Winter and Yay! It’s Almost Time!

So far this year our Winter has been reasonably good.  January, which is normally our coldest month, was considerably nicer than usual.  A few cold nights but nothing to complain about.  Of course, having our first trip of 2017 booked certainly makes everything more bearable!

In 2017 my husband and I will be celebrating 25 years married.  That being the case, we decided that our upcoming trip to Akumal will be the kick off of our celebrations and we are going to spoil ourselves a little bit more than usual.  This should be excellent!

The resort we are going to has a web cam nearby.  We have watched it everyday since our first trip to Akumal almost 10 years ago.  So excited to finally be staying on that beach!  This is the web cam link –  Akumal Web Cam

Now that February is here it is time to get things in gear.  Last week was pretty much a  write-off with a blizzard Monday and then another snow storm three days later.

Hopefully that will be the worst of our winter over with.

‘Cause flipflops in the snow is not near as nice as flipflops in the sand!

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I did manage to get my suitcases out for our upcoming trip.  Well, sort of.

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I also made a spontaneous decision to chop off a lot of hair before venturing to the sunny south.

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Today I finally manged to get something, other than cats, in the suitcase!  And now I can’t wait for departure day!

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2017 has also seen us spend lots of time with friends eating and drinking!  I have been experimenting with wine, which has been loads of fun. Too much at times, if that is possible.  Made a few different whites, loved the Riesling.  Now looking for a red, struggling to find one I really enjoy enough to have 30 bottles of.

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I have a friend who does custom blasting, etching etc and he made me the best wine glass ever!   Blasting Impressions

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Made some beer too, a pale ale.  It is getting better as it ages.  I think I would like to try a Mexican cerveza next time.

I have also been experimenting with new recipes for beef stew, donair’s, sloppy joe’s and pulled beef.

We are very lucky to have a very talented chef at our local Sobeys.  She makes great food and gives you the recipe to try at home.

The donair recipe is in a previous blog entry and the stew was a concoction of my own using the Clubhouse stew seasoning for flavour.

Hope you are having a wonderful start to 2017!

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December

Here we are approaching the end of another year and honestly 2016 has been pretty darn good!

Our Winter was well, Winter. We live Nova Scotia so not much you can do about that except head south, which we did in March.  Punta Cana gave us that boost we needed to make it to Spring!

Spring was beautiful.  Our Summer was amazing and we were fortunate enough to go on lots of road trips.  The Canadian dollar was horrible so the road trips were all relatively close to home but fun nonetheless.

Fall is always the prettiest time of year here.  The trees put on a colour show like no other!

We also saw the arrival of our third grand-baby in the fall.  Elliot Micah joined us in early November.

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Mahailia, Malachi and Elliot will keep their parents hoping!

As the end of the year got a little closer I decided to extend my Christmas vacation and take a few extra days at the start.  Good thing, the weather has been miserable!

Between the snow and the cold you just want to run away!  Really run!  -30 here the other day.

We got our tree all ready for Santa.

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And while everyone else worried about the cats knocking the tree down I caught Maxi doing this!

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December 12 was our 24th wedding anniversary.  Hubby’s work is way too busy this time of the year to celebrate so we will celebrate when we arrive in Akumal in March.  He did warm me up with some beautiful flowers though!

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While I have been home I have been experimenting with my slow cooker.  Son and hubby are quite pleased with that.  Let me say I am normally not much of a cook, but I do like to play around with recipes when I have time. Did a beef stew that turned out amazing!  I am lucky, my son works in the meat department at Sobeys so he made sure I bought the best stew meat I could. I also did homemade baked beans with cracked pepper bacon (son had me buy this, I wouldn’t even have thought of it).  Last with the slow cooker was a pot roast, again picked out by the son (he knows his stuff I have to say).  So tender!  We ended the week with a goulash, which also turned out good.  They like when I am home all day :)!

I joined a Facebook group for the resort we are going to in March, Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort.  With all this nasty weather the pictures people are posting have been my escape!  This just looks so amazing and I can’t wait to get there!  It also has inspired me to get back on track with my fitness goals.  I quit smoking a year and a half ago and that has led to a few (ok, a lot) of unwanted pounds.  I decided to tackle one demon at a time though, so I knew it would happen.  I think the smoking one is conquered, now time to get back to my old self and beach ready!

These are some pictures taken at Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort by Jerry and Lois Radlinsky last week (shared with permission).

March can’t come soon enough!  I can’t wait to sit on my balcony with a coffee watching the sun come up over the bay in the morning.  Warms me up just thinking about it!

In the meantime we just have to put up with this I guess.

I hope everyone has a very a happy holiday season and wonderful New Year!

From my home to yours Merry Christmas!

Whatever holiday, occasion or event you may celebrate at this time of year, we wish you the best!

 

 

 

 

 

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2017 Winter Vacation

I live in Nova Scotia, which – for those of you who don’t know – is in Canada.  Nova Scotia is a beautiful province.   Doesn’t matter where you go, there is something special to see.

We are fortunate in that we really do get to experience all four seasons.

Our Spring is full of new life waking from a winters sleep.

Our Summer is full of beautiful weather days and just the right temperature nights.  As Nova Scotianers we take advantage of our summers as much as possible!

Our Fall (Autumn) is stunningly beautiful.  No matter where you go this province is full of colour.

And then there is Winter.  Yeah we get Winter, we really get Winter.

That is my son in that picture, he stands 5ft10in.

As a child, Winter was great.  As an adult, it sucks.  So every year once the temperature starts to dip we get the urge to start searching for a southern destination to escape to.  One week away from the reality of a Nova Scotia Winter.

After being away from Mexico for our last two vacations, we knew we were going back this year.  When we start searching we normally just look for where the best deals are, but this year was different.  We love the Riviera Maya area.  We really miss it when we don’t go.  It has everything we are looking for right now and the people are just amazing.  This year there was no question really, so while we browsed a few other destinations and briefly considered Costa Rica, we knew where we wanted to be.

On every trip we have taken to the area we have always made a point to get a taxi to Akumal Beach.  It is a spot we fell in love with on our very first trip.

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We have always wanted to stay on that beach so hubby could just get up every morning and snorkel to his hearts content while I soaked up the rays.  It is also walking distance to town and there are a few local spots where you grab a beer or a bite.

Problem was that staying on this beach has always been pricey.  Not that it wasn’t worth it but it just never fit our budget.  We were content with cabbing it to visit, up to now.

This year when I started seriously searching (after my agent had me on to a few really nice looking newer places opening up in the RM area) I stumbled across a deal via Air Canada on the Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort, perfect for our dates and with excellent flights.  To say I was ecstatic is an understatement.  We have always wanted to stay here.  They did major renovations a few years ago and we have been watching since then.  It sells so fast that if you don’t buy the deal you want when you see it, you won’t get it.  So year after year we missed out.

Not this year!

As soon as I saw it, I got in touch with our agent and we got it done!  24 hours later that date was sold out.  Within a week anything around that date was sold out.

So happy it finally came together for us.  Might just be that this was our time to visit this amazing spot.  Maybe it wasn’t meant to be until now!

Waiting for a last minute deal when it comes to all inclusives can sometimes work out, but in our experience if you want something particular you just have to book it when you see it.  By the time you hit January forward, the deals are few and far between and generally are just on the resorts that aren’t selling or the mega-resorts that have a thousand(s) of rooms.

All the resorts are beautiful. It is the service, the quality and all the little things that make the difference.  If you want something you have to go for it!  And we did!

The next few months will be spent watching the Locogringo Akumal Bay Webcam!  Google it.  It is great!

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Heading into November

Well here we are.  Almost the end of October.  Temperatures are falling, daylight lasts a whole lot less and soon we will see the dreaded winter weather.

Firstly, let me wish you all a Happy Halloween!  May you all have fun and stay safe!

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The last few weeks have seen us with some pretty decent weather through the week and seeing the tail end of tropical systems on the weekends.  We had the remnants of Hurricane Matthew on Thanksgiving weekend which saw many a turkey heading for the BBQ when the power went out.

Peggy’s Cove

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Shut In Island and Paddy’s Head

Last weekend we saw some crazy rain, winds and just bizarre skies!

The colours of fall are quickly leaving us and after another predicted storm for this weekend, they won’t last much longer.

But we still found time for outdoor fun and work.  With a burning ban on for most of the summer we didn’t get a chance for too many outdoor fires this year.  All ready for next year though!

Our first grand-baby started school this year.  She is growing fast!

Now it’s time for our winter joys!

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Our favourite treat to have while watching the game is donair nachos.  Can’t wait to try them with the donair spice this year!

To make these, get some small pita bread or cut up the larger one into wedges, wet them before layering.  You can either buy or make donair meat.  To make it use 3 parts lean ground beef, 1 part medium ground beef, some bread crumbs and 1 TBSP of donair spice per pound. ( You can make your own donair spice as well using 1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp red pepper, 1.5 tbsp oregano, 1 tbsp paprika, 2 tbsp onion powder, and 1 tbsp garlic powder.  Mix well.)  Cook at 350 for 1 hour.

I do two layers of the following – Pita, donair meat, onions, tomato and cheese.  Bake at 275 until cheese is melted.

We use donair sauce as a side, which can be bought or made. If making, prepare about 24 hours in advance for best results – 2/3 cup of regular canned milk 2/3 cup of white sugar Blend together very well.  Add 1/4 cup white vinegar do not mix in, leave it sit on top.

Turns out yummy!  May try this as well, it was awesome with pulled pork in the slow cooker!

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It is also that time of year when the 2017 vacation search begins.  Looking like Mexico is this years destination.  Been a few years since we have been there and it is time to return!

Time to get those flipflops back in the sand and dream!

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I almost forgot!  Happy Halloween from my ladies Missy and Maxi!  Keep your pets indoors and safe on October 31!

 

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October 2016

Fall in Nova Scotia is probably our most beautiful and scenic time.  The weather is usually nice with warm to hot days and cool nights, good for sleeping.  From time to time we will see a tropical storm or a good ole Nor’easter and once in a very blue moon we get hit with a hurricane, but for the most part it is nice.

Our Thanksgiving weekend was suppose to have little rain on Sunday but nothing serious.

As the weekend approached we were watching Hurricane Matthew as it moved up the Atlantic Seaboard.   The devastation was heartbreaking.  One can’t help but feel pure sadness for the people of Haiti.  Here’s hoping that with the help of the world, they can rise from this storm.

We weren’t expecting any impacts from it here, but as often happens in a maritime area – things change.  On Monday, October 10 (Canadian Thanksgiving) saw the remnants of Matthew fuel a nasty fall storm for Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and southern New Brunswick.  It moved into southern Newfoundland on Tuesday.

Some areas saw significant flooding, that is still receding today.

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Winds were nasty.

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Once we lost power at home we decided to do what all Maritimers do and head to the ocean to see what the waves were doing.. Because of wind direction it was actually pretty calm.

But, as always, very pretty!

There are so many pictures and video’s of the storm and it’s aftermath – CBC News

Luckily for us no one was killed or seriously injured.  We endured as we always do.  The Thanksgiving Storm of 2016 saw lots of barbecued turkeys, pies and everything else.  But most of all it made for a Thanksgiving to remember!

Yesterday, we had over 10, 000 cruise ship visitors, including a Disney ship, that were diverted here from the Bahama’s because of the storm.  Really hope all the cruisers enjoyed their unexpected visit!

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Vacation Wind Down

After our trip along the Fundy Trail we stuck pretty close to home for the rest of our vacation.  We are fortunate in that we live in one of the most scenic places in Nova Scotia so we enjoy being at home.

 

We have lots of wild life around. The chipmunk is a ‘rescue’ we did at the beginning of the summer and the pheasants have been visiting us daily since they were chicks.

BBQ’ing and spending time with friends is what Nova Scotia summer’s are all about!

This is a Portuguese Flattened Chicken and a Donair Spiced Beer Can Chicken.  Awesome!

We did manage to get down to Summerville beach.  Everyone was saying it was the best beach in Nova Scotia, but I think we liked Crescent (in Lockeport) and Rissers more.

We also checked out the Quarterdeck while we were there.  Friends of our had stayed here and we thought it looked interesting.  It is on the list now for a future vacation!  I would love to stay on the beach.  Your local meal options are limited but the Quarterdeck does have a restaurant.  A little bit pricey, but good.

 

My kitties are never too impressed when we leave, so they were happy we stayed.

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As per usual once they figure out we aren’t going away, all goes back to normal until the next trip.

 

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The Fundy Trail

After leaving Annapolis Royal we decided to take the long (very long!) way home.  It had been a very long time since we had been down that way,we still wanted to see where Cape Split was and a friend had recommended we stop at Hall’s Harbour.

There is a lot of road work going on down that way so it was a rough ride that’s for sure!

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If you have ever been to any waterfront areas in Nova Scotia you have noticed that there are inukshuk’s everywhere.  An inukshuk is created in the likeness of a human and is used to signify that ‘someone was here’.  It can also mean ‘You are on the right path’.

The seaside rest stop in Port George had lots of inukshuk.

Hall’s Harbour is a small fishing village, similar to Peggy’s Cove.  What makes it special are the tides.  Situation alongside the Bay of Fundy, this area has some of the highest tides in the world.  It really is quite spectacular.

Just so you can get an appreciation of how high the tides are.   This is the difference 6 hours makes.

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There is a restaurant there.  It was just meh.  I have had much better fish and chips.20160811_130542

We also stopped at the Look Off on our way home.  The view of the Annapolis Valley is just amazing.

 

This is as close to Cape Split as they would let anyone get out of their vehicles.  We do plan to go back this fall when the colours are starting to change on the leaves.

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Our last stop on this trip was Noggins Farm Market.  We have been here many times to do the corn maze.  It is lots of fun.  But they also have a market there and well it is blueberry season in Nova Scotia, so we had to get some.  Nova Scotia has the best blueberries you will ever have!

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