Feeds:
Posts
Comments

2017: A Look Ahead

I’ve updated my Life List and now that we’ve decided what our trip will be for 2017 (Italia, here we come!), that helped identify which Life List items I’ll be crossing off the list this year – see below:

  • Travel to Italy
  • See the Sistine Chapel (Rome, Italy)
  • See the Colosseum (Rome, Italy)
  • Tour Tuscany (planning on San Gimignano, Siena)
  • Train ride in Europe (we’re planning on taking a train between Rome and Florence)
  • Have gelato in Italy
  • Enjoy pasta and wine in Italy
  • Eat pizza in Naples (planning a day trip from Rome to Pompeii, Naples, Mt Vesuvius)

And the non-travel related items to tackle in 2017 are:

  • Grow a fruit tree
  • Picnic in a vineyard
  • Have a proper English tea
  • Make a craft for every season/holiday for 1 year
  • Cook a whole fish
  • Have a home emergency kit
  • Learn 5 homestead skills (in progress – will continue)
  • Read 30 books
  • Cook 30 new recipes
  • Watch 50 movies

Not too shabby 🙂 I better get moving!

Life List Recap 2016

Another year has come and gone and it’s time to take a look back to see what I was able to accomplish on my Life List.

Below are the Life List Items I crossed off which brought my total to 290 completed of 441 items. The bulk of these got crossed off during our trip to the Maritimes (which was amazing btw):

  • Travel to New Brunswick (I had already been to Nova Scotia and PEI when I was younger so they got crossed off a long time ago)
  • Stay at a Bed and Breakfast (in Cape Breton)
  • Take a road trip (we drove from Nova Scotia, to New Brunswick, to PEI and back to Nova Scotia (Cape Breton loop) in about 12 days.
  • Eat lobster on the east coast (because how can you not??)
  • Go kayaking (see New Brunswick link above)
  • Visit 2 pioneer villages – we went to the Westfield Heritage village this summer so I was able to cross this one off.
  • Make a traditional yule log (it’s in my fridge as we speak!)
  • Continued this: Learn 5 Homestead Skills. Last year I wanted to get back to basics and learn some basic homesteading skills. I did well last year and continued this year mostly focused on expanding the self-sustained food situation:
    • I expended my square foot garden from one 4’ x 4’ box last year to the same 4’ x 4’ box PLUS a 2’ x 8’. I grew tons of cherry tomatoes (6 plants) and the largest basil bushes I’ve ever seen (see pics below). Also grew parsley, onions, lettuce, green beans, swiss chard, green peppers (but it was too hot this summer for much success – only got a couple of peppers). My strawberries fed the critters and we got zero. The marigolds kept the bugs out.
    • I turned the huge bushes of basil (genovese basil and lemon basil) into ten pesto containers for the freezer and we’re still enjoying them even though we’re well into winter.
    • I also decided to grow a cold winter garden and enjoyed more veggies through October and November: radishes, turnips, kale and swiss chard did great. The carrots, beets, spinach and lettuce didn’t take. I may have to start the seeds indoors, or start from seedlings next year. We shall see!

2016-garden-basil

The last fall harvest below before closing the garden until next spring:

2016-garden-fall

It was a great year! I’m looking forward to what’s in store for 2017 (see a future post for those plans). 🙂

With regards to my annual book, movie and cooking challenges, I did pretty good:

  • Watch 50 movies in 2016: I’m currently at 50 as of a couple of hours ago. Done!
  • Read 40 books in 2016: I’m currently reading #23 so better than last year but not quite close enough. I think I need to be more realistic next year. J
  • Cook 40 new recipes in 2015: I’m currently at 26 with a week to go – so it’s unlikely but I did better than last year. Plus, Ina’s new book was released and has inspired me.

That sums up 2016! Not too shabby!

Christmas Ornament 2016

This year’s ornament is a mini lobster trap to commemorate our amazing trip to the Maritimes this past summer.

img_20161128_185200

This is our 8th year doing this tradition and it’s always fun to unwrap all our “tradition” ornaments and giggle or oooh and aaah at the memories they bring back. 🙂

Christmas Ornament 2015

I just realized that I hadn’t posted our traditional Xmas ornament pic from last year! Here it is – we did a lot of hiking last year and when we found this little guy, figured it was fitting. 🙂

hiker-ornament-2015

A couple of months ago, I had submitted our entry for the Christmas Town Lottery and received our date/time for our visit to Christmas Town at the Mountsberg Conservation Area. Every year, Mountsberg puts on a Santa’s Village type Christmas Town with related activities and it’s awesome. And today was the day! Which was perfect since the forecast was calling for snow and there had been some flurries in the past coupe of days in the area.

Chris and I met up with his sister (also my bestie) and her family and we headed to the park. We arrived and checked into the Visitor’s Centre, where they confirmed the names of the kids attending. We still had a little under an hour before our wagon ride to Christmas Town so we explored the play barn, animal farm (in the new barn), a visit with a local owl Octavius and the Elf Academy where the kids (both big and small) enjoyed some fun activities. The owl was a beautiful bird:

img_6346

img_6348

img_6349

When it was time for our wagon ride, our guide Christine gathered the troops from the Elf Academy and led us to the wagon ride where we got to sing Jingle Bells on our way to Santa.

img_6350

Right before our arrival, we passed the “Temporary North Pole”. 🙂

img_6352

In the town were Santa’s Workshop where you could hear the elves working on toys. (When you can’t hear anything it means they’re likely working on stuffed animals :)).

img_6353

The reindeer flight academy…

img_6354

And Parcel Pickup where the elves drop off the toys for the naughty and nice lists.

img_6355

img_6356

img_6357

There were nice touches everywhere to add to the festive ambiance:

img_6358

We were greeted by Mrs. Claus and invited into Santa’s cabin:

img_6359

Our niece and nephew got to tell Santa what they would like for Christmas and received candy canes from Santa and an ornament from Mrs. Claus.

img_6360

We got to sample Mrs. Claus’ cookies and hot chocolate too. The kids got to decorate their cookie. 🙂

img_6361

img_6362

img_6364

We took some pics with the town props too…

img_6367

img_6365

img_6372

Then headed over for a closer look at the Reindeer Flight Academy – which was equipped with flight simulator and all!

img_6368

img_6369

img_6370

img_6371

It was a great day and the occasional flurry just added to the magic of the holidays. 🙂

Well done Mountsberg!!

This morning we headed out to enjoy the fall colours and went for a hike at Rattlesnake Point. The drive there was nice and the trees were yellow, orange and red all along the way. We arrived there at 10am which was a bit later than our usual and were surprised to find a lineup of cars coming out of the park entrance. It only took a few minutes to get in.

We took the Bruce Trail path that runs alongside the yellow park trail (Buffalo Craig Trail) to avoid the crowds. It was really beautiful and it smelled like fall (as my husband romantically calls it, the smell of dead leaves…  Hmph).

It’s my favourite time of the year and love getting out and seeing all the amazing colors.

img_20161023_103500 img_20161023_103221 img_20161023_103705

There are a few steep climbs to have fun with…

img_20161023_103932 img_20161023_103937 img_20161023_104227 img_20161023_104542 img_20161023_104653 img_20161023_105019

Cool bird – think it was a turkey vulture.

img_20161023_105504 img_20161023_105610 img_20161023_105749

Deeper in the park there was still a lot of green but the trail was a soft carpet of fallen leaves.

img_20161023_111230 img_20161023_110811

My fave tree on the trail… 🙂

img_20161023_110755

What a beauty… 🙂

img_20161023_110820