Sunday, September 18, 2016

Oregon

Edwin & I went to Oregon on the long weekend as a semi one-year anniversary trip and just for something fun to do! Our actual anniversary is tomorrow, September 19th, and we will be going out for dinner.

We left bright & early Saturday morning (6 am!!) and used our new Nexus cards to cross the border SO fast. It was their inaugural use, and we have quickly learned that they are very worth it! We had absolutely no wait on the way down, and literally NO questions were asked of us. He literally said  "have a good day." And we continued on. I know not every time will be like this, but hooray for less border waits! (and to be able to use the special line at the airport)

We drove to Cannon Beach that day, ordered lunch (fish & chips) and sat on the beautiful beach to eat. We walked down to the iconic Haystack Rock and then wandered around the city part and went into some stores.

(impossible to get a picture of us with the rock without other people....)


After Cannon Beach, we drove into Portland, where we were staying. We ended up going out for Mexican dinner that evening and wandering around downtown Portland.

On Sunday, we also wandered around downtown Portland and went to a brewery. I had no idea Portland had so many! We then went to a Guatemalan restaurant for a late lunch/early dinner. This has been the only Guatemalan restaurant we've come found in the West Coast! It was super fun to go and have authentic food and also buy things from their market & bakery. We even bought some Guatemalan beer! (called Gallo in Guatemala, but Famoso in the states - some sort of licensing issue with the name apparently)

Beer testing

The best pretzel in the world

At Los Chapines in a suburb of Portland

Our food. Edwin had a beef dish of some sort that I cannot recall the name of, and then we shared plantains (that always come with sour cream & refried black beans) In the bowl with the blue cloth is tortillas!

My dish was called jocan. It does have chicken in it, but I just took the chicken out and gave it to Edwin. A lot of true Guatemalan dishes have meat in them, and I wanted to get something authentic. This was almost like a soup/stew that was spicy with beans and güisquil. It was really yummy!!

On Monday, the labour day holiday, we went to an outlet mall. We did buy a few things, but with the dollar not being so great, you really have to do the math to see if you are getting a good deal. After shopping and some lunch, we headed home and arrived around 9 pm.

It was really fun to have a mini getaway. I always love a good road trip!! 5.5 hours to Oregon is really not too bad. (it's nothing compared to Smithers - haha!)

We don't have any concrete plans for an upcoming vacation, but Edwin's 16 year old niece, Stephanie, will be coming to visit us for the month of December.  We are hoping to do at least one trip to a colder place in the mountains, where she can see tons of snow. I am really excited for her to have this experience!!

Happy Sunday evening - have a great weekend!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

a Vancouver day & a few other things

Today, Edwin & I went on a Vancouver adventure. This weekend was the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival, and we have been a few times in the past for Guatemalan movies. This year, we saw "The Greatest House in the World" or, "La Casa más Grande Del Mundo." Nicely put, the movie was much more simple than we anticipated, and only one hour in length. It was about a girl who had to herd sheep by herself for the day as her mother was busy having a baby. She looses the sheep, and then finds them. The end! It was in Spanish with English subtitles, and some parts were in Quiche (said like key-chay - there is supposed to be an accent on the e but I don't know how to make it on my keyboard!), a native Guatemalan language, with English subtitles. However, I do like supporting the VLAFF and doing things where I can see Latin cultures. 

Since we were in Vancouver, we decided to go to the pop up zero-waste shop on West 4th. Ever since attending a movie on zero waste a few months ago, I've been trying to be more conscious of how much waste I contribute. This pop up shop is basically a place where they sell local and organic food, and you bring your own containers to bring it home in. (love this) They had sugar, flour, dried fruit, some vegetables, bread, and also things like natural deodorant etc. We just bought some of the bread they were selling, made with all local and organic ingredients and no yeast. ($6) I was more interested in seeing what kind of things they had, but had brought a few jars and containers just in case! The thing I always struggle with is the challenge between being health conscious, not spending a million dollars on groceries, eating local/organic, and not being wasteful. How is one supposed to do all of those things?! Ideas are welcome! 

Speaking of, where do you do all of your regular grocery shopping? We are doing a test this month and shopping at Superstore for the month. We normally go to Save on Foods, but have heard Superstore is less expensive for the same things... so, we shall see how this experiment goes! 

In other news, here are some fun things from around the web: 

This is our current Netflix series we are watching - it makes me want to go traveling!

Will & Kate are coming to Vancouver soon!! I want to see them. And the kiddos.

The city of Surrey is having more pop-up junk drops coming up - get rid of all your old stuff for FREE! 

I made falafel recently and it was so yummy! I like a good protein alternative once in a while.

The falafel is hard to see (hence why I didnt instagram this picture!) but I made donairs essentially, with tsatsiki, lettuce, cucumber and onions. Greek salad on the side. (Edwin got chicken - falafel isn't his thing)


Yesterday, I had brunch with my book club girlfriends, including one husband and a few children. We went to the Roadhouse Grille in South Surrey. Our friend Kristina's daughter Alicia is visiting from Toronto, so it was really fun to see her after so long. Kristina and her family moved away about 8 years ago, and I've only seen the a handful of times since then.

Well, we are off to my parents for dinner this evening, our usual Sunday evening activity! Have a great week ahead :)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

a thing post

Some things I found around the web recently... enjoy :) 

I loooove these Kate Spade earrings (they were on sale last week, should have bought them then!)

My beer picture was in the newspaper last week!

There is a PIZZA ATM now - so jealous of this school.

How cute is this story about the Prime Minister of Singapore's wifes purse? Made me a bit teary eyed!

... this one also made me teary eyed about a wedding.

Enter to win a White Spot gift card from Miss 604! (you have until August 9)

I HAVE to see this movie. It looks hilarious!! Coming Christmas this year.

Are you a BCAA member? Check out the restaurant deals you can get with it!! (I had no idea!) 

Edwin & I are thinking of going to Picnic en Rouge at Holland Park on August 11. Cool idea!

... we are also going to Boston Pizza tomorrow night for Fan Appreciation day. $5 pizzas!!

Lastly, I think this is just great: the First Lady & James Corden carpool karaoke.

Have a great week ahead!!!

Monday, August 1, 2016

hello, august + long weekend

Edwin & I actually didn't have any plans for this long weekend. I was okay with that, as a little relaxing is up my alley. We ended up doing quite a bit though, and still got some good relaxing time in. Here's some deets on what we got up to this weekend!

Friday: Edwin & I went to the Surrey Night Market. We went two summers ago as well, when the night market was first debuting. It was not great, but we figured it was because it was just getting started. Upon going two years later, we've learned it hasn't changed at all. This is unfortunate, because we like to support local city events and vendors, and its so close for us compared to the Richmond night market! We did, however, enjoy the food we had  and there were quite a few options. We had shahi paneer, donairs, poutine, and a bubble waffle ice cream thing. We watched some of the stage entertainment and walked through the vendors. (which doesn't take long - we didn't buy anything) We were there for about 1.5 hours in total, and unless it gets a little larger, I'm not sure I'll return. It was not busy at all when we were there, either. The food was great, and we didn't have a bad experience. It just is a struggle to call it a night market when you have the real deal in a neighboring city.... maybe it gets busy on non-long weekends? Maybe it's better for kids? I don't know...

Shahi paneer from Gateway Pizza

Bubble waffle with ice cream & oreos

Mushroom poutine
Saturday: We did our usual grocery shopping during the day as well as some errands. Saturday night we went to our friends Rob & Amandas as they were having some people over. They just moved into a new townhouse in Langley and there is a super cool feature: a rooftop patio!!! We had some drinks, some appys, and played Cards Against Humanity for a while up there.

Sunday: We met up with Amanda & Rob in Stanley Park, rented bikes, and biked the seawall! It was SO FUN! I really enjoy leisurely bike rides in the sun, and with a view like Stanley Park and Vancouver, you can't go wrong. We also saw the tail end of the Pride Parade - we were hoping to see Justin Trudeau but no dice.




Then, we went to my parents for dinner with my grandparents as well. Pants is gallivanting in Europe, so he was not there. (he comes home tomorrow - I'm excited to head about his travels!) My mom made yummy lasanga (a meat one and a veggie one, thanks mom!) and it was delicious. I love our Sunday dinners at my parents!! (yay for no cooking on Sunday nights) (sorry, I didn't take any pictures - next time!)

Monday: Edwin & I went for a picnic and some sun bathing at Centennial Beach in Tsawassen. (for something different!) We ate tuna sandwiches and soaked up some sun near the ocean for a few hours. It was lovely.

Now, we are just going our usual back-to-work things: I made lunches & ironed some of Edwin's shirts and he is doing his accounting duties, as we lovingly call them. (paying bills, etc...) Any tips on good ironing?! I am new to this...

Have a lovely (short) week everyone!!! Enjoy the sunshine :)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

happy 60th birthday dad!

My dad turned 60 this past Saturday - can you believe it?! We thought doing something a bit more special was warranted for this, hence we did a little family trip to Osoyoos. My dad is a big fan of the water, warm temperatures, and beer. This combined all of those things together easily!

Growing up, our family used to go to Osoyoos every summer with our whole extended family on my moms side. My mom even went here as a kid before she started taking her own family. Therefore, it has a bit of nostalgia associated with going there! 

All in all, we had tons of fun and I think everyone got to relax too, even with 7 adults sharing a townhouse! We had some other family members whose stays in Osoyoos overlapped with ours a bit. We got to see Aunty Lydia, Uncle Ken, Aunty Catherine, Uncle Bruce, and my cousin Kristin! My parents also brought Odie so that always kept things interesting.
 
Heading to go float in the lake. Oh how I love floating! (Edwin opted out of the lake floating - he is more of a heated pool kinda guy)



My cute parents.

Sister selfie.

Pants mini golfing at Rattlesnake Canyon. Classic thing to do in Osoyoos!

Headed to wineries, cutest sign ever.

At Church and State winery - the one with the fun/sassy wine labels. A must if you visit Osoyoos wineries!!

Another must-see winery in Osoyoos: Platinum Bench. Not only do they have good wine, but they have a winery dog (Wally) and they make homemade fancy sourdough breads. Delicious!! (not cheap, but delicious!)


I  love this one - the whole gang! (at Platinum Bench)

Odie was particularly cuddley this day.
A classic Spier past time.

Another classic Spier past time - hahaha! We got the birthday boy a shot for his birthday when we had dinner at the Sage Pub.
Alas, we must return to reality and head back to work tomorrow. I am also only a TINY bit envious of my little brother who is headed to Europe on Tuesday...Him and 5 friends will go to London, Amsterdam, Paris, and Dublin. Only a little jealous... !!!

What are your summer plans? Are you going anywhere? Happy mid-July!

Monday, July 11, 2016

things these days

I get really excited when I am reminded that there are more people than just my parents & Edwin who read my blog. I was recently reminded that my cousins read it too! (gotta love my family - most supportive blog readers ever!)

I thought I'd post some pictures of things that happen been happening these days. Also, meals I've been making, because that makes me happy :)

Can I just say how much I love this photo? I had some really good natural light coming in and it made for a lovely photo I think! (tooting my own iPhone photography horn here....) This was baked eggs & toast, a new breakfast recipe I tried! I'm always in the market for new breakfast recipes. Any suggestions?

Edwin & I often go pick up Odie and take him to Tynehead Park. He is always so tired after and lays down on the backseat. He's cute.

It was Amanda's boyfriends 35th birthday over the July long weekend and she planned a weekend extravaganza. This is Edwin & Amanda at Old Abbey Ales for beer tasting. My favorite beer was the raspberry sour.

On the left is the raspberry sour, and the rest were all lighter or fruity beers. I don't like dark/heavy ones!


Paintballing was also one of the events. Remind me that next time i think it's a good idea to sign up for paintballing to NOT sign up. I don't know why I thought this was my kind of thing... I ended up crouched behind a stump with some 11 year olds the whole time.

This was the highlight for me of Rob's birthday weekend - karaoke at the Walnut Grove Pub. Justin even convinced Edwin to sing a song with him!! I was shocked. And impressed that he actually did it. The night was really fun and ended in a 12 person group karaoke rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody. SO FUN. 

I loved the color of the sky one night! This is out our bedroom window.

See, this is an example of a food picture you would NOT see on instagram. I thought the sauce splatters would be trendy and look really cool in a photo. Nope, looks like I spilled alllll over the plate. These are cabbage rolls, by the way. They look easier than they are....I'll stick to eating my Aunty Josie's whenever she makes them!!!

The City of Surrey had a pop-up junk shop on Saturday. It was free to drop off all your old electronics, mattresses, tires, etc. We got rid of some things that had been looming in the garage for a while now. In this photo, you will see my parents beloved 80's blue lamp going to lamp heaven. They have more dates coming up too, check it out!

Wedding selfie! My cousin Danielle got married on Saturday. Colin and I had fun sitting next to each other!

My cousins Kristin, Steven, & Robyn.

My mom requesting selfies...

The bridge & groom!! Her dress was GORGEOUS!!! She looked really beautiful.


I got my hair done last week and took a little selfie on snapchat... you have to pass the time SOMEHOW when sitting with the heater-thing on your head...
And last but not least, today is my beloved husbands birthday. He is 32 years young. I woke up early to make him pancakes in bed before he went to work, and we ended today with pizza & a beer at Famoso Pizzeria. Happy birthday to you, Edwin!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

chaat recipe

I made this Indian appetizer on Saturday night and it turned out to be quite popular! I thought I'd share it here a) so I can remember it and b) you can learn & maybe try it. The recipe is essentially potatoes & chickpeas topped with sauces & crunchy things. (crunchers, as Edwin calls anything crunchy on a salad)

I am googling to try to find some "official" recipes, but it seems there are quite a few varieties of chaat out there. I think the technical name is "papdi/papri chaat," but I've only ever known it as chaat. My recipe was based off a friend from work telling me how to make it, so I am going to go with this one :) However, if you want to use a recipe from online, this one is relatively similar.

Ingredients:
4 potatoes, cut into small squares
1 can chick peas
4 flour tortillas, cut into small squares 
1/2 container of plain yogurt
Tamarind & date chutney
Chopped red onion
Cilantro
Chaat masala spice (found at Save On Foods International in Fleetwood) 


Method: 
Season the tortilla squares with the chaat masala spice. Bake until golden & crunchy.
Boil the potatoes in salted water.
Drain & rinse the chick peas; lightly season with chaat masala.
Finely chop red onion.
Finely chop cilantro.

For the sauces, yogurt & chutney, place those in separate bowls. This appetizer is a self-assembly one, so each item will be in a separate bowl. This way, people can put on it what they like. You should have one bowl with each of the following: potatoes, chick peas, crunchers, yogurt, chutney, onions, cilantro, and chaat masala seasoning. See photo:


Once assembled by people, it should resemble this:

Image found via Google: http://sulaindianrestaurant.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/papri-Chaat.jpg

Sometimes, chaat is also served with a green mint chutney. Feel free to add that, or omit onions or cilantro to your preference! The nice thing about people mixing it themselves is that they can make it how they want. If they want it extra spicy, they can add more chaat masala spice!

In my searching, I found this site that has other fun Indian appetizer type dishes. Happy cooking!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

it's almost july

Before you know it, we are almost into the month of July! Time really does fly. It seems like just yesterday we got married; now it is closer to our anniversary than the actual wedding date! People always ask "how married life is" these days - and it's great. I get to hang out with my best friend all the time and we have tons of fun together. He makes me coffee every morning, and that makes me a happy wife!

In July it is both Edwin and my dads birthdays. For Edwins, we might be going on a little road trip South of the border (more to come on that). For my dads [60th!!!] birthday, we are going up to Osoyoos as a family. We rented a [dog-friendly] condo and will swim in the lake, lounge in the sun, drink beer, and make curry for Murray on his birthday. I'm looking forward to these events!!

Here are some things we've been up to lately:

- we hosted our first ever BBQ with our first ever BBQ! (even though it was pouring rain yesterday) We bought one last weekend, tested it during the week (by making grilled prawns - so good) and then had friends over last night for burgers. Success!
- I had nachos with Heidi, Lindsay & Christina on Thursday evening. This is a tradition we've had for quite some time now, and I love it. I have known Heidi & Christina since kindergarten, which means for 25 years, and Lindsay for 17 years.
- Makai turned one today! We attended his first birthday party, superhero style. He is adorable and already walking!! I took a few pictures but unfortunately none turned out great to post here :(
- the stitches from my second gum graft have come out already, which is great. They were getting pretty irritating... I have a follow-up on Thursday to make sure all is good. Hopefully no need for more!!
- I am taking my daddio to sushi for dinner tomorrow night to celebrate Father's Day. No one else in the family likes sushi, so we had our usual Sunday dinner at my parents today since everyone was around. (to be fair, Jen does like sushi but she is not close!)

What have you been up to lately? Tell me! Also, please tell me if you have any cool ideas for me to blog about.... as you probably know, my blogging volume has been on the decline lately. (only 18 posts so far in 2016!) It would be much appreciated :)

Happy Sunday evening - hope everyone had a great Father's Day & weekend!

Friday, June 10, 2016

thing post #37

Okay, so I made up the #37. But I wish I kept track of how many thing posts I've done so I could count... let's just go with 37.

I am at home on the couch following my second gum graft. This one was definitely less fun than the last one, and involves a lot more stitches in more places.  It's not the worst thing in the entire world I could go through, but it's not pleasant, thats for sure.

My friend Jalene has opened a cafe in White Rock. I'm excited to check it out!!

27 diagrams that make cooking so much easier (#3 is useful for me meat-wise, and #18 is a handy guideline!)

Albeit in Spanish, this page shows how hot dogs are made around the world. (Argentina & France look like my fave on the list)

My computer just decided to update itself to Microsoft 10 without my approval. Not sure I like it nor understand it. Anyone else use it??

It's no longer available on Social Shopper (sorry), but you need to watch for this deal from La Piazza Dario. Seriously the best pasta place!! (I just bought one)

Edwin & I just got approved for Nexus. So excited to get our cards & test it out!

My butternut squash mac and cheese was in the newspaper this week (June 8 - #Gastropost)

We just got a barbeque last weekend - I am SO excited to test it out. I've been googling good recipes & found some from my buddy Bobby Flay.  (tacos, pizza, shrimp skewers.... YUM) Any suggestions??

I hope I've provided you with some fun weekend reading. Does anyone have any fun plans this weekend? Do share! I need to live vicariously through you as I will be right here on the couch all weekend... its kind of relaxing through so I don't mind :)

Thursday, June 2, 2016

thankful thursday

I have lots to be thankful for every, single day in my life. Here are some of them today: 

1. Wedding & baby showers. I love being able to celebrate these joyful things in other peoples lives! I have a baby shower to attend on Saturday for a good friend of mine, and a wedding shower on Sunday for my cousin Danielle.

2. Swimming. I've been swimming with Jack lately to try to teach him a thing or two. It's been super fun for us on a bonding level and to see him progress! I really do feel proud of him. I also seriously enjoy playing in the pool. It makes me nostalgic to my good ol' swim instructor days...

3. Books. I've been to Chapters a few times this week to buy gifts for the aforementioned showers and other reasons, and books are just so great. I hope they always stay around! I love that they can take you away to another place while you are reading. I feel that they also help keep the brain sharp and teach you new words or phrases. I am currently attempting to read a book in Spanish... I'm on page 2. (I'll keep you posted on that progress...)

4. My family. Edwin & I were away for two weeks in a row, and this past weekend, we caught up to our usual Sunday routine of dinner at my parents. It was nice to catch up again and get back to normal. (and have my mom cook, who are we kidding!) We also got an added bonus of seeing my grandparents for dinner on Saturday night!

5. A job that is so close to home. I don't mean to rub it in to all of you who commute, but I am just really grateful that I only work 10 minutes away. Not sitting in traffic is awesome, I must say.

Have a great weekend!