Camping at Kejimkujik National Park

August 30 – 31, 2014

We spent Friday night at Mike & Christine’s party with good food and surrounded by great company with the chance for me to meet a lot of their friends for the first time.

After a sleep over at their place, we headed off to Kejimkujik National Park Saturday morning for a weekend of camping! We would be camping with Mike, Christine, their daughter Stella, as well as Nathan (Mike’s cousin), his wife Lisa and their daughter Amy.

We hit the road first, as we needed to pick up a few things on the way, including some groceries and a canoe rental. It took about 1.5 hours to reach Keji Park, where we picked up our canoe and drove to Big Dam Lake.

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From the parking lot, we had to carry all our gear and portage (carry over land) our canoe about 600m to the Big Dam Lake. Don’t know how he does it!

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It took a couple of trips and some muscle use, but we made it to the dock, loaded up our canoe and paddled to our campsite.

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The lake was nice and calm 🙂

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Roar!

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My handsome fiance!

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We were the first to reach the campsite around 1:30pm. We had expected Nathan and his family to arrive before us, so assumed they were held up due to responsibilities of having a young child. We set up our tent, organised some belongings and went for a canoe paddle around the lake.

The campsite was completely private with no one else around.There was also an outhouse with toilet paper and chopped wood provided.

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Nearly 5pm, we decided to paddle back to the dock to await the arrival of the two families. We knew with 2 young children, they would have a lot of gear and a 3rd canoe for transport might come in handy. It was perfect timing. As we approached the dock, we could see that they had just arrived and were in the process of transporting their stuff from the car to the dock. We loaded up our canoe with as much stuff as possible and headed back to the campsite first.

Everyone eventually made it! Camp was set up and we had a yummy campfire dinner of pork/sausage and veggies, thanks to Christine!

View of sunset over Big Dam Lake from our campsite

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This is Stella, Mike and Christine’s cute daughter! She is an adventurer, completely fearless and as a result, more accident prone 😉

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Boinking heads with her dad

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Nathan with Mike and Stella in the background

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Cooking bacon over the fire the following morning for breakfast!

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Nathan and Lisa’s daughter, she’s a cutie as well!

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That look of concentration!

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Doing the Itsy Bitsy Spider with dad in the canoe

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Bed hair!

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A mommy daughter moment

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What is camping without a fire?

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Just capturing some moments around the campsite!

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Breakfast!

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More family moments

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Mike and I went for another canoe ride Sunday morning

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Gorgeous!

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Ran into an adult and juvenile loon

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So many mushrooms around the campsite. “Every mushroom you see is a place someone has peed” 😉

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We headed back to camp to for lunch!

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So cute!

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The 2 families would be staying at camp for another night, Mike and I said farewell Sunday afternoon and headed back first! It was lovely to have spent time with them and meeting Nathan and his family! Thanks for taking care of us guys!

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A great camping experience, my first time portaging and canoeing, fun! Hopefully will have the chance for a longer trip in the future!

CLICK HERE to view the complete Keji photo album!

New Germany with the Gregory Family

August 23 – 24, 2014

Mike and I spent my first weekend in Nova Scotia down in New Germany with Bill and Nina’s family! 🙂 They live on a farm with acres of land, animals and delicious fruits and vegetables.

Our visit in photos!

Nina and their beautiful daughter Lily with her donkey Captain Underpants!

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Visiting the horses

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Their beautiful horses

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Heading over to Uta’s (Nina’s mom) property next door

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Chickens on Uta’s property

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Giving Captain Underpants a brush

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See ya later!

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How adorable is she?

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Lily’s brother Archer – look at that smile!

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Picking blackberries 🙂

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Archer with grandpa (Bill’s dad)

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Kids and grandpa

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Nina designed and Bill built the kids… a three storey castle!

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Bill with Lily in the castle

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Lily helping grandma (Bill’s mom) shuck corn!

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Hauling the corn over to daddy to cook

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Family fun on the trampoline

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Pensive Bill

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Kisses

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Bill’s chickens – almost ready to eat 😉

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And their turkeys

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Daddy and the kids

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Archer loves his apples, and look at those blue eyes!

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Such a smart girl!

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Evening bonfire

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Locating some more blackberries on a walk around their farm

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Gross!

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This furry catepillar was kind of cute

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On Sunday, Mike and I made dinner! Banh Mi (Vietnamese subs) with homemade BBQ pork, garlic mayo and pickled carrots.

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Matt, Laura and their daughter Isabelle came down to join from Halifax! And Uta came over as well 🙂

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Thank you for welcoming me into your home Bill and Nina! It was great to spend time with you and the kids! ❤

Introducing: Dayspring Candle Company

Hi everyone!

I’d like to introduce you to our friends’, Mike and Tina’s, new online store: Dayspring Candle Company (DCC).

They are a husband and wife team based out of Dayspring, Nova Scotia, and their company offers a selection of unique (sometimes antique!) oil-burning candles and supplies.

“We pride oil candles for 3 main reasons… a brighter flame – long burn time – reusability. An oil candle doesn’t need to be thrown away, just refilled.”

Wavy Yellow Glass Candles

Wavy Yellow Glass Candles

 

“The standard Dayspring Candles, which come in a number of shapes and sizes, are a great way to add a warm ambiance to any room. They can be incorporated easily into craft projects and interior decorating.”

Rain Drop Glass Candle

Rain Drop Glass Candle

 

“If you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary, our ever changing collection of unique and one-of-a-kind candles are sure to delight. Being situated in such a historic and eclectic part of the world, our access to unique candle bases is excellent. This is the most enjoyable part for us. Our rolling supply is rarely ever the same twice! Check back often for new products or be notified in other ways!”

Striped Amber Glass Candle

Striped Amber Glass Candle

 

Not only do they have a beautiful selection of bottles (some very limited!) – they even ship worldwide… what could be more perfect?

A discount! That’s right, they have a GRAND OPENING SPECIAL: 25% off store wide until June 30th, 2013!

Please give them some of your time and check out their website HERE – you might find something you love or a perfect gift for someone else!

And don’t forget to LIKE THEM ON FACEBOOK 😉

Halifax Day 7: Tea and a Christmas Treer

December 10, 2012

Continuing on with our last day!

This is the Market Hall on the way back to our car from Salty’s

We returned home to bum around until our coffee date with Michael H at 4pm. If you don’t remember from a previous post, both Michaels used to work in the same lab and now both are in med school 🙂

We ended up meeting at Just Us!, a certified organic fair trade cafe.

Mike and I opted for jasmine green tea. I really liked the fact that they gave us a timer so we could steep our tea for an optimum period of time.

The cafe had a good atmosphere and service. Very beautiful and spacious Victorian property, there was an upstairs level as well, and catered to many students.

And look! I took a picture this time! Michael^2

The date was over too quick. Until next time! I hope you, your wife and children are doing great 🙂

Totally wish there was a cafe like this back in Brisbane so I could come to study. I would be here multiple times a week if that were the case!

Just Us! Coffeehouse on Urbanspoon

After tea and saying good bye, we again, went back home to chill. A lot of laziness today, haha. In the evening, we were invited over to Dan R and Leigh Anne’s new house for dinner and to help them decorate their first and real Christmas tree.

Leigh Anne, Mike and I put up the lights while Dan picked up some yummy take out Thai food. We shared some laughs, ate good food, had some wine… and then Dan butchered the tree (he perhaps shouldn’t have cut off some of the lowest branches, but he had no evil intentions!). Haha, maybe Dan had to feel Leigh Anne’s wrath after we left but we think the tree turned out nice! These pictures were also taken earlier in the night before the decorations were put up, so it was even prettier by the time we left.

The lovely Dan and Leigh Anne and again with Mike

Can’t wait to hear all about and see all the wedding pictures you guys! 😉

Packing was waiting for us when we got home that night, which we couldn’t put off any longer because we needed to leave at 7am the next morning. Got to the airport around 8:30am, our flight wasn’t delayed for too long and before we knew it, we had landed back in Ottawa.

It was such a pleasure meeting everyone. I had an amazing time in Halifax, loved the city. And a huge thank you to Bill & Nina and to Matt & Laura for their generous hospitality.

Everyone, please let us know if you’re ever in Australia… we’d love to see you there!

Until next time… 🙂

And that marks THE END of my week long vacation in Halifax.

 

Halifax Day 6: Yacht Club, Crystal Crescent Beach and Homemade Alfredo Sauce

December 09, 2012

We had a late start today. It was raining, I blame it on the weather. 😛

We did follow through with brunch plans though!

Laura was at a meeting but Matt took us to eat the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron (yacht club on the Northwest Arm of Halifax Harbour).

Tidbit I didn’t know: RNSYS lays claim to being the oldest yacht club in North America, with its beginnings dating back to the establishment of the Halifax Yacht Club in July 1837

It’s too bad it was raining, the views would’ve been lovely!

I had the best (albeit first) seafood chowder ever! My grilled lobster sandwich was such a loser… trying to contend beside the bowl of chowder. 😛  It warmed me up inside, especially on such a gloomy day. Thank you Matt!

On the way back, we stopped at York Redoubt:

“Established in 1793 on a bluff overlooking the harbour entrance, and expanded in the 19th and 20th centuries, York Redoubt was a key element in the defence of Halifax Harbour.”

Unfortunately, it was SO foggy, you could not see a thing. I’d never been so close to fog before, it was pretty exciting. Don’t judge, I’m serious!

Love!

We headed back to Matt and Laura’s. They were soon leaving for Florida so we hung out until Laura got home from her meeting to say our goodbyes. I hope you guys had a great trip!

It was already afternoon… but the sky was clearing up… so we had to get to the beach!

Michael decided we were going to visit Crystal Crescent Beach:

“Crystal Crescent beach is one of the best known beaches in the Halifax region.  What is less known is the coastal trail that originates from the beach called the Pennant Point trail. The trail is an amazing coastal trek.  It is a 13 kilometer loop that hugs the coastline for most of it.  The trail is a lot of fun for rock climbing and scampering. The landscape is amazing…”

LOVED IT.

We were too cold to go very far along the trail, but this is one place I would definitely want to come back and see during all 4 seasons. What a beautiful place!

Unfortunately, my panorama photos failed horribly, but here are some other shots

Shadow hug!

We headed back into the city after this. Stopped for a snack of delicious onion rings at A&W before going home. Ended up just chilling at home reading and watching TV before heading over to Mike C & Christine’s for dinner!

They have a lovely home! My favourite thing about their house is this little closet/room that Mike C had renovated into a ‘personal room’ for Christine. A place just for her to go and escape from everything and get lost in her music… how sweet!

For dinner, Christine made pasta with an amazing alfredo sauce… she makes me want to try to make my own sometime as well 😀 There was also salad and bread and lots of sugary deliciousness for dessert, including some chocolate cake we brought, and Mike C’s baked goods.

We had a really nice time at their place (I haven’t played Foosball in so long!) and I’m glad to have had the chance to get to know some of Michael’s great friends 🙂

And that marks the end of Day 6! I know, I failed at taking people pictures… again. However, FULL ALBUM HERE

Halifax Day 5: Markets, Settlers of Catan and Brussels

December 08, 2012

Saturday! Time to hit the markets!

The Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market:

“Founded in 1750, The Halifax Farmers’ Market Cooperative is the oldest continuously running farmers’ market in North America. The first market vendors were Acadian – the original European immigrants to the land. Currently, the market has over 200 vendors selling some of Nova Scotia’s best local products including fresh produce, maple products, crafts, flowers, cheeses, meats, baked goods, coffee and so much more!

The Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market moved to its new location on Halifax’s Waterfront during the summer of 2010 at Pier 20, the busiest tourist entry point in the province. It is the heart of the cultural, social and community centre that is emerging in the Halifax Seaport Development.

We left Matt and Laura’s a little earlier than everyone else, just to take our time looking around. Soon, we had met up with Dan B & Natalie, Bill & Nina (New Germany), Matt & Laura and Mike & Tina (Bridgewater). Mike and I spent most of our time wandering and eating one dish after another, but don’t worry, it wasn’t all about us. We picked up a few gifts as well. 😛

Unfortunately, Bill & Nina’s daughter Lily was sick and staying at home with her grandma, Uta, so they couldn’t stay long. Everyone else was busy too, so it was really nice to see them one more time before going back to Ottawa, even if just for a few hours.

Matt and Laura headed home first while Michael took me to check out the Brewery Market. Unfortunately, most shops had closed up so we only did a quick walk around.

We spent the rest of the afternoon back and Matt & Laura’s playing Settlers of Catan. If you’ve never played:

“Players assume the roles of settlers, each attempting to build and develop holdings while trading and acquiring resources. Players are rewarded points as their settlements grow; the first to reach a set number of points is the winner. At no point in the game is any player eliminated.”

I had never played before and it initially sounded quite daunting. However, you quickly catch on to the rules of the game and it’s pretty fun. And I won the game, not bad for a noobie!

For dinner we went out to Brussels (another restaurant of the Hamachi restaurant group) where we met up with Dan R and I got to meet more of Mike’s friends for the first time: Christine and her husband Mike, as well as Will. Unfortunately, Laura was busy with work and couldn’t make it out.

Tastefully decorated with really nice ambiance. We ended up only ordering appetizers, but the ones I tasted were good! Everyone was also extremely pleased with the extensive beer selection and reasonable prices – multiple rounds were ordered 😀

I became slightly annoyed at our server by the end of the night. She was extremely happy and friendly, but got a little too close for comfort. She was constantly at our table taking part (very loudly) in whatever discussion was going on at the moment. Props to her though, she obviously has a lot of interests and is very easy to talk to… but there should be a level of professionalism maintained. When you’ve been standing at one end of the table talking for 20 minutes and someone at the other end can’t even get get your attention to order another drink, you are not doing your job well. Also, a water refill without asking would be nice! 😛

Good night though! And really nice to finally get to meet Christine and her husband, I had heard so many stories before today! Everyone except Dan R ended back at Matt & Laura’s for a drink before calling it a night.

And that marks the end of Day 5. I’ve realized I did not take any pictures of people today 😦

 

Halifax Day 4: Citadel, Boardwalk and Sushi

December 07, 2012

After breakfast at The Coastal Cafe, we had to take advantage of the temporary beautiful weather and do some outdoor activities.

First stop was the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site:

“The present Citadel was completed in 1856 and is the fourth in a series of British forts on this site. Today, the restored Citadel is a national landmark, commemorating Halifax’s role as a key naval station in the British Empire and bringing history to life in Atlantic Canada’s largest urban centre.”

Unfortunately, no services are offered between Nov 01 – May 06. None of the shops, exhibits or rooms were opened and there was nobody working that day. It didn’t matter, because we had the chance to peacefully walk around and take in all the sights – and didn’t have to pay a fee.

Just walking around along the bottom

Heading up to the top of the fort

One of the many canons

The view from up top, you can also see the famous Town Clock in this shot

The moat

Graffiti on the roof of the signal post

Before heading off, we stopped on the street to take a few photos of the Town Clock:

“The Town Clock, also sometimes called the Old Town Clock or Citadel Clock Tower, is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the historic urban core of Nova Scotia’s Halifax Regional Municipality.”

“Prince Edward, Duke of Kent commissioned a clock tower in 1800 prior to his return to England. The Town Clock opened on October 20, 1803 at a location on the east slope of Citadel Hill on Barrack (now Brunswick) Street and has kept time for the community ever since.

As a Halifax icon, the Town Clock has featured in many artwork, fictional and non-fictional accounts of Halifax. One among many is a depiction of the town clock as a character named Chimey in the children’s television show Theodore Tugboat.”

Sorry, these pictures are definitely not taken at the best angle!

We then went down and walked along the Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk:

“The Halifax boardwalk is open to the public 24 hours a day. The boardwalk also includes shops at Bishop’s Landing and the Historic Properties buildings as well as the “Cable Wharf” a former cable ship terminal now used as a tour boat base for several vessels including Theodore Too.

The boardwalk’s southern terminus is at Pier 21. It stretches northwards along the coast for approximately 3 km before it terminates in front of Casino Nova Scotia at its northern terminus. Three notable museums are located on the waterfront. The Pier 21 immigration museum is located at the southern terminus. The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic at the boardwalk’s centre and includes the museum ship CSS Acadia.”

The CSS Acadia

Low season = empty board walk + closed stores

The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

The popular Wave sculpture. Apparently, it was restored just earlier this year! I was tempted to climb it as well, but didn’t want to break my front teeth… again.

In memory of 2200 known Canadian merchant seamen and 91 Canadian vessels lost by enemy action and those who served in the cause of freedom.

There was a cute old Asian man fishing just ahead with his wife. He was actually able to catch quite a few fish and even lured in curious passersby

Pier 21: Canada’s National Immigration Museum (I forgot to take pictures of the building itself)

“The Pier was the primary point of entry for over one million immigrants and refugees from Europe and elsewhere, as well as the departure point for 496,000 military personal Canadian troops during World War Two. The facility became known informally as the ‘Gateway to Canada.’ It closed in March 1971, due to a significant drop in immigration traffic as transportation modes switched from ocean-going-ships to jet airliners.”

At around this point, we headed back the way we came. Some views along the way back to the car…

With a few hours left before meeting some friends for dinner, we headed across the water to Dartmouth for some shopping at Dartmouth Crossing. Enormous success! Together we spent around $230 and saved around $300 for… many items!

Spying on Michael filling up the tank on the way back into the city

By evening, Matt was back from Moncton and we decided to have sushi dinner at Hamachi Mura. Dan and his fiancee Leigh Anne joined for dinner, giving us the pleasure of meeting her in person for the first time!

It was a good dinner with great company. We ended up checking out Dan and Leigh Anne’s new house afterwards. They were just starting the process of moving in but what a lovely home. Very happy for them! 🙂

Headed back to Matt & Laura’s (where we were staying while in Halifax) with Dan for a drink and a few laughs before calling it a night 🙂

And that marks the end of Day 4 – FULL ALBUM HERE!