Friday, November 28, 2008

First snowfall!

It started snowing during the night and snowed all day long. The kids at school were so very excited to play outside during recess and lunch. They made snowmen, snow angels, and forts that required guarding. Their imaginations ran amok and it was hard to herd them back inside when the bell rang.Later on, the fog moved in up on our hill. Walking outside, I could feel the fog. It was thick, it had substance. I had a hard time seeing further than 5 m ahead. It was very ethereal and dreamlike. Then, as soon as I drove down the hill, it suddenly disappeared, and the late afternoon was clear and still. The snow had stopped and it took awhile to feel that it was normal to see clearly. I went into Starbucks, had an eggnog latte, and listened to Christmas music. It was very cozy and made me feel like Christmas shopping. The atmosphere was totally right.

Happy Christmas shopping everyone!


Friday, October 10, 2008

Fall comes to town

Nader and I had an adventure last weekend. We went out to Sorrento and Salmon Arm to explore and enjoy a fantastic fall day.
It was just a great drive through the country on back roads. We found some older buildings built in the early 20th century. We found some brand new expensive homes as well.
It was just great to spend the day together and explore a little of the area near Kamloops.
We found a neat farm market in Salmon Arm where they even had a bunch of goats, sheep, llamas, miniature horses, chickens, ducks, geese, pheasants, pigs, peacocks, roosters and cows! And they had about a thousand pumpkins, but the batteries on the camera died before I could take a picture.

Hope you are having some wonder-fall adventures too!

Love Nicole

I laughed until I cried

Donkey has a ride!

You may not find this amusing, but honestly, I just kept thinking the donkey is saying, "Oh shit!"

Monday, September 8, 2008

Okanagan Road Trip

A chilly grey morning turned into showers and later, into a full-blown sunny crisp fall afternoon.First stop: Honey! (Planet Bee in Vernon). We learned about bees and tasted a variety of honeys made from different blossoms. We bought a couple local varieties.The next stop was Gatzke's Farm Market, about half way between Vernon and Kelowna. We bought some delicious plums, apples and baked goods for lunch. I also indulged in a latte and we ate outside under an umbrella. In fact, it was right behind us in the picture above.We walked around their orchards a little bit and admired the luscious peaches and prune plums just waiting to be picked. I also loved the sunflowers planted along side the road, adding their cheery faces to a cloudy mid-day stop.We also stopped at two vineyards where we had a tour and wine-tasting. To me, the idea of a vineyard and grapes is so romantic. I'm not sure what it is exactly, but even just thinking about it makes me feel nostalgic.
Both vineyards, The Arrowleaf and Gray Monk, were situated with a fantastic view of Okanagan Lake. Seeing the vines in row after row, with grapes ripening, waiting to be picked in a few weeks, was magical.We also went to a goat cheese farm, way out in the country. It was a fantastic drive: the sun was shining, the air was crisp, the smell of fall coming in the windows of the car, and even a few changing leaves made me feel alive! On the drive back home there was a beautiful sunset to end my idea of a perfect day. Too bad I was driving and couldn't take a picture to share with you!

Wishing you many happy autumn days!

Nicole xoxo

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Flowers Galore!

Here are some of the fabulous flowers I photographed at the Blodel Conservatory and at Burnaby Mountain Rose Garden. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
Have a fantastic day. Love you all.
Nicole xoxoxo

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Guest Bedroom

I spent almost two hours putting that bed had more pieces than I thought it would. I also had a few panicked moments when I thought that the pieces didn't go together. IKEA is a long way away when something is going wrong. At least I figured it out and it stands with two people on it. Ha! I'm so excited that its ready now and Nader's parents have a nice place to sleep when they are here. After they leave, anyone else is welcome to try it out as well. Its really comfortable!

Missing you all,


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Bowling Friday

Nader and I decided that we needed to go bowling on Friday night. The lanes were quite empty, although the weather was pretty good, so its not too surprising. We had a deal that whoever lost would be recorded saying, "I'm a Bowling Loser."
After the first game, I was sure it would be me. I think I only got two pins in about 5 frames. The rest of the balls were wonderfully guttered. Although, both our scores were really terrible the first round.
I think that it had something to do with only 5 pins instead of 10 pins. We haven't played 5 pins together before. Apparently, Kamloops doesn't have 10 pin bowling alleys.
The second game I took the lead and managed to maintain it for the whole game. (Still not great scores though). We had only bought two games, so we needed to buy another to find out who would be the bowling loser.
As it turns out, I got two strikes and a spare in the third game!! Nader managed to make a spare as well. So....I am NOT the Bowling Loser, that esteemed title goes to my spouse.

I think that next time we go bowling on a Friday night we should also wear white to glow in the dark. That would make the pictures really cool!!

Lots of love, Nicole

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Various Ramblings

Nader and I spent time with friends we invited over for dinner on Sunday. He made his famous Macarona Bechamel and I made salad and dessert. It was an evening full of interesting conversation, much of it about church and church history. I think we need to have people over for dinner more often.
I spent the weekend working on restoring a dresser that I got for $25 at Value Village. I sanded and filled a few holes, painted and put on new knobs. Don't you think it look great now? I ended up spending more money than I anticipated on the project, but I can paint other things the same colour now if I want to! Plus it looks way cooler than a brand new dresser.
We also went down to Riverside Park one evening to listen to live music there. It was a bit of a stormy evening (ie. thunder and lightening), but we enjoyed the fresh air and the atmosphere. In Kamloops there is live music every single night all summer long for free! Its so cool. We also went for a drive down a road we've never been on. As it turned out, we ended up at the dump and drove past the (smelly) mill. We saw a large buck eating grass (I think he had about 3 points on each antler). I hope that we see cool wildlife when Nader's parents are here.

I've started my job hunt now, so my 'free' time is more limited. I need to make sure I have something to record about what I did each day. So, I better get going on that. I have an info session at the work search center this afternoon. I hope it helps me out.

Keep fit and have fun!

Love, Nicole

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Busy Week

I was helping out at Vacation Bible School this week at our church. I did the powerpoint for singing and created slideshows of the kids each day. It was a lot of fun and the kids loved it too! God is with us! (Can you see it?)
Lots of yummy snacks all week long! The leaders got home made cinnamon buns with cream cheese icing today....mmmm.
We had great weather all week, except for Thursday - there was a thunderstorm and pouring rain! Plus it was really cold for July - about 15 degrees.
In my spare time I am working on fixing up a dresser I bought at Value Village for $25. I got it for the spare room for our guests! It will be a wonderful colour called "Coriander Seed." I'm still looking for nice knobs to put on it. I am so excited to see the end results!

Have a great weekend!

Love Nicole

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Rhubarb Delight

Another great rhubarb recipe. It was like rhubarb cheesecake without a crust. I bet it would taste even better if it were on a shortbread crust. I liked eating it just from a bowl.

3 cups fresh rhubarb, cut up
1/2 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp flour

Mix together. Put in a deep dish pie plate or an 8x8 inch pyrex dish and bake at 400F for 15 minutes.

8 oz (250 g) cream cheese (I used light and it turned out fine)
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs

Mix cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Beat until smooth. Pour over hot rhubarb and bake for 30 minutes at 350F.

1 cup sour cream (again I used low-fat)
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Mix together. Pour evenly over hot pie. Chill and serve with whipped cream and sliced strawberries.I hope you enjoy eating this as much as I did. Nader liked it too! Its all gone after 2 days. Happy eating.

Love Nicole

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Okanagan Lake

We were invited out to the lake with our friends, Jeremy and Lillie. Jeremy's family has a cabin on Okanagan Lake near Vernon that is fabulous. We spent a day and a half there doing pretty much nothing....There was reading, eating and playing dominoes. The guys did a little work to fix up some rotten boards on the deck, and Jeremy's mom painted.
We did swim as well, after getting good and hot! It was 34 degrees in the shade and much hotter in the sun. The water was surprisingly warm for the time of year. I didn't even get goosebumps and Nader didn't complain of being cold.
We had a great fire when it got dark and roasted marshmallows and made banana boats (split your banana with the skin on and stuff it with chocolate, then wrap in foil and place in the coals until hot). Oh man, that was good! I've never heard of doing that before, but it will definitely be done again.
After finishing up at the lake, we went and had a BBQ with some more friends back in Kamloops. Getting out of the car was a huge shock - it was roasting hot. I think I broke out into an instant sweat! Kamloops broke the record for heat from 1987 - it was 39 degrees officially. (I think it was hotter....) Let's just say that I am so thankful for A/C!!

Happy Canada Day!

Love Nicole

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Rhubarb Bread

I had a great idea from Dana to put on my recipes that I have been here is the first one! Rhubarb is the quintessential early summer fruit and many people just don't know what to do with all of it. Unfortunately I don't have a rhubarb plant and had to buy my own, but it is just delicious. I made this recipe which makes 2 loaves and gave one away to our church staff. They gave me rave reviews...

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk/sour milk
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 tsp orange zest
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups chopped rhubarb (more if you like!)
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Combine brown sugar, buttermilk, oil, egg and orange zest in a large bowl. Mix well. Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add to sugar mixture, mixing until smooth. Fold in rhubarb and pecans. Spread batter into two 9"x5" loaf pans that have been greased, dividing evenly. If desired, mix 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, 1 Tbsp softened butter and 2 tsp orange zest until blended and sprinkle on top. (I found it to be too sweet, so next time I will either half that, or omit it). Bake at 350 F for 55 to 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes in the pan and then remove it to a wire rack to cool completely.

I hope you enjoy making and eating this! Bon appetite!


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Fantastic Weekend

A great weekend full of sun (and some cloud), new friends and good times. Saturday was such a gorgeous day that we decided we needed to do something different than usual. We had been invited to go camping with some people from church for the whole weekend, but we had some other things to do. After we finished our other things, we drove out to Adams Lake where they were camping to spend the day with them. Adams Lake is past Chase, but before Sorrento , a little more north. Its just over an hour's drive from our place. Well, it was cloudy and chilly when we got there and poor Nader forgot to bring a jacket or warm clothing. At least I brought a heavy Mexico blanket and he stay sort of warm with that. We basically spent the afternoon around a campfire chatting with new people and getting to know some friends better. It warmed up and the sun even came out too. We drove back home around 7 since Nader was so cold by then.On Sunday after church we went to Jeremy and Lillie's place for lunch. They are one of the couples in our home group that we are part of. Lillie made a fabulous fish curry....mmmm....even thinking about it makes my mouth water. We had really good conversation about food and different cultures and traveling. Then we had ice cream with home made chocolate sauce and peanuts and almonds on top and we ate it outside...oh what a glorious day!
They invited us to go fishing with them down near Kamloops Lake, so Jeremy showed Nader how to find worms. Nader didn't want to touch any of them, he just held the container! We drove just outside of Kamloops and hiked down to the opening of a creek onto the lake. Jeremy and Lillie had been telling us of the rattlesnakes that they saw last time they came down, so we all were a bit jumpy.
The location of the fishing trip was a beautiful spot, but there were lots of mosquitoes and we all got bitten before we put on our repellent. Apparently the water level had fallen about 18 inches in a week, so the fishing wasn't as good. Nader did catch a trout, medium size, but it got off the hook before he pulled it out of the water. I also caught a small trout, and again, it got away! Lillie and Jeremy had no luck, but they caught 12 last week (catch and release), so that's ok.
We did, however, come across a couple rattlesnakes....One was just in the bushes behind where we were fishing, so we were nervous and kept our eye on him. He did end up coming right up to where we were and Jeremy took a video of him. He seemed curious about us. Anyways, he was headed to the water and we were in his way, so he went around. When we followed him, we found another one curled up under some exposed roots. Jeremy was sitting too close when we noticed him. Neither of them were rattling though. As for other wildlife, we saw a beaver, who apparently has a house nearby, a bald eagle and its (big) baby, an osprey, and other birds. I think Nader enjoyed being around Jeremy who is very knowledgeable about wildlife and outdoor activities. We were exhausted when we got back home, since it was also a hot day.
Last night after eating Fatteh (sooooo good, remind me to make it for you sometime), Nader and I decided to go for a walk at Kenna Cartwright park. We can see the hill/mountain from our balcony and it has lots of nice trails. It is cooler in the evening, so nicer to walk then.We walked down the Red Fox trail, a bit wary of rattlesnakes (I keep writing snack...), but enjoying the cool evening. There were lots of pretty little flowers along the way.I got bit by a giant mosquito and killed it on my arm. That was a lot of blood! We continued on the Doc Findlay Loop and went back up the hill. It was a good walk and I felt great when we came back home. It was exactly what I needed!

Last night I also put up pictures on the walls (finally!) and it is feeling so much more like a home in here. I've been kind of lazy to do the finishing touches around here and still have about 10 boxes or so to put away. I'm getting there, slowly but surely. I am feeling more and more at home here in Kamloops. And I signed up at church to help out with VBS in July, so that should be interesting and fun.

Have a wonderful day! Love and hugs, Nicole.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Sewing again

I have begun sewing another quilt! I am so excited about this. I have been putting it off a little because my sewing area is not organized, and I wanted to have it in order before starting a project. However, I went to the quilt store to find some inspiration and found some beautiful fabrics that are just perfect for a quilt for our friend's new baby, Elaine!
The colours of the fabrics are just fantastic. They are called Sherbet. Yummy. I also had the perfect pattern already from making a baby quilt for Matthew with sock monkeys. It is so easy and the blocks just come together quickly. I already made 16 blocks in one evening.
A good thing about our new place is that I don't have room for the ironing board where I sew, so I have to get up and go to the other room to press the seams. It is good to not just sit in one place, but to get up and stretch in between seams. However, there are a lot of seams and it was getting a little frustrating to get up every time. We'll see how long this lasts.

I have also been preparing stuff for the Hillside women's retreat this coming weekend. I am really excited to be going and seeing what God will do!

Love, Nicole