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Posts Tagged ‘bucket list’

I’d had this on my Life List for a while now and after a false start last year we finally managed to go this afternoon for an early Valentine’s Day outing. It was worth the wait. 🙂

king-edward

We arrived at the Omni King Edward hotel – took the train to downtown Toronto and walked a few blocks up to the hotel in the snow. We were greeted, shown to the coat check (complimentary), waited just a few minutes for the setup/room to be ready and were seated at a lovely table.

We were offered menus and tea boxes to sniff the various teas available. I selected the Rouge Provence (rooibos) and Chris took the Taj Spiced Chai Tea. We were each brought an amuse bouche – a yummy mushroom tartlet with tarragon creme fraiche, quickly followed by our respective teapots. Both the tartlet and the tea were delicious.

We each chose the Winter Tea which included sandwiches, scones and pastries. The sandwiches were brought first and everything was fresh and tasty:

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We each had our own plate with 5 finger sandwiches:

  • Peppered Beef with Watercress and Horseradish Cream
  • Free Range Egg Salad with Fresh Lemon and Dill
  • Smoked Salmon & Mango with Pickled Vegetables
  • Toasted Sesame & Wasabi Mayonnaise Chickpea Hummus with Lightly Curried Carrot, Raisins & Almonds
  • Chicken Waldorf with Crisp Apple & Celery

Delicious.

Next came the scones and pastries. It looked so good – I forgot to take a pic before we ate the scones! The scones came on the bottom plate (we each had 2 kinds):

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  • Currant & Cinnamon Scone
  • Classic Cream Scone
  • Served with Devonshire Cream, House Made Ontario Strawberry Jam and Apple Brandy Butter

Again, everything was fresh and tasted amazing. But there was more!

The pastries were next:

  • Blood Orange Posset with Cranberry Oat Biscotti
  • Chocolate Mint Macaron
  • Vanilla Bean & Berry Cream Tartlet
  • Layered Chocolate Chestnut Slice

It was just the right amount of food and each item was carefully prepared. Our server was polite and friendly and we were well taken care of throughout. It was a beautiful room and a very relaxed atmosphere.

It was a very enjoyable experience, one we would do again.

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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!

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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!

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Life List Update

Following our recent trip to the Maritimes, I was able to cross off a few life list items:

  • Travel to New Brunswick (I had already been to Nova Scotia and PEI when I was younger)
  • Stay at a Bed and Breakfast
  • Take a road trip
  • Eat lobster on the east coast
  • Go kayaking

Not too shabby for 12 days!

 

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It’s that time of year again – already! I’ve reviewed my Life List, removed some things I’m no longer interested in pursuing, added in some new items and put some thought into what I hope to cross off the list next year.

Removed:

  • Learn to juggle: It just ain’t happening.
  • Make falafel
  • Make a souffle
  • Own a telescope: This was more for my husband than for me. So – he can start his own list. 🙂
  • Learn to whistle: Again, not happening.
  • Try eyebrow waxing

Added:

  • Make a candle
  • See the Redwoods
  • Visit Lake Louise in Alberta
  • Visit Le Scandinave Spa
  • Cook a whole fish
  • Make a traditional yule log
  • Own a green vehicle
  • Visit Diagon Alley at Universal in Florida
  • Make a craft for every season/holiday for 1 year

And here’s the list of things I hope to tackle in 2016:

  • Make fresh pasta
  • Cook a whole fish
  • Visit Lake Louise, AB
  • Visit Le Scandinave spa
  • Visit the Maritimes
  • Get a facial
  • Participate in the Great Escape
  • Have a proper English tea
  • Go kayaking
  • Continue this: Have a home emergency kit
  • Continue this: Learn 5 homestead skills (including canning/preserving, making cheese, make jam/jelly)
  • Exercise at least 2 times a week for a year
  • Books: Read 30 books (lowered it from 40 to 30)
  • Movies: Watch 50 movies
  • Cooking: Cook 40 new recipes

I’m excited just thinking about it. 🙂

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I can’t believe a whole year has passed already! I enjoy taking the time at the end of the year to look back and see how many Life List items I managed to complete and which resolutions I was able to stick with.

Below are the Life Items I crossed off which brought my total to 289 completed of 436 items:

  • Participate in the “23 and Me” DNA initiative – we received our results early in the year and loved reading our reports – very cool and highly recommended!
  • Arm-knit an infinity scarf. I began by watching the YouTube video that everyone was talking about and made myself a scarf, after several false starts. I then ended up making 6 more for Christmas presents. 🙂
  • Cook rabbit
  • Roast a goose – It’s in my fridge as I type this – I’ll be making it for Christmas dinner this year.
  • Started this: Learn 5 Homestead Skills. This year I wanted to get back to basics and learn some basic homesteading skills. These were the skills I had aimed for this year:
    • My first ever square foot garden: I had previously been strictly a container-gardener but made the leap to the earth and it turned out great! I successfully grew a TON of veggies and can’t wait to expand next spring. Last year’s crops included cherry tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, green peppers, jalapeno peppers, beets, green beans, onions, basil and spinach. Delicious!
    • Learn to preserve / freeze / pickle / can:  I didn’t end up canning or preserving unfortunately. But – I made refrigerator pickles with the jalapeno peppers that were quite yummy. I also froze several ready-to-cook meals – which is great for busy families, but it turns out, I prefer taking the time to cook things fresh the day of. I actually look forward to that part and am lucky enough to have the time to do so.
    • Learn to make soap: Well, I bought a soap making kit at Michael’s and that turned out pretty well. I put it together, it was called soap, so I’m counting it. 🙂
    • Make bread: This was a fabulous discovery for me. I’ve made several loaves now and see this as being a staple in our kitchen for years to come. Healthy, simple, wholesome goodness. Best bread ever.
    • I also had “make jams and jellies” on the list but never got around to doing it. There’s always next year!
  • Make a homemade beauty product – see point 3 above which sorta counts. Plus, I made a “gardener’s scrub” with sugar that I can’t wait to use next spring. I also gave some as a gift for Christmas. 🙂 Can’t wait to experiment with different scents.
  • Have my dream backyard. The deck was finally completed in the spring. We enjoyed it all summer and it was awesome. We spent countless hours out there, enjoying the sun, the bbq (made my first pulled pork with the smoker – woohoo!), the firepit. Enjoyed it just us, with the cat, with friends and family. Amazing.
  • Go snowshoeing: We booked the “Snowshoe through the vineyards” for a special Valentine’s Day outing and lunch at Thirty Bench. It may have been the coldest and snowiest day of February but we had a great time and fell in love with snowshoeing.
  • Travel to Alberta: This was a work trip to Calgary but I’m still counting it. 🙂
  • Visit all parks in the Halton Conservation Area (Crawford Lake, Mountsberg, Hilton Falls, Rattlesnake Point, Mount Nemo, Kelso). This is where we go hiking for the most part. Love the parks during the different seasons but especially in the fall.

Not too bad all in all. This was the first year in a really long time that we didn’t travel anywhere; that was due to us wanting to pay off the deck as quickly as possible. We already have plans for next year which will cross off a few more items in 2016.

With regards to my book, movie and cooking yearly challenges, I did great on one but terrible at the other 2:

  • Watch 50 movies in 2015: I’m currently at 64 with a week to go. Done!
  • Read 40 books in 2015: Sadly, I only managed to read 17. This is primarily due to my new job that I started last January which is a work from home role. That eliminated my daily train commute (where I did most of my reading).
  • Cook 40 new recipes in 2015: Only 12. My creative efforts were channeled into other areas this year, which is OK. I’ll be more realistic with next  year’s goal. 🙂

Now – how did I do on the resolutions I set out for myself? Pretty good:

  • Eat Real Food / Eat Local and/or organic: We’re really doing great with this. After watching a couple of food documentaries (Food Inc. and Fed Up) and reading some books on the topic (The Omnivore’s Dilemma), and getting really pissed off about the state of the food industry in North America,  this wasn’t difficult at all. We rarely eat anything processed and bypass the middle aisles of the supermarket all the time. Less meat (even had a couple of vegetarian weeks recently), actual food, buying local, buying organic, buying from local farms. Easy peasy.
  • Only eat out (or order in ) twice a month max. This has been working well too. It got more difficult when we had company or there were birthdays or whatnot but for the most part, we tried to stick to this.
  • Increase fitness level: I failed miserably on this front. Although hiking is great, I only do this on the weekend. I need to find something else that I enjoy doing to keep fit in the week and during the cold months.
  • Complete a 10km walk/hike: We did two this year. One was at Hilton Falls for a 12.5km hike. The other was the return hike between Rattlesnake Point and Crawford Lake – about 16km. Nice!

Well, that sums up the past year. Now I get to plan for next year. Fun times!!

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While I was at Michael’s, I picked up some soap-making gear and gave that a whirl. I’ve been increasingly interested in making our own products since everything on the market has a billion chemicals that just can’t be good for us, or the environment… I had a mold for 4 soaps and used a butter tart tray (washed and dried) to make 3 more. It was the melt and pour variety and I added a few drops of a citrus-y scent. I decided to leave them white and wrapped them in plastic wrap after they set. Chris and I used some of the remaining soap mix in the glass measuring cup to wash our hands and it was super soft, didn’t leave any residue and smelled really nice – we’ll see how the bars fare. Another easy peasy project to cross off my Life List. 🙂

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