Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Our trip to the Gaspe

I have the best mother in law!  She offered my hubby and I four days of babysitting in which we could take off for quieter locations, just the two of us.  We were so excited but we couldn't figure out where to go with all this new - found free time.  We thought about the Bay of Fundy as well as Cape Breton but when our friends invited us to come stay with them in the Gaspe our minds were made up.  Neither of us had ever traveled in that part of the country and we were pretty pumped to go exploring.

It's a nine hour trip so we decided we'd break it up by spending a night in Miramichi, New Brunswick.  We also stopped in Bouctouche to stretch our legs and have lunch. The day started off rainy but by the time we left the Island the sun was shining and things were warming up.  We stopped to check out the Elizabethan Gardens in Bouctouche which were lovely and we're looking forward to taking the kids there some day.  We enjoyed a picnic lunch as well as a bit of second hand shopping before heading back on the road.

Before getting to Miramichi I happened to open our little tourism guide and noticed an advert for ziplining.  I was stoked!  I would so love to do that and it wasn't that far from where we were staying.  Marko was perhaps not quite as thrilled as I, but being a good sport was up for it anyway.  We dropped our stuff off at our hotel and then quickly made our way to the ziplining area before either of us could chicken out.  It was so much fun!!  Marko conquered his fear of heights and had a great time and would totally do it again as would I!!  We had supper at a local restaurant and then made it just in time for the early showing of Guardians of the Galaxy.  We both really enjoyed the movie.  Such a full day!

Friday was rainy and cool but the weather couldn't dampen my spirits!  We were off again and this time with a fun little twist.  It just so happened that a wonderful friend of mine and her family from Ontario were vacationing in Bathurst, New Brunswick this week.  And we managed to make plans to stop in for a little visit.  I hadn't seen my friend in over 20 years!!!  How crazy is that?!  It was a delight to meet her family and spend time catching up.  The best part was that even though time and distance have kept us a part it was just like old times and picking up where we left off.

After our visit we were on our way again until we reached our destination of New Carlisle, Quebec.  We were staying with our friends, Robbie and Jackie MacGregor.  We arrived just before supper and spent time just chatting and checking out the local area.  We played some Monopoly Deal and chatted away the evening.

In the morning we made a short trek out to Port Daniel.  It was a pretty wet morning which made for some lackluster sightseeing.  We headed back to New Carlisle for lunch and then back out to Bonaventure to check out the local gift shops.  There were some really nice little shops with oodles of crafting materials and one that even had a workshop where you could pick out what you'd like to work on and then make it right there!  I would have loved to have spent an afternoon there making a necklace or painting a mask!  We did a bit more sight seeing before heading in for supper.  After supper we went for a lovely walk down on the boardwalk.  In the evening Jackie and I did some crafting while the fellas shared funny stories.

In the morning we went to church and then it was time to say good-bye to good friends and hit the road once again.  I was driving and was determined to get some more scenic shots and knew that as we made our way back to the New Brunswick border that there were some great opportunities.  I said to Marko, "If we see a scenic look-off sign, we're going! Sound good?!"  Marko was game and just as luck would have it we found one and off we went up the gravel road...The narrow tree lined road got steeper and harder to maneuver  as the ground was soft and the incline was steep.  I could hear the gravel hitting the underside of the car and the tires were spinning like crazy.  This was not good.  I tried a little harder but the smell of burning rubber and the car's inability to go up any further  made my heart jump in my throat and my stomach was not far behind.  The car stopped and now we had no choice but to go back down in reverse.  I thought I would swallow my tongue I was so nervous, but slowly and carefully we made our way back down the road of terror.  We were three quarters of the way down when we finally spotted a good place to get turned around.  I was so very thankful that a rest stop/tourist area was close by so I could get out of the car and we could switch drivers!

Thankfully the rest of the drive back to PEI was not nearly as eventful as that road.  We stopped in Bathurst and a couple of other little towns before arriving home after nine o'clock at night.  I loved our trip and can't wait to take the whole family up to the Gaspe!

 Our first stop in Bouctouche, the path to the Elizabethan Gardens.

 A lovely spot indeed.
 Time for a selfie!
 Marko all set for zipling!  So proud of him and such fun way to spend an adventurous afternoon.

 And there he goes.

 Our hotel room in Mirimachi.  It was quaint and comfortable. 

 Our view on a rainy morning.

 So great to get together with this fine gal and her family!

 Totally have to get together with them again!

 Gotta have the map and the GPS.  The GPS is great and all but I don't always entirely trust it.



 Our brief stop in Port Daniel.

 Sean loves TinTin so we had to take a picture of this fire hydrant!


 Just loved this mural.



 Pretty cool mini replica of a German U boat.  The story goes that during the second world war there was a U boat in the Bay of Chaleur and a soldier came ashore and was easily spotted and turned into a double agent.

 Scenic vistas.


Sunday, August 03, 2014

So Slack...So Sorry!!

I can't believe it's been well over a month since I last wrote a blogpost!!    The warm weather finally found the Island and we have done our best to make the most of it! We've been barbequing, strawberry picking, picnicking, enjoying company, going to the beach, going to parades and going to Vacation Bible School.

This weekend was the Sunday School picnic at Emmanuel Bible Camp.  Saturday was a beautiful sunny day and the kids had a grand time playing games and going down the waterslide!  It wasn't long before Marko was going down the slide as well.  My friend Laura dared me to go down too and I said I would if she would! What a hoot! In the midst of all this fun we also had the opportunity to be a part of our friend Lorna's baptism.  The camp is right at the edge of  Whitlocks Pond and an ideal place for a baptism. So exciting to hear her story and share in this special occasion.  And before heading home we went for a quick refreshing dip in the pool.

This evening I took Sean, Emma-Lyn and Nate to the beach while daddy stayed home with Levi.  The beach was beginning to clear out--which is my favourite time to hit the beach.  The kids had a grand time mucking about in the sand and splashing in the waves while I sat peacefully on the beach blanket and snapped pictures.  Sean brought his kite and had a wonderful time letting it play in the breeze
 Coming to get me!

 Splashing!
 I think the water might have been a tad cold.

 The kite flyer.


 Emma-Lyn trying out the kite.

 Mr. Sandy Twinkle Toes.


 Such a wonderful end to a wonderful weekend.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Flying By the Seat of Our Pants

You just never know what a day will bring and that was certainly how things played out today.  An hour and half before the boat left for NS we decided we'd make the trip to my folks place.  We had been debating all week about going, the weather being our largest obstacle.  My mom had bought some new fishing gear and was excited to have the kids come over and go fishing in the pond.  We were all hoping for a sunny and warm day but neither Saturday or Sunday seemed to be able to promise us such fair weather.  We could either go with some rain or even more rain with the possibility of a thunderstorm thrown in for good measure.  We decided to chance it, going with the just rain forecast and hope for the best.  I'd say we were victorious in our excursion and the weather even cooperated.

It was a mostly overcast day with a drizzle of rain here and there and even the sun made a few brief, yet welcome appearances.  We arrived just before lunch and enjoyed some good conversation while munching on yummy homemade lilac jelly on crackers.  After lunch we headed down to the pond for some serious fishing.  The kids were pumped and hopeful.  Auntie Karina showed off her fishing prowess by snagging the first fish.  Sean was having a hard time and debated about just giving up but, he mustered up his determination, baited his hook and tossed in his line and within minutes the lad had caught his first fish--all by himself and he was THRILLED!!  He hooted and hollered!  Grampa Hope was completely surprised--so much so that he lost his footing and toppled over the park bench and sent the container of worms flying.  It was a scene worthy of America's Funniest Videos.  Sean excitedly whooped it up while Grampa attempted to regain his balance and right the overturned bench.  I managed to catch the next fish and then it was Emma-Lyn's turn which was followed quickly by the fantastic fishing duo of daddy and Nate.  It was such a grand time and so glad that we just went for it.

And would you believe that this was the trip when I forgot to bring my camera?! Ugh!  Thankfully Auntie Karina has a lovely camera and let me snap a few shots.

 I love forget-me-nots.

 This little guy just loves chatting with his Grampa.

 This is one VERY PROUD fisheman!

 Emma-Lyn and her catch.

Daddy and Nate with their catch.

Monday, June 09, 2014

How Wary Are You?

Recently I was approached through an email to write a blog post about the importance of online safety and privacy concerns.  I have to say it struck me a wee bit odd as this email was from someone I had never met and from a company I'd never heard of.  I don't know about you, but I am quite wary of requests made through the internet.  I was asked as a blogger to write a post of the three top things that I would not share on the internet.  And while I thought that this was a noble cause I did have a few nagging questions before I jumped on board.  First off, how do I know if this guy/company is legit?   And why in the world would any company pick my blog to spread the word?  My blog audience (as lovely as you all are) is small and I didn't see it as being the best bang for the company's buck.

I was intrigued and began my research by Googling the correspondent's name, which happened to be Sam, and the company.  The company is called SingleHop.  You can check them out here.  I poked around and read or at least attempted to read a few over-my-head articles about cloud computing and IT infrastructure.  I also looked up Sam's profile and it would appear that he is very capable in his field of IT infrasturcture engineering.  I replied to Sam's email and asked why he thought my blog should be considered for this project seeing as the audience is so small.  In my mind it made more sense to approach some higher traffic blogs to get the message out.  Sam assured me that "although it's a smaller amount of exposure, I'm sure that your 40 or so readers are very dedicated, whereas a blog with a large number of readers may not be as closely followed by each of those people."

Good enough, and while I think this project was supposed to be completed by the end of May I still would like to share my top three things that I would never post on the internet.

1.  My address.  While you may know what town I live in, I don't intend to share my civic address.  Divulging this kind of information, especially on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter could leave my open to identity theft as well as personal danger of possible burglary.

2.  My telephone number.  By sharing my phone number I would be inadvertently giving up my address as well.  By using a reverse lookup service people would be privy to my address.

3.  Any financial information. And by this I don't mean I'm opposed to online banking, what I am driving at is the sharing of financial issues on social media.  Facebook and Twitter and sites of that ilk are just open opportunities for your information to get into the wrong hands.

Just a few things to remember when navigating the internet.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Summer is Coming

 I just know that summer is coming and that some day, hopefully soon, the weather will reflect that fact!  The trees are just beginning to blossom and it's nearly June!  I can't believe just how cold this spring has been.  I want to get outside and go for bike rides and work in my garden and put together our fire pit and actually enjoy a good bonfire or two!

This week is our last "official" week of homeschool.  Although there will be some subjects that we will be doing through the summer there will be fewer work sheets and much more hands-on learning.  Our science text is full of experiments so the kids are thrilled to keep that going as well as doing read alouds and enjoying more tea time and poety days.  We may have to take some time to work on new hobbies like knitting and felting.  I am only an amateur knitter myself but I can at least get the kiddos started and we enjoyed an afternoon of both finger knitting as well as learning to knit a dishcloth with knitting needles.  The kiddos learned to do felting at the local library and they're hooked.  They enjoy taking out their materials and getting creative.  We also recently purchased a trampoline and kids just love bouncing away on that thing!  They certainly will not want for things to do.

This month we made our first trek of the season to the mainland to visit my folks.  It was a wonderful visit.  The kids love going over and enjoy romping about the woods and down by the pond.  This visit was extra special as they got the chance to go fishing in the pond.  Unfortunately they were unable to catch any, although Sean did hook one but it got away.  Auntie Karina was able to catch two fish before we decided it was time to head in to the house and warm up.


 

 Learning to felt
 Someone fell asleep mid chew

 Loving the trampoline

 Digging for worms at Gramma and Grampa's

 Auntie Karina the expert fisherman

Grampa with Nate, who is hugging his container full of worms.  He was mighty proud of his worms.


Trying out our homemade fishing pole

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Burger Love

I am not one to order a burger off a restaurant menu but during the month of April many Island restaurants participate in a delightful event named "Burger Love."  It's a wonderful way to support farmers as well as get out with friends and enjoy life.  Each restaurant comes up with its own unique burger and names it and for the month of April folks come in and try out the burgers and then rate them online. A winner will be declared and will keep their winning burger on the regular menu.  Often many restaurants, whether they win or lose, will keep their burger on the menu.  This year I managed to try out nine different burgers. I'd have to say that my favourite was Mavor's M-2, in second place would be Papa Joe's El Toro and third place would go to Cedar's Gibran's Kiss.

To give you an idea of what constitutes a unique burger, here is what Mavor's burger included: a 6oz Island Beef Patty, Jalapeno Red Onion Relish, Maple Peppered Bacon, Spinach, and Cows Applewood Smoked Cheddar Cheese Sauce on a Grilled and Buttered Brioche Bun topped with Homemade Worcestershire Potato Chips.

Doesn't that sound delish?!  There were more wild and wacky offerings as well, one burger had eggs and waffles in it and another had sponge cake, deep fried vanilla ice cream and maple bacon on it!  Something for everyone!
This was our first burger sampling called The Round About Roadie.  It was quite tasty.


But enough about burgers and how I've consumed more than enough to do me for the year, let alone the month!

Levi is a growing little lad and is cutting his first teeth, the two bottom teeth have popped through with some discomfort.  Thankfully it didn't disrupt his sleep patterns too much.  He is such a happy and content little guy and just loves his older siblings and they love him to bits too.  They all enjoy holding him and making him smile.

As the weather has slowly begun to warm up the kids have enjoyed playing in the backyard and making nature discoveries.  They love finding worms.  Emma-Lyn informed me that she has a pet worm and named him Giant.  Giant does not like to play on the swings.  Also she tells me that worms do not enjoy racing in the mornings, they are much more evening runners if they even feel like racing at all!!   And today we enjoyed watching a Yellow Bellied Sap Sucker tap away on a Pine tree. I ran in the house and grabbed my bird books and brought them out to share with the children.  One book informed us that "these birds feed largely on sap and is said to sometimes indulge to the extent of becoming quite groggy."  So, is that like being sap drunk?  Who knew?!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

What a Weekend!

It was fun, it was full and it was fast!  It feels like my folks just got here for Easter and they're already home again safe and sound.  We had a wonderful time with them while they were here.  The kids were super excited and couldn't wait to see Gramma, Grampa, Auntie Karina and especially Trooper.

They arrived Friday afternoon and since we were tied up with our church's Easter Conference, they headed over to Red's,a local restaurant for supper.  We were supposed to call them when we were done but decided to pop over to the restaurant instead.  I couldn't have planned the scene better, all three of them were completely engrossed with what was going on on the giant flat screen TV on the wall, and failed to notice my entrance. The opportunity was just too good to pass up. With a goofy smile, I stealthily tiptoed over to their table. Forgetting that I was in a public place, I reached out and tickled my parents while exclaiming, "Boogedy, boogedy, boogedy!" My mother screamed, my father and sister jumped and I laughed heartily.  Then I noticed the other restaurant patrons and apologized, sensing that the essence of my prank may have been lost on them.

After they had finished their meal they joined us back at our place and we celebrated Christmas and Emma-Lyn's birthday.  My folks were supposed to come over at Christmastime but we were all in the middle of snowmageddon at that time.  The kids loved having second Christmas and were thrilled with the new construction set they received.  It's like giant Tinker Toys and we made a tent that the kids immediately filled with their stuffies. And I must admit I was the biggest kid in there working away with the toys. I think I may have to get my own set. 

On Saturday morning we took Trooper for a walk, talked a lot and celebrated Easter with lots of chocolate! Gramma Hope brought over a turkey and some fixings and we got the veggies on and enjoyed a scrumptious dinner. Grammie Peric and Auntie Linda also joined us for dinner which was lovely.  There is nothing so nice as having your extended family in your home for a meal.  I remember many such occasions in my childhood home and they have made a lasting impression and I'm grateful to share those same kind of precious moments with my own children.

On Sunday morning we all made our way to church and enjoyed a morning of fellowship and worship.  It was a wonderful way to wrap up an incredible weekend.  I am so thankful for my family who would make the long trek around to visit for the weekend and for warm spring days that make such visits possible. Most importantly I am thankful for my Saviour who knows that though I am a bruised reed, He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench. Isaiah 42:3


 Mr. Jolly Jumper himself!

 Gramma and little Levi.

 Giant Tinker Toy fun!

Build it to the ceiling!
 Mr. Smiley Pants
 Levi: "Seriously mom, please put the camera down and help Gramma figure out how to put my sleeper on me!  She's trying to put my leg through an arm hole!"

 Nate super excited to have Easter dinner.



This afternoon we took the opportunity to stop in at MacPhee's Orchard and check out their maple syrup operation.  What a heavenly aroma greeted us upon entering the sugar shack  And yes, we took some maple syrup home with us!