Wednesday, November 26, 2014

And So It Begins

We had a nice visit to Edmonton to see family and friends and do some business for our company last week.  We have a November Christmas dinner in our favorite Vietnamese restaurant with the boys (19, 21 and 22) and visited Baba who loved getting a copy of hubby's book and our family picture calendar.

I took this picture Saturday as we were at the airport waiting for our flight home.  Edmonton Airport regularly gets large amounts of snow.  It was barely snowing and there was no less than six snow removal vehicles zooming around on the ground.  I was pretty impressed.  It is so nice to come home to some sunshine and green grass, although there is talk of snow here on Sunday.  It would be unusual as we normally only get two or three snows per year and they usually fall around Christmas.  I bought a second snow shovel at Costco yesterday in anticipation-you must shovel the snow quickly or due to the high water content it quickly turns to cement and you will not be able to leave your house.  In Alberta we had light fluffy dry snow, easily moved by snow blowers - not possible here.

I normally have the entire house decorated by now - but life has been pretty busy lately and it just hasn't happened.  Sunday I threw the wreath on the door and yesterday I hauled all the Christmas bins up.  My house is a complete mess right now by by the end of today the interior will be done (*with some help from my Stepdaughter and a bit of Captain Morgans spiced rum and eggnog) and the empty bins put back in the crawl space. Tomorrow will then be cleaning day - everything will get a good scrubbing, dusting and vacuuming until New Years day when it all comes down and I do another major clean. 

I found these 4 spotless placemats yesterday at the thrift store for .75 cents each - $3 for the bunch.  I have been looking for some nice Christmassy ones and these fit the bill.  I did go thrifting in Alberta with my friend but bought nothing - prices are twice what they are in our thrift stores (that or I am just getting too cheap, could be that too :))

I used some of my amazon Gift certificates from Swagbucks for a gift for myself this year.  A Christmas Carol (specifically this 1950s version) has always been my favorite Christmas movie.  They used to have it on TV every Christmas Eve but last year they did not show it.  I wanted to make sure to have a copy so ordered it along with a stocking stuffer for my Stepdaughter so I didn't have to pay shipping.  

For all my American friends  - Happy Thanksgiving and to everyone else - have a great week!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


A fast post - bit of a whirlwind week:

1.  We started teaching my Stepdaughter how to drive.  Hubby gave 1 lesson and I gave 2 plus 1 private lesson from a driving instructor.  Let me say, she likes speed.  I was clutching the door, I really have to find a way not to be petrified while at the same time teach her how to drive.  We have a lot of long driving hours ahead of us lol.

2.  Just before our business trip/family trip this week our corporate credit card was hacked and a cash advance taken - we were contacted Sunday night.  What a pain in the tush- excuse my language but scammers need to be hung up by their toenails.  Everyone ends of paying for that kind of crime in higher fees - we had to cancel the card and don't get a new one for a few days - too late for this trip so will have to use our personal credit cards for all the expenses that are to be reimbursed by clients.

3.  Looking forward to seeing family plus 2 friends I have not seen in a long time.  One just lost her Dad last week so she needs some friend time and fortunately our trip couldn't have come at a better time.  There might be a lunch and some thrift therapy involved - she is like minded :)

That's it!  I told you it would be short :)  I managed to get our gifts for the 3 boys and Baba sorted before this trip so we will have part of our Christmas this week and the other half next Month with Mom and my Stepdaughter.  Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thrift Store Finds - A Good Haul!

November 12th is the day that all of the thrift stores in our town put out their Christmas goodies.  They wait until that day to honor Remembrance Day properly before switching over to Christmas.  I was there bright and early Wednesday morning to partake in some vintage Christmas hunting.  I collect vintage ornaments, mainly glass.  I found these little treasures -  Under the "No more Christmas crap campaign" these are permitted as they are used(*one of the primary guidelines for saving money at Christmas - perhaps I should change the name to buy no more "NEW" Christmas crap lol as used is OK).

Monday, November 10, 2014

The 30 day mark and a change in plans

I believe this is a Sandpiper (feel free to correct me :))
 I have included a few more shots of our recent trip to Quadra Island as haven't taken any pictures for a few weeks.  Today marks 30 days since my Stepdaughter moved in with us full-time permanently.  Things have gone much smoother than we could have even hoped for.  We have accomplished a lot of things that needed to be sorted like getting her in school, rewriting her learners license for driving, signing her up for driver training, and looking for a job.  We all seem to be getting back into the family groove and there is peace and happiness in the household (fingers and toes crossed it continues :)).

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Saving This Christmas

We had 36 Trick or Treaters here this year, down quite a few from the year before. I expected more as it was both Friday night and it was not raining  - obviously I overbought candy.  Next year, I am buying for 40 and if we run out - lights out.  I hung the skeleton that we found last year at a garage sale for $2(below) on the front door below my fall wreath.  He has a motion sensor,  talks to you and sticks out his tongue when someone comes to the door.  The kids loved it.  

So now that it is November my thoughts have turned to Christmas.  We are not going to be travelling like we originally planned and will have to decide within a week exactly what we are doing with our flights to Alberta as they must be changed. Our original plans to go to Mexico have been shelved as my Stepdaughter who is living with us now is still in school at that time.  Things are a bit up in the air right now, hopefully to be sorted out soon.  

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!