A whole lot of playing “catch up”

After two weeks of living in our new house, Jordan was sent away on an exercise in the U.S. until the first week of March and I was left on my own. I don’t know anybody here, which made it kind of lonely. I ended up going back to Kingston for four days, staying at my mom’s house and visiting my family and old co-workers. I was really missing my nephew Ashe, so it was great to get to spend so much time with him. He’s such a happy child!


Playing iPhone games with my buddy!

Playing iPhone games with my buddy!


I’ve noticed that it seems to snow every day here, even if it only lasts a few minutes. The snow is also heavier and sticks to the ground much longer than I’ve seen in Kingston. I hate shoveling. Now that it’s April, the snow is finally melting.

When my darling husband returned, he used up the rest of his leave and ended up with the majority of March off work. We spent a weekend in Kingston staying with friends and I got to visit with Ashe again (in the above photo). Little monkey was 20 months old in that picture, and as of yesterday he’s now 21 months. He’ll be two this July, which is insane!


Ashe @ 20 months old

Ashe @ 20 months old


My mom came up for the second last weekend of March. We painted the master bedroom:


Before

Before

After

After


I am SO excited about moving our furniture into that room. I’ve always wanted a purple room and Jordan said he didn’t care what colour our bedroom was. 🙂 While my mom was here we did lots of cooking and baking. She showed me how to make mushroom risotto. OMG, delicious! I am not a fan of rice, and her risotto was like eating dessert. We also used my Kitchen Aid mixer for the first time (she wants to buy one) and made caramel sticky rolls from scratch and applesauce muffins.

We also spent Easter weekend in Ottawa at his sister and brother-in-law’s. Our niece, Zoë, is just over a year old now. She’s still shy and takes awhile to warm up to us. She’s pretty cute. We didn’t do anything fancy, just hung around the house or went shopping, and had Easter breakfast at their church on Sunday morning, which I think we did last year as well. On the drive home, we detoured through Fort-Coulonge because Jordan wanted to see the red covered bridge:


Standing with the covered bridge in Fort-Coulonge, Quebec.

Standing with the covered bridge in Fort-Coulonge, Quebec.

Snapshot while driving through the covered bridge (iPhone).

Snapshot while driving through the covered bridge (iPhone).


Received a chocolate package from the Attewell’s in Germany:


Chocolate stash from Germany (iPhone).

Chocolate stash from Germany (iPhone).


I’ve begun learning how to use my Canon 60D camera on Manual mode. With the help of this book:


Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson

Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson


It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I’m now taking the time to teach myself. Doesn’t seem as difficult as I expected, but I’ve still got lots to learn. My camera came with a Canon 18-200mm IS lens and I have been saving up to purchase the Sigma 17-70mm OS lens. One more week and I should be able to buy it. I’m really excited! Not only for a new lens, but for Walt Disney World!

That’s right, we are going to the World where dreams do come true! We are booked into POP Century, a value resort, for 8 nights/9 days in October. We are planning to drive and will also spend a night and full day in Washington, D.C. I’m a little obsessed with Disney World right now. I’ve done so much research and planning already. I even have an itinerary done up in Excel. Okay, I’m crazy. But anyway, I’m going to master Manual mode on my camera and take amazing photos on our vacation, I just know it! 😉

Germany – Part III

***Continued from previous post.

{November 9 – 12:00 pm – Berlin}
On the ICE direct train to Nuremberg. (Cost: €194) The trains are so expensive! It should take about five hours to reach our destination. This morning we were up at 8:30 am (why, on our last day in Berlin, were we able to get up?!) to start packing our things. By 10:30 am we had checked out and walked down to catch the M5 tram to the stop just after Alexanderplatz. Hopped on the S-bahn to Berlin Hauptbahnhof. Bought our tickets for the 11:52 am train to Nuremberg (Nürnberg). Grabbed some sandwiches to bring with us for lunch (discount with Welcome Cards).

{November 9 – 7:15 pm – Nuremberg}
Here we are in Nuremberg! The streets are cobbled and the architecture is beautiful. At the Nuremberg Hauptbahnhof, we waited in line at the DB kiosk so that we could ask directions to our hotel, the Sorat Agneshof, and purchased bus tickets. Before leaving the station we found a grocery store and bought a few snacks. We absolutely love these refrigerated Kinder snacks:


Kinder treats (iPhone)

From the train station we hopped onto a local U-bahn train. After going a couple stops, we realized that we were heading in the wrong direction! I find the underground railway so confusing to use. We quickly got off and went to the other side of the platform and caught the proper train to Rathenauplatz. Then we transferred to bus #36 and got off at the Rathaus stop. From there we proceeded to get lost in the dark! We didn’t have a map with us and kind of wandered around, going up and down the cobbled, hilly streets dragging our suitcases until we ended up sitting on a bench in what turned out to be Albrecht Dürer Square. I stayed put, munching on a chocolate pastry and guarding our suitcases, while Jordan went in search of our hotel. Less than 10 minutes later he reappeared and told me that we had walked by the street earlier. Figures! Checked into our hotel. The room is small but it was cheap so no complaints! There is a bed, a television, and a good-sized bathroom, which is all we need.


Jordan & I heading to Nuremberg

{November 9 – 10:20 pm – Nuremberg}
After checking into our room on the second floor, we freshened up and went in search of dinner. The gentleman at reception gave us a few restaurant suggestions. More wandering around in the dark took us back to the square and past the castle, until finally we ended up at “Albrecht-Dürer-Stube”. This restaurant is just around the corner from the hotel and came highly recommended. Everyone sits around communal tables and the atmosphere is very warm and friendly. I ordered the pork shoulder with dumpling and red cabbage, while Jordan had the venison stew. (Cost: €25) We are getting low on cash, better find an ATM soon.


Room (Sorat Agneshof) Bathroom (Sorat Agneshof) Pork shoulder with dumpling and red cabbage

{November 10 – 6:25 pm – Nuremberg}
After being out all day (what else is new?!), we are having dinner at “Karl’s Brückla”, a restaurant we found randomly.

This morning we ate breakfast at the hotel to save ourselves some time. (Cost: €14) We got a map from reception and pinpointed where the nearest Deutsche Bank ATM is. Walked over to the Hauptmarkt (main square) and found the tourist info kiosk. Purchased a special group day pass for €8 which we will more than make up for just by taking the bus to and from the Documentation Centre. Looked around the square for a little while; all sorts of tables were set up with fresh produce, cheeses, lebkuchen, etc.


Agnes Sorathof Nuremberg Hauptmarkt Nuremberg

Walked to the Deutsche Bank and withdrew €250. And then returned to the Hauptmarkt to catch bus #36 to the Doku-Zentrum stop. Our plan for the day is to spend some time at the Documentation Centre & Former Nazi Party Rally Grounds. Admission with audioguide to the Documentation Centre is €10 per person. We spent over an hour in there, touring through the exhibits. Although it was very interesting, we got so hot and bored with listening to the audioguide that we ended up hurrying through the last few sections. Most of the information we had already read about in other museums. At the end of the tour we stepped outside to view the inside of the Congress Hall. We handed in the audioguides then went outside for some fresh, but chilly, air and ended up walking around the Congress Hall to take some pictures. Jordan really wanted to see Zeppelin Field so we asked directions inside the Centre, then set out walking again in the drizzle. It is about a 10 minute walk from the Centre. I’m glad we went because it was neat to see. The steps are crumbling and it’s “climb at your own risk” and the immense field is now a stadium.


Strange sculpture On the bus Documentation Centre Congress Hall View of Congress Hall across the water Pausing in the rain for a photo

Caught bus #36 back to the Hauptmarkt. Looked around at a few shops. I bought a keychain for Lori. Walked around for what felt like eternity before finding a place to eat dinner. I ordered the pork cutlets stuffed with ham and cheese (also came with salad and fries) and a delicious hot chocolate; Jordan ordered pork topped with a fried egg (with potato wedges, salad, and 2 beers). (Cost: €27) I couldn’t finish my amazing meal because the cutlets were huge!


Press this button for Breakfast

{November 10 – 10:30 pm – Nuremberg}
After that filling meal we hopped on the U-bahn at Lorenzkirche and journeyed to the train station. Purchased our expensive tickets for tomorrow’s ride to Geilenkirchen. (Cost: €230) Also got a couple snacks then returned to the hotel for the night. Too bad we couldn’t stay here longer because we didn’t get to see very much!


Zeppelin Field Hitler's platform Pork cutlets stuffed with ham and cheese Amazing hot chocolate from "Karl's Bruekla" Warming my hands

{November 11 – 1:25 pm – Somewhere between Wurzberg and Frankfurt}
On the noon ICE train to Frankfurt. Once there we change to another ICE heading to Aachen. From Aachen we will end up in Geilenkirchen where Tammy & Tyler will pick us up. We ate breakfast at the hotel again, then took the bus and U-bahn to get to Nuremberg Hauptbahnhof. We should be in Geilenkirchen by 5:00 pm.

{November 11 – 3:00 pm – Montabaur}
We barely made our connection in Frankfurt. Once we boarded and found our seats there was announcement stating that the train would be delayed 6 minutes. I hope that doesn’t mess up our connection in Aachen. Ate our chocolate cookies for snack.

{November 11 – 6:00 pm – Tüddern}
Made our train in Aachen. Tammy & Tyler were waiting for us in Geilenkirchen, with their dog Doug. Now we are just settling in.

{November 12 – 6:45 pm – Tüddern}
Yesterday we had veggies & dip, various cheeses, herbed crackers, and sliced sausages for a snack at Tammy & Tyler’s home. Later, Tammy made chicken kebabs, rice, and white asparagus for dinner. We sat around eating and watching “Top Gear” on Netflix for the rest of the night.


Trier, Germany

Funky statue (Trier) Porta Nigra Trier's Church of Our Lady

Thermal bath ruins

Today we drove for 2 hours to Trier and walked around the town centre. We bought “cone fries” (aka fries in a cone of paper that we fell in love with in Austria two years ago) and “pizza in a pocket”. Bought a couple postcards to add to my collection. Took some photos of the Church of Our Lady, Porta Nigra (near the tourist information building), and the thermal bath ruins. Beautiful day to be out! I should note that I finally had to pay for use of a toilet today. When you gotta pee, you gotta pee!

{November 13 – 2:40 pm – Tüddern}
Tammy had to work today so Tyler, Jordan, and I drove out to Aachen. We wandered around the area near the cathedral. There are tons of bakeries selling printen (Aachen’s version of lebkuchen). I bought a bag of miniature printen pieces covered in chocolate. The christmas displays in the bakeries are beautiful to look at. Jordan bought a cherry danish for a snack. We found a Starbucks and I had to go in to try the lebkuchen latte; it tastes like a light gingerbread with a lot of cinnamon. Jordan ordered a caramel macchiato and we enjoyed our beverages sitting on a bench by the cathedral.


Enjoying a danish in Aachen Aachener printen Aachen Cathedral

Our main reason for coming to Aachen was to visit the Lindt chocolate factory. Jordan asked for directions in the Starbucks and the girl gave him a free map with the route drawn on. We walked over to the factory, when we probably should have drove. Luckily it wasn’t raining and we all seemed to have plenty of energy thanks to our coffees. When we got near the factory we noticed a huge sign saying “Lindt Chocolate Factory” but neither of us noticed the huge arrow pointing to the left. Instead we kept walking straight and ended up having to walk around the entire perimeter of the factory to find the entrance. Oops! No photos allowed inside the factory and it’s cash or debit only. I went a little crazy seeing all the beautiful chocolate for sale but knowing we could only pay cash, I tried to limit myself. I ended up spending €34 on chocolate! It could have been worse….


Drinking a lebkuchen latte Jordan's caramel macchiato Lindt chocolate factory

Posing in Aachen

We got back to the truck by 1:30 pm just as our parking was about to expire. On the way back to Tüddern we stopped at a gas station in The Netherlands and bought some sparkling Lipton iced tea! Reunited at last with my favourite iced tea. And then the realization kicks in: Oh no, tomorrow we leave!


Sparkling iced tea (iPhone)

{November 14 – 5:30 pm – In the Air}
We’ve been in the air since 2:00 pm. Time to play catch-up.

Didn’t do much yesterday after returning from Aachen. Watched the boys play Forza Horizons on Tyler’s XBox 360. Once Tammy came home from work she heated up some cheesy tortellini for dinner. And of course we snacked on more bread, crackers, and cheese. We talked the boys into turning off their game and instead watched more “Top Gear” episodes that cracked us up. By 10:30 pm we had our things packed and were in bed. I can’t believe how much cramming I had to do to get all that chocolate to fit in my suitcase.


Leaving Germany Plane food A fighter jet outside my window

Tyler came home from work early and drove us to the Köln-Bonn Flughafen. Took about 1.5 hours. He dropped us off at Crew Gate Alpha. After getting the attention of some military personnel on the other side of a glass door, we were let inside and passed through security quickly. We waited outside for what seemed like ages before a bus showed up to bring us to the plane. Sat on the bus with four other people, also for ages, before being allowed to board the plane.

***End of journal.


Welcome home!

The food served on these military flights is so much better than other flights I’ve been on. Each time the stewardess came by, she would give me cookies! The flight home was fine. Jordan and I sat at the front for the first leg of the journey, which gave us lots of leg room. Once we entered Canadian airspace, two fighter jets came up along side the plane and welcomed the soldiers returning from Afghanistan. That was pretty cool!

My chocolate stash and souvenirs:


Kinder and Milka Lindt chocolate bags Yummy Lindt treats

More Lindt chocolate bars

Postcards Magnets

Two birthdays in July

I turned the big 30 this month. A little scary to think about, but I’m going to just let it slide on by. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of this birthday so I asked Jordan to take me to Marble Slab for an ice cream treat rather than doing anything fancy. A waffle bowl filled with a scoop of birthday cake, chai, and double dark chocolate ice cream, with pecans mixed in:


Enjoying some ice cream


We celebrated another birthday this month. My nephew, Ashe, turned 1 year old on July 6th! We had a barbecue down at the cottage and some of my sister’s friends came to help celebrate this amazing milestone.


Ashe @ 1 year old

My sister and her son

Playing with his hockey stick

Let’s eat cake!


Back in May, my friend Nancy got married during the long weekend. My sister, Ashe, Jordan, and I drove up to attend the ceremony and reception. We stayed overnight in a hotel and then spent the holiday Monday doing some more visiting. Breakfast at Cora’s near the hotel, then a few hours at the Vaughn Mills mall so Keesje could visit with Shelley, and then finally a quick visit with our sister Crystal and her boyfriend Lukas in their new apartment. I realized I never wrote a post about that fun weekend so here are a few photos:


Keesje & Ashe after the ceremony

A quiet moment

Hanging around outside


Until next time!

Set fire to the rain *

The weather is terrible today. It’s finally feeling like winter, though. We have had very mild weather through December and the first week of January (with some snow and rain) but today it’s been freezing rain! I had a half inch thickness of ice to scrape off my car’s windows at 6 am. When I finished work at 11:30 am, I had to scrape another layer off. Stopped at Loblaws on the way home for hair conditioner and ended up buying some chocolate and caramel sauces to use with my Tassimo coffees. I attempted to make a caramel macchiato and it turned out great!


Caramel macchiato (Tassimo)


If you want to make one, it’s very easy! First squeeze a layer of caramel on the bottom of the mug. Then use a latte milk T-disc, followed by an espresso T-disc. (I added a little bit of sugar because I find the espresso very strong.) Then added more caramel on top. Voila! Enjoy your yummy drink!

On Tuesday I had a doctor’s appointment and then some blood work. Afterward I drove over to Kendra’s and chatted with her for awhile. Baby Hannah slept most of the time, though. She’s getting big; hard to believe she’s two months old already. And then made my way over to Stacey’s and snuggled her baby Hannah the whole time.


Hannah Marie @ 4 weeks old


I spent most of Wednesday cooking and preparing for that night’s dinner. I had my dad, Keesje & Luc, and Ashe over. There was a lot of food and most of it was eaten. In the slow cooker, I made a pork tenderloin stew with lots of veggies and garlic. And for sides, I made cold pasta salad and cheesy scalloped potatoes with carrots (cayenne pepper gives that dish a nice kick).


Ashe @ 6 months old

Playing with his toy

Sweet boy


Those last three photos of my nephew were taken with my Canon 60D. I am in love with my new camera! 🙂

Time to play catch-up!

Where did December go? I am a terrible blogger. I feel like time is going by way too fast and that I never have time to write anything down. Maybe that should be my New Year’s resolution? Except that I never make New Year’s resolutions, so why should I start now? Let’s play catch-up.

This Christmas both Jordan and I were sick. He came down with the flu on Christmas Eve, so I went over to my mom’s on my own. My aunt and two cousins came over; Keesje, Luc, and Ashe were there; my brother Mark came from Kitchener-Waterloo area; and Crystal was home from Thunder Bay, with Lukas. A nice little gathering for celebrating the holidays. I left a little early due to headache. Christmas morning I woke up at 5 am with an upset stomach, and twenty minutes later the nasty flu started! I haven’t been that sick in ages and I never want to be again! It was horrible! I missed my nephew’s first Christmas and missed a turkey dinner that I know was delicious. And I missed my Boxing Day shift which would have brought in a lot of money. But by December 27th I was perfectly fine and hubby and I went over to Keesje’s to give Ashe his gifts. I also tested out my brand-new Canon 60D on that cute little guy!


Ashe @ 5.5 months old

Happy Christmas smiles!


Stacey from work had her baby girl, Hannah, on December 12th, which happened to be her due date. I’ve been to see her a couple times but I feel like I’m always at work or my shifts just don’t align with a good time to visit. We had to cancel on each other twice last week due to various things. Baby Hannah Marie is now 3 weeks old and I definitely need to make more of an effort to get over for a visit. I need more photos of the cuteness!

New Year’s weekend Jordan and I spent in Ottawa at his sister’s and brother-in-law’s house. Serena is due the first week of March and I’m getting pretty excited! They came back from spending Christmas in New Brunswick with garbage bags full of baby clothes and items; it was so much fun to go through them. They’re fairly certain they are having a girl; let’s hope that’s true because there was an awful lot of pink girly outfits in the bags.

Other friends of ours also had their baby girl, Sofia Elizabeth. She was born on December 27th. After returning from Ottawa, we went over to Ryan and Stacey’s and met 5-day-old Sofia. She’s a quiet little thing with chubby cheeks – so cute!

And I believe everything is now up-to-date!