Posts Tagged ‘Life List’

Well. At this time of year, I start reflecting on the past year and everything I accomplished and think about what I want to do in the next year. Obviously, things have shifted a bit in 2020 due to the pandemic and will likely continue into 2021. With that said, it’s safe to assume we won’t be traveling much at least for another year, so my focus will remain on things closer to home, including gardening, houseplants and foodie things. πŸ™‚

Here’s the list of things I want to tackle next year:

  • Make butter
  • Make cheese
  • Make candied orange peel
  • Make orange slice ornaments
  • Make vegetable broth from veggie scraps
  • Make ketchup
  • Make mustard
  • Make bbq sauce
  • Have enough food stored for a month
  • Make tsoureki (Greek bread)
  • Make galaktobouriko (Greek custard phyllo dessert)
  • Learn to water bath can
  • Learn to crochet / make something
  • Make a macramΓ© plant holder
  • Make all-purpose cleaner
  • Use more beeswax food wraps / reduce use of plastic wrap
  • Collect rain water for houseplants / garden
  • Grow flowers from seed

I’ll also be keeping my usual “annual” goals:

  • Watch 50 movies
  • Cook 30 new recipes
  • Read 10 books

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Many of my life list plans went out the window this year for obvious reasons and I had several things related to travel (which got cancelled). That said, I was able to focus on home-life skills and activities and can honestly say that although we missed traveling, I had a very fulfilling and rewarding year! Current count is 331 items done of 471. πŸ™‚

These are the things I had identified as items to tackle this year that I was able to do:

  • Learn to crochet (I’m just starting this one so won’t cross it off until I actually make something)
  • Make yogurt
  • Make homemade pita bread

I put in some extra effort into planning the garden and continued my food preservation skills:

  • Make freezer jam (strawberry, peach, plum)
  • Make and freeze apple and caramelized onion chutney
  • Make and freeze caramelized onions
  • Make pickles (refrigerator and freezer): dill, bread and butter
  • Make dilly green beans
  • Grow and dry herbs for tea (chamomile, lemon balm, mint, sage)
  • Grow and dry herbs for cooking: basil
  • Make and freeze pesto
  • Make and freeze salsa
  • Freeze produce from the garden: Bok choy, green beans, green onions, cabbage, chard

I added some food-related things as well:

  • Make vanilla extract
  • Make French bread
  • Make mayonnaise
  • Grow microgreens

I made some household changes in order to make the move towards less single-use items, using less energy, fewer chemicals and doing some emergency preparedness stuff:

  • Make homemade dishwasher detergent
  • Make homemade laundry detergent
  • Use vinegar instead of fabric softener
  • Dry clothes on a drying rack / reduce the use of the dryer by 50%
  • Switch to rags/cloths instead of paper towels
  • Switch to cloth napkins instead of paper
  • No longer use straws
  • Start an extended pantry:
    • Buy rack/shelves
    • Buy a standalone freezer
    • Gradually start buying extra items (usually when on sale)

And for my usual annual counts, I completed:

  • Watch 50 movies: This was the year of Netflix. I watched everything. Blew this goal out of the water. 89 items on the list including movies, TV seasons, series, you name it.
  • Cook 30 new recipes: Success – I cooked 31 and have a few more recipes planned this week. I’m sure there were more that I forgot to note down.
  • Read 10 books: Success – I read 13 books this year.

Those who know me know that my interest in gardening and houseplants has been growing (no pun intended) and my houseplant collection has grown to 52 (and counting). I’m learning lots of skills related to taking care of plants, propagating, etc. They bring me joy. πŸ™‚

Coming up next: What’s the plan for 2021?

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I love this time of year. I get to think ahead and plan what I’ll be tackling from my Life List in the coming year. Similar to years past, we already know where we’ll be traveling, so those will get crossed off in 2020. I want to cross off a few others as well; some of which I’ve been carrying forward for a couple of years so it’s time to get them done. πŸ™‚

  • Travel to England
  • Travel to Scotland
  • Ride on the Tube in London
  • Visit Buckingham Palace in London
  • Visit the Tower of London
  • Tour a castle in Europe
  • Ride the Jacobite Train in Scotland
  • Visit Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Visit the Highlands, Scotland
  • Take a picture with a guard in London
  • See Big Ben
  • Have bangers and mash in England
  • Visit the Harry Potter Studio Tour in England
  • Learn to crochet
  • Knit a shawl
  • Attend a paint & wine class
  • Make yogurt
  • Make cheese
  • Make homemade pita bread

I’ll also be keeping my usual “annual” goals:

  • Watch 50 movies
  • Cook 30 new recipes
  • Read 10 books

I’m still figuring out what to add in terms of houseplants and other gardening things and will do so eventually. πŸ™‚ Looking forward to 2020!

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Wow – 2019 went by in a flash! This year-end is even more meaningful because it’s also the end of a decade! 2020 seemed so far away when we were kids…and now it’s here. πŸ™‚

This year I was able to cross off several Life List items, quite a few related to travel (as usual):

  • Make fresh pasta
  • Stay in a cabin in the woods
  • Visit Banff, Alberta
  • Visit Jasper, Alberta
  • See Lake Louise in Alberta
  • Drive the Icefields Parkway, Alberta
  • Hike in the Rockies
  • Hike to one of the teahouses in the Rockies
  • Propagate a plant cutting successfully

I continued my food preservation skills and was able to complete the following:

  • Make freezer jam (cherry, strawberry, apricot)
  • Make and freeze cherry pie filling
  • Make and freeze apple and caramelized onion chutney
  • Make pickles (refrigerator and freezer): dill, sweet, bread and butter
  • Make dilly green beans
  • Grow and dry herbs for tea (chamomile, lemon balm and mint) – I made three different blends this year (just mint, mint + lemon balm, and mint + lemon balm + chamomile)
  • Grow and dry herbs for cooking: parsley, chives, oregano
  • Make blueberry compote
  • Make and freeze pesto
  • Make and freeze salsa
  • Make and freeze tomato sauce

I also learned a lot in terms of gardening, yardwork and plant-related skills which I’m pretty proud of!

  • Grow lavender and harvest / make lavender sachets
  • Learn how to edge a flower bed
  • Propagate a plant via cuttings in water and in soil
  • Make bamboo teepee trellises
  • Overseed a lawn
  • Learn how and when to properly prune various shrubs and plants
  • Plant containers (fall)
  • Dig up / move plants properly
  • Collect seeds for planting next year (rudbeckia)
  • Plant bulbs
  • Grow/maintain houseplants (I currently have 30 with a growing wish list)

And of my usual annual counts, I completed 1 of 3 – I was close on the other 2 as well so will likely maintain the same targets for 2020.

  • Watch 50 movies: I’m currently at 43 and we’re going to watch the new Star Wars this afternoon. I don’t think I’ll make it to 50 though. πŸ™‚
  • Cook 30 new recipes: I cooked 25. Not bad – almost made it!
  • Read 10 books: Success – I recently started book #11 a couple of days ago.

Those who know me know that my interest in gardening and houseplants increased tremendously this year so I’ll likely be adding more life list items related to those activities. Stay tuned!

Coming up next: What’s the plan for 2020?

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I was able to cross off a few more items off of my life list on our recent trip. πŸ™‚

  • Stay in a cabin in the woods
  • Visit Banff, Alberta
  • Visit Jasper, Alberta
  • See Lake Louise in Alberta
  • Drive the Icefields Parkway, Alberta
  • Hike to one of the teahouses in the Rockies

That brings the total to 326 completed of 470.


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We left Jasper in the morning and drove down the Icefields Parkway (only stopping at the Columbia Icefield to use the washroom) and arrived at Sunshine Village just outside of Banff. They had just opened for the summer the day before which is why we didn’t visit here when we were in the area earlier in the week. It’s a ski resort in the winter and a hiking area in the summer.

We took the gondola up the first part to Sunshine Village. Gondolas make me nervous and Chris thought it was hilarious. Not funny. πŸ™‚ When I saw the chairlift to get up the next part and saw that we had the option to hike up, we decided to hike. It was very scenic but uphill all the way so a bit strenuous.

We got a kick out of walking from Alberta to BC on the trail up there. πŸ™‚ It was pretty cold – near the freezing mark but so beautiful!


We ended up taking the chairlift down since we wanted to get down as quickly as possible LOL It was actually less scary than the gondola! The gondola ride was about 8 minutes so we took the time to eat a snack. A couple more minutes were added since it stopped for a bit (don’t look down, don’t look down) but things started moving again and we got down safely. πŸ™‚

We headed over to Canmore for lunch and mini beers at the Grizzly Paw Brewing Company. We ordered lunch with the mini beer seasonal sampler and enjoyed the lemon shandy so much that we bought some more from the retail store before heading to the Calgary airport to return the car and check into our hotel for our last night out west. πŸ™‚

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It rained all day today so we didn’t venture out very far. We headed over to drive by Lake Edith and Lake Annette just outside of Jasper townsite and was glad we did – we saw more elk! πŸ™‚ We also drove by the Jasper Park Lodge to check it out.


We ended up doing some souvenir shopping in Jasper, strolled around town, picked up some more sticky cinnamon buns at the bakery and took it easy today.

Shortest blog post ever. πŸ™‚

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We headed out to Maligne Canyon to beat the rain which was supposed to start mid-morning. We arrived at 7:30am, 2nd car in the parking lot.

Our plan was to hike to bridges 1 through 4, then drive to bridges 5 and 6 on the way back. We saw bridge 2, 3 and 4, then visited the first bridge last (which has the best views in my opinion and glad we saved it for last). It was really cool to see how the water eroded the rock/mountain to create the canyon.


On the way to the canyon we saw a couple of deer on the side of the road, just prancing along. πŸ™‚


On the road between the Canyon and Medecine Lake, we saw another black bear ambling along, cool as can be while a caravan of cars stopped on the opposite side of the road watching him go.


We stopped at the Medecine Lake lookout to read the history of the lake and got a surprise visit. Luckily Chris saw it and we got back in our car before he got close.

This is the lookout. Over the corner of the top right of the last sign, you can see what surprised us:


Zoomed in, he’s hidden by the tree in the centre of this pic:


He had the same stunned reaction upon seeing us as we did seeing him!


Onward! Our next stop was at Maligne Lake. The rain hadn’t started yet but it was overcast. We walked around the lakeshore, up to the chalet and took a short trail that led to the trailhead but after seeing all the bears, and having no bear spray, we decided not to risk it. Instead, we visited the waffle hut for a cappuccino and the best waffle I’ve ever had! It had cinnamon, whipped cream and blueberry compote. Delicious. On our way back to the car, we noticed that the tour buses had arrived and it started to rain.


We drove back to Jasper, skipped bridges 5 and 6 for the Canyon, stopped at the Bear Paw’s bakery for goodies then back to our cottage to relax and take a nap while it rained. It cleared up at dinner time so we took a stroll around the property to admire the lake, then hopped in the car and drove further down the road to Pyramid Lake and Pyramid Island which is reached by a footbridge. It’s a 20 minute walk around the island. They have a little wedding area if anyone wanted to book the island for an event – thought that was cute.


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We left our cozy cabin in Lake Louise and headed north up the Icefields Parkway towards our next base – Jasper. We stopped at several places along the way; what could be done in 2-3 hours takes much longer just because of all the amazing sights you can stop at and explore.

Bow Lake – Quick stop off the parkway


Peyto Lake and Bow Summit – short 10-15 minute walk to the main viewing platform from the parking lot but if you walk up the trail there’s an amazing vantage point that provides spectacular views of the valley and lake below. We were alone up there! and yes, the lake really is that color. Beautiful.


Mistaya Canyon – short 10-15 minute trek downhill to a small canyon. The trek back up was a bit tiring but well worth it.


N. Saskatchewan River at Howse Pass – picnic area off the parkway and one of the best surprises on the drive up. There are signs explaining how the pass and river were traveled back in the day and it’s a really beautiful view.Β  We stopped here for lunch and found a picnic table overlooking the river below.


Columbia Icefield / Athabasca Glacier – some might call this the main event along the parkway. It has all the bells and whistles including a restaurant, cafe, outdoor terrace, huge washrooms, a ticket booth for all kinds of tours, you name it. It also has an amazing view of the glacier and surrounding mountains. We grabbed a coffee and sat outside enjoying the view. If you zoom in and look at the bottom of the “toe” of the glacier, those little specks are people. This thing is big, folks.


Sunwapta Falls – short stop off the parkway to see the waterfalls


Quick pics of the nice view from the road – everywhere you look, it’s gorgeous.


The N. Saskatchewan River – quick stop off the parkway


Athabasca Falls – Lots to see here and lots of little areas to explore.


We saw our first black bear on the side of the road coming into Jasper and I was really excited. We stayed in the car but took some pics (I have a good zoom on my camera – we did NOT get that close):


We arrived in Jasper at around 3:30pm and did our groceries before heading to our cottage for the rest of our stay, at Patricia Lake Bungalows. I can’t believe I didn’t take any pics!Β  It was super cute, had everything we needed and was about a 5-6 minute drive from Jasper townsite along a winding road where we saw some elk on our first drive in.




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Another early start today – we headed over to Yoho National Park and our first stop was at the Natural Bridge. What a pretty place! After so many years of the water of the Kicking Horse River eroding the rock, it formed a bridge. Gorgeous in the morning sun.


Our next stop was Emerald Lake – got there at 7:30am and only a few folks were in the lot. We were alone on the trail for the most part but started seeing others about midway through. Serenity personified. We started the Emerald Lake loop (trail around the lake) on the left/north side which is paved, then halfway through it becomes a dirt trail (slightly muddy when we went). The different types of flowers were really interesting and we got to see lots of birds.

We stopped at the cafe on the lake for a snack and coffee after the trail. There’s a lodge as well where you can stay. Amazingly quiet and peaceful.


Next we stopped at a couple of viewpoints to see the spiral tunnels (tunnels carved into the mountain for trains to pass through) and the spot where the Kicking Horse and Yoho Rivers converge. Impressive!

Our next stop was at Takakkaw Falls. The road to get there is very twisty with a fairly tight section but we managed it fine. The views were incredible. You can get very close to the falls, enough to feel the mist/spray. πŸ™‚ It’s a short walk from the parking lot and the views to and from the falls are very nice as well.


We returned to Lake Louise for lunch and ate at the old converted Train Station for bison burgers. The food was good and the ambiance of sitting in a train station turned restaurant was really cool. We even got to see a couple of freight trains pass by on the still-functional tracks outside!

Back to the cabin for a g;lass of wine and a nap, then off to dinner at the Juniper Bistro in Banff. It was sensational – we both had the wild boar loin with buttered fingerling potatoes with bourbon apple sauce, lemon and thyme charred broccolini, a BC Merlot and the black forest mousse cake with torched marshmallow, praline and berries for dessert. The whole meal was delicious and the view was fantastic. Highly recommended for a special dinner out.

Juniper bistro

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