perched in the windowsill until late November when the rest of the house will be decorated for Christmas (*I really should have washed the window before taking that picture but this is real life).

Friday, October 17, 2014

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

And then there were 3

Stormy Seas
So my big news is that my 16 (17 this coming Friday) stepdaughter has moved in with us on a full-time permanent basis.  Thanks for everyone's kind thoughts - I didn't want to share until she was actually physically here.  It was unexpected but welcome as we have lived full-time with her brothers but only ever part-time with her and now have a chance at molding and shaping her into a young adult.  It took an entire family effort including assistance from her brothers to get her here from Alberta when I was in B.C. and her Dad was in a different part of Alberta working last week.

We had Canadian Thanksgiving this past weekend with my oldest Stepson, Stepdaughter and my Mom.  We ate lots of turkey and watched lots of movies all warm and cozy in the house.  The weather has been stormy with lots of wind and rain.  Yesterday, we took a drive to the ocean to see how high the waves were and spotted these kite surfers taking advantage of the conditions.
Kite Surfers, Goose Spit Park, Comox B.C.

Kite Surfers, Goose Spit Park, Comox B.C.


There has been a million and one things to do but the most important goal was to get her back into school quickly and she starts tomorrow.  We are somewhat fortunate that we had a teachers strike in B.C. that only ended a few weeks ago so she is not that far behind the other students here and will only have to play catch-up for a few weeks of missed term.  Life - you never know what is around the next bend!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Curve Ball


Life has gone a bit crazy this week.  I will not be posting for a week or two as a result.  We have major changes coming to our household I need to prepare for - no one died, and hubby and I are just fine but that is all I am can share at this point.

Good thing we moved near the Ocean where we can find some peace and tranquility...

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Winning The Grocery Battle

Goose Spit Park, Comox, British Columbia

Well, I have survived possibly one of the longest months of the year work-wise.  Tomorrow is my last day at the part-time job and I will miss the people but I need some more time for myself.  Although we have been working like mad at our company as well, we did manage to take a walk on the beach this past Sunday just as the fog cleared off.  The crabs are still here, it hasn't gotten cold enough for them to start burrowing in the sand yet. I like to overturn rocks and find the creatures beneath, but try and leave them in peace once I am done taking pictures.

Crabby-pants on a stare down
I did manage to pull off a lower than normal month grocery bill this month, although technically I am no longer posting monthly results I had to share this.  Usually our average monthly grocery bill is $450 including non-food items like cleaning, personal grooming and over the counter meds but this month I ended up at $288.26 total spent.  It helped that hubby was gone away on business for part of it but I also just ate what was in the cupboard.  At the every end of the month I came across a huge amount of meat that was nearly half off - paid $55 for over $100 worth of steaks and chicken parts from the expensive grocery store that I always check for reduced meat stickers.  After buying my Thanksgiving turkey yesterday there is absolutely no more room in the freezers for anything.

The $288.26 was what I paid out of pocket.  I also managed to redeem $92.25 in free groceries through points, store freebies and coupons - plus - I still have points left to redeem in future!  Hopefully October will be just as low, as apparently this belt-tightening is paying off. 

What we don't spend in groceries will be placed in our travel fund.  As always, we try and save on those things that don't matter so we can use that money for doing things that make a difference in our lives like travelling.  In this case we have just booked two nights away in late October to a nearby island for some peace and quiet. Due to working out of our home sometimes you just have to get away to take a day off!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Pumpkins!

Pumpkins at Sieffert's Farm Market, Comox

Fall is such a magical time of year.  The days grow shorter, the grass slows growing, and the shadows increase in size.  The leaves are starting to turn, and this week we experienced some of the first rain showers of the season, badly needed after an extremely dry summer.

We have Canadian Thanksgiving much earlier than the USA, this year falling on October 13th.  The above pumpkins are all ready to go for it.  I have been on the lookout for a cheap turkey deal, and later this week I will be picking up my 95 cent per pound young utility turkey which tastes great, sometimes they are missing a bit of skin or a wingtip.  My family could care less what the turkey looks like coming out of the stove, we don't carve it at the table, what only matters is that it tastes good.  My eldest stepson is flying in for Thanksgiving weekend this year, a first for us as usually we have a very quiet crowd of 3  which includes me, hubby and Mom at dinner with tons of turkey leftover.  He works out and is a healthy young man so I expect we will not have a lot of leftovers this time round.

This week a friend gave me a bunch of squash including zucchini, and a large bowl of tomatoes as she was overwhelmed by garden produce.  I had too much for us so passed on a couple of the squash to Mom along with some cilantro from my yard.   I had a bumper crop of cilantro this Fall, finally figuring out how to make sure I have some all summer long.  Cilantro doesn't like pots, does much better in the ground, and must be planted in waves so that when it starts to go to seed you have another round ready to go.  I happen to be a cilantro lover so it is a staple in our house, being thrown into every pot of rice and most soups, salads, and salsas.

I work my last week of the part-time job this coming week ending on Friday.  I will miss many of the people I work with and hope to maintain friendships after it is over but will love the fact that I will actually have some time to breathe again.  September is one of the busiest months of the whole year for our company and this week was no exception.  Yesterday I worked in my jammies until 3pm then finally took a shower and made a big pot of chicken salsa soup (yes, there was cilantro in it :))  In case anyone wonders, our company does sales training and consulting and I am in charge of administration which includes making powerpoint presentations that hubby delivers.  We try and be creative so that it is never boring and that takes a lot of effort and time.  Thank goodness I did so much cleaning earlier in the month as none has taken place this week at all.  We also do all our own printing with personalized binders with our logo on them.  We have figured out a way to make our very tiny company of 2 look stunningly professional, and as a result, business is booming.

Thanks to all the Anniversary well-wishers, we did make it out to dinner and it was very nice.  Next year for our 10th Wedding Anniversary I hope to plan something more, but it will depend on our business around that time as expect September to be extremely busy every year.

Plans are afoot for December, we already have our flights to and from Edmonton booked but from there we are spending one week somewhere hot and tropical, likely Mexico.  This week with my second to last part-time work paycheck I banked the last of the Christmas gift money and topped up the travel account.  There should be enough in there for whatever we decide to do but as I am waiting for a sell-off that likely will be booked within 6 weeks of travel for best rates, the money will sit in the bank account for now.  I will keep tucking money away all fall, and if there is too much, the remainder will go towards future travel adventures.  You can never have too much money in the travel fund lol.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

9th


9 Years Ago I married the best man on the planet - to 99 More!  We are off to quietly celebrate at a restaurant as my Mom gave us a gift certificate.   Our wedding was a quiet affair with 12 people and over in 12 minutes.  Our anniversaries tend to be the same - no pomp, no circumstance, - a glass of wine and a nice meal with the one we love.  Cheers!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tomato, Tamata


These yummy tomatoes were a gift from a coworker from my part-time job.  I am sure we will be friends after I leave that job, she and her husband are funny and kind people.  The green ones are called Zebra tomatoes and are fully ripe.  I shall be having a bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich for dinner to try them out.  It is funny how free produce can make you so happy!

I managed to get one more job off the "get done before hubby gets home" list - cleaned out the fridge.  I cannot recall the last time I cleaned it although it always get a quick wipe weekly, it still needed a really good thorough cleaning.  No pictures of that, just lots of veggies, eggs, cheese and booze (yes, booze!)

I cashed in $20 worth of Superstore points (Loblaws) today to get even more veggies so the fridge is full for hubby's return on Friday.  Only 2 more sleeps!