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Tag: family (Page 1 of 2)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Odin de Boer

Happy Thanksgiving! I feel so lucky to have more than I can begin to list to be thankful for. Most importantly though, I’m thankful for my wonderful friends & family. I only go to spend the day with one of my boys, but my family more than made up for it with a fabulous evening together.

I headed over to my parents house early in the day yesterday to start dinner. They were driving back from the lake that afternoon & joined in to help with dinner around 4. This was my second time cooking a turkey all on my own, & holy it’s a big job. I have to admit, I’m also thankful that my family is a once a year turkey family. I love to cook, but I don’t find turkey dinner a fun meal to cook. It’s a lot of waiting & basting, & hoping it all comes together well.

My parents have an amazing Viking range, which makes cooking a total joy!

My parents have an amazing Viking range, which makes cooking a total joy!

Playing with Odin while Tom the Turkey cooks!

Playing with Odin while Tom the Turkey cooks!

It wouldn't be fall in Calgary without a little snow.

It wouldn’t be fall in Calgary without a little snow.

Thankfully, my skills held up well & dinner turned out fabulous. I also made a delicious butternut squash sage soup (from the Practical Paleo cookbook I’m always going on about). My parents took care of the mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts, yams, & onions. Everything came together so well, & we were joined by my brother’s girlfriend & her father.

Table's all set!

Table’s all set!

Bringing out the nice china

Bringing out the nice china

My turkey masterpiece

My turkey masterpiece

First course: Butternut squash sage soup

First course: Butternut squash sage soup

Dad carving the turkey

Dad carving the turkey

With one of my boys

With one of my boys

Dad & his pal, Odin

Dad & his pal, Odin

Belly rubs from Uncle Adam are the best!

Belly rubs from Uncle Adam are the best!

I hope your Thanksgiving was equally lovely, wherever you are (or will be, if you celebrate American Thanksgiving in a few weeks). From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Giving Thanks

Our one Turkey holiday of the year (at least for my parents) is over & done with. We roasted an impressively large bird for five people last weekend & now we’re into leftover season. I’ll definitely be trying to take advantage of all that turkey & stuffing (my mom’s turkey stuffing is off the charts).

We spent Thanksgiving out at the lake this year. My parents headed out Friday & then N, my brother, & I drove out on Saturday. The whole weekend was filled with delicious food & family time. N & I brought out a bottle of wine & Lemon honey from Cinque Terre & picked up a wedge of pecorino to pair with it. Mom set out our usual cheese & appies (including some pickled carrots I’d made a couple weeks ago) & we dug in. This is definitely a family tradition of ours & I love it. How can you not enjoy such a spread?

Dad had made homemade pappardelle & lamb ragu for dinner that night. It was fantastic. He makes great pasta homemade pasta that we are always happy to devour.

Saturday morning, the boys went golfing while Mom & I stayed home & prepared our friend Tom the Turkey. Yes, we name our turkey & yes, his name is always Tom. We’re weird like that. This meal is such an all day affair so I don’t blame my parents for keeping it for Thanksgiving. I always enjoy the meal & it’s great to get everyone together in the kitchen as it all comes together in the end, but it is truly an all day affair. Not to mention, I love trying new things so our plan to have duck for Christmas is right up my alley.

The next day, I prepared an Egg & Meatball Tagine for everyone for brunch. It was delicious, if I do say myself. While not the most conventional of breakfast dishes, the flavours will make you forget what that even means.  & sometimes it’s fun to break the rules, right?

Monday was the perfect fall day so N & I took a walk down to the lake before packing the car for home. We even ran into a few deer on our way down.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought I’d share a few things I’m personally thankful for this year. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday & have many things on your list as well.

I am thankful for:

  • My family, my husband, & my friends. There isn’t much more to it really. We had a great weekend at the lake & returned to more family time with N’s parents. We also just received our wedding photos & they are a beautiful reminder of how lucky we are to be surrounded with the best people. 
  • You. Those of you who read this blog & keep me from feeling like I’m talking to myself. I’m grateful that I have this space to write & share & be creative. Thank you for reading! 
  • First World Problems. Yeah, I’m grateful that they are really the only problems we face on a regular basis. We both have good jobs, a roof over our heads, minimal debt, & our own cars. We’re lucky to be able to afford to do most of the things we want to do. 
  • Our health. N & I are both quite healthy people. That seems rare these days. 
I’m sure I could go on about the many other things I’m grateful for, but these are my big four. 
Happy Thanksgiving!

Family Weekend

My dad’s birthday fell on Family Day this year so we’d planned to head out to the lake for the weekend for some skiing & hanging out with the fam. Unfortunately, N injured his ankle in soccer the weekend before, so skiing was no longer an option for him. We decided to head out anyway & enjoy a relaxing weekend with my parents.

My parents still ended up skiing, while we stayed back at the house. I love being out at the lake. It’s relaxing & beautiful. My parents designed the house themselves & it’s one of the best layouts I know. Columbia Lake itself is also gorgeous. The Rockies run down one side of the lake & the Purcells the other. It’s one of my favourite spots. 

We spent most of our time eating, hanging out in the hot tub, enjoying craft brews, reading, & playing board games. Not a bad weekend if you ask me.

Sunday night we celebrated Dad’s birthday. Mom had picked up a sparkling rose from the Winery hosting out wedding this summer while she was out there, so we started things off sampling that. It was delicious. 
Mom is also the master of cold appetizers. She put out a beautiful assortment of cheeses (including blue cheese with Branston pickle), crackers, olives, pickles, & dips. It’s one of my favourite ways to start a meal. 

We sat around chatting until we’d polished almost everything off, when we sat down for the main event. Mom had made coq au vin, a delicious slow cooked, chicken recipe from France. I followed it up with a new desert recipe from Practical Paleo: a frozen berry tart.

It was a simple, delicious weekend to celebrate another year.

Happy Birthday Dad.

noël

The new year is in full swing. We’re back at work & I’m finally getting back into our routines. Even though I had plenty of time to edit photos last week, they sat on my camera until tonight when I realized it was about time I posted about Christmas!

I don’t have a whole lot to say. We had a lovely Christmas; we got crazy spoiled as always. N & I spent Christmas Eve until Boxing Day at hiss parents house this year: eating everything from lobster & chowder to turkey & stuffing. We went skating, taught his siblings a new board game, & watched lots of movies.

After N finished work on Boxing Day we loaded up the car & headed out to Columbia Valley. We stayed overnight with a friend of mine in Invermere so we could ski Panorama in the morning. I always enjoy staying in Invermere overnight; the drive up to Panorama is so quick. Not to mention we were served a lovely breakfast & coffee before hitting the slopes. My girlfriend has this great new place near the lake & we weren’t in a huge rush to get up the mountain so we took our time catching up over eggs, bacon, & hashbrowns.

The skiing itself was pretty good – nothing spectacular, but nothing to complain about for December either. That night we headed out to my parents’ place further down the valley. My dad make his incredible pizza & we exchanged gifts with my family. The rest of the weekend was spent enjoying the country: skating, relaxing, reading, & enjoying each other’s company.

It was great to spend time with each of our families & get away from the city for a bit. It always feels like a bit of a holiday even if it’s just for a couple days.

Happy New Year all!

December in Instagram

It’s been a bit of a slower month for blog posts, but I think overall I’ve been more consistent than ever before. It wasn’t a real resolution to post more, but I did mention that it was a goal for this year and I think I can successfully check that one off. My other resolutions were a little more hit or mess, but I’ll talk about that more when I make this years’.

Like all years, this one has its ups and downs. When I think back though, there were so many great moments. It’s hard to trump our engagement, but we also made some great memories in the states, spent lots of time out at the lake and in the mountains, and ate our way around the city. I can’t complain. Thanks, 2013. I think 2014 should be a pretty great year too. We’re off to Mexico at the end of January, we’re getting married this summer, and we’ve got plans for a pretty fantastic honeymoon. I hope you all can look back on 2013 with a smile and I wish you all the joy and happiness for this brand new year. Here’s a little recap of what December looked like for us.

1. N participated in Movember again this year. It was his best mustache showing to date, but he still looked like a bit of a creep at the end.
2. N’s family dog, Lucky, celebrated his 15th birthday. They let him lick the icing off a cupcake. When you’re 105, you get to do whatever you want.
3. KC & I at the hockey game. It was me & the boys that night. Things got rowdy, as all hockey games should.
4. Fitness at work continued. We did a squat challenge this month & sometimes these types of ridiculous outfits make an appearance. Always need to be prepared for squats.
5. My company Christmas party was a blast. We had the best time and took a lot of great photobooth photos.
6. The snow this December has been pretty great so far. We spent the weekend before Christmas in Banff- skiing, drinking, snowshoeing, and hitting the hot springs.
7. We stayed in Calgary for Christmas this year and spent the holidays with N’s family at their house. His mom’s fireplace is just adorable.
8. Skating on Christmas Day with family and friends.
9. We skied Panorama after Christmas and then headed out to spend some time with my family in the Columbia Valley. It was beautiful!

See you in 2014, blog friends! Happy New Year!

a proposal

Kelowna was the final leg of our vacation. We’d planned to meet up with some friends and run the inaugural Kelowna Wine Country Half Marathon on September 7th.

When we’d first signed up for the half marathon, N’s parents, his sister, and her boyfriend booked flights out to Kelowna for that weekend. At the time, I didn’t think much of it since N’s brother also lives in Kelowna. N explained that they thought it would be nice to spend the weekend together as a family vacation of sorts.

Race morning, I woke up not feeling so great. I’m sure the ridiculous amount of vacation type food had nothing at all to do with it. Planning to run a half marathon after 10 days of wonderfully rich food and drinks was not my most brilliant plan. We’d eaten more wheat in that week than we probably had all year. I’m sorry, tummy. You were understandably upset.

Nonetheless, we grabbed breakfast in the hotel, met up with our friends, and got in line for the bus to the start line. It was a long wait to get on the bus, but we all nervously chatted and jumped around to keep warm. We were the only veteran half marathoners in the group. Their nervous anticipation reminded me of my own before I ran Montreal. We finally got on a bus and made it to the start line with all the other runners. It was by far the smallest race I’ve ever run but our friends’ excitement, coupled with that of it being the inaugural race, was contagious.

It was the perfect day for a half marathon too – overcast and cool with a little rain. N and I generally run together for the first 12 km and then he takes off on his own. He’s a faster runner than I am, but I’m better at pacing so I reign him in and he reminds me that it’s supposed to be fun, at least that morning. I had some serious doubts that I was going to finish that race. My stomach was angry and my legs didn’t feel ready for the constant pounding from the huge amount of downhill in the race. In hindsight, he was probably pretty worried with all my talk of not finishing.

At 12 km, I was still going though and we parted ways. He reminded me that I didn’t need to run a best time and also mentioned that I should look for his family near the finish. He said his sister had made signs and his mom would have a surprise for us at the end. I was doubtful that his sister would be awake and slightly confused about what his mom would have for us, but I still didn’t think anything was going on.

As soon as he left me, things got much worse for my stomach. I started worrying that I really wasn’t going to finish the race and desperately needed to find a washroom. Of course, there were none to be found. I had switched to from 20 min of running and 1 minute of walking to 10 minutes of running. Every time I took a walk break, people encouraged me to keep going. All the people cheering along the half marathon routes are doing such an incredible thing for the runners. I’ve often wondered if I’d have made it through a lot of my races if it weren’t for them!

At 15 km, I gave in to my upset tummy and made a pit stop. It was definitely something I should have done earlier since I felt so much better afterwards and the rest of the race was a lot of fun. It finished along the boardwalk so for the final kilometer I could hear the announcer naming the finishers. I heard one of our friends finish and got pretty excited, considerably picking up my pace. I still hadn’t seen anyone from N’s family as I approached the finish line though.

A couple hundred meters out, someone unexpected caught my eye, waving a sign with my name on it – my mom. I had no idea she was going to be there so I waved excitedly and then took off for the finish line as fast as I could. She was standing right before the finish line so I didn’t notice much else besides the key to the end of my run.

As soon as I crossed I saw N standing at the finish with a rose. He gave it to me and probably said a few other things. I was pretty out of it from my final all out spring and exhaustion from the race itself so I don’t remember exactly what either of us said. I do remember, however, that he asked me if I’d seen the signs. I started telling him that I’d seen my mom holding a sign and had no idea she was going to be there.

N: “So you didn’t see the other signs?”

A: “The other signs? No? What?”

N: “Well you need to see the other signs.”

So I turn around and our families are holding signs that read: Alanna, will you marry me?

As I turned back around he got down on one knee and pulled out a ring. I can’t honestly remember what he said besides “will you marry me?”. I’m told I said yes pretty quickly afterwards. Tears, hugs, and laughter followed (on top of a lot of people asking if they could take our picture). It was pretty surreal.

It turns out both our families had been in on it the whole time. My parents and brother stayed in BC after our friend’s wedding so they could be a part of the proposal and N’s family had planned this weekend trip around it. He’d picked out the ring months earlier and had everything planned out so it would be a total surprise. I’m so impressed that not even a whisper got back to me or any of my friends.

I couldn’t have asked for a more thoughful proposal. He totally nailed it. While we waited for another friend to finish, we re-enacted the proposal so the rest of the family could get photos. That’s the photo the wound up on instagram and facebook a few hours later.

There was also a wine tasting for the runners so once everyone had finished up the race, we headed over to that. We enjoyed a few samples of wine, took some more pictures, and then headed back to our room to clean up. Both of our families met up at Earl’s for lunch and some drinks. It was nice to talk some more and hear stories from the few months previous: N and his sister picking out the ring, his mom keeping it at their house, N secretly driving out to my parents’ house to ask their permission. There were a lot of great stories.

The rest of the weekend involved a lot of great food with N’s family and lots of drinks and toasts and typical Kelowna things. We spent Saturday night celebrating with far too many drinks at Roses’ with his siblings and their boyfriend/girlfriend. It was an amazing weekend.



September in Instagram

September was a crazy month – a crazy, awesome, incredible month. We started it off on vacation. I’ve written a little bit about that so far (there’s so much more to come! It was a fabulous trip.) and a little bit about N’s beautiful proposal (more on that later too), but here’s a little Instagram recap that includes a little more than just the beginning of the month. There was more to September than vacations and proposals (I think…I’m still living in those moments a bit!

1. Cannon Beach. I know I already blogged about it, but we just loved it so much.
2. Pok Pok’s famous wings. If you’re ever in Portland, eat the wings (but maybe not the green papaya salad. I loved it, but it kicked N in the mouth) and try a whiskey sour. Game changers.
3. Seattle and the famous Pike Place Market.
4. The recreation of N’s proposal, signs and all.
5. Checking out wineries on Lake Okanagan. Quail’s Gate is my favourite!
6. N heading to his first day of work, looking good!
7. Celebrating the marriage of two close friends (and taking awkward engagement photos cause we’re kind of awkward people).
8. Friday night drinks and toasts with both our families. Wonderful to all get together! It was a lovely weekend full of family.
9. We played tourist in our own city and went up the Calgary Tower for #doorsopenyyc. (It was my first time!) I’m not going to lie, it’s a bit scary standing on that glass bottomed floor and looking down for the first time!

Life is busy and wonderful. We’re getting into the swing of this whole planning a wedding thing (or at least I am…), Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and fall has officially arrived. Bring it on October!

the little things

I know it’s a cliche. & not even an uncommon one at that. But sometimes it really is the little things that make all the difference in the world.

Sometimes I get so wrapped up in life: work, the gym, meal plans, cooking, cleaning, sleeping… & repeat. Sometimes I forget to stop for a second. I took a break for a second today and stepped back from all the craziness I’m creating for myself and was reminded of one of those little things that I love:

good coffee, in a nice space, with a book.

It doesn’t even really have to be a good book. It can be a mediocre book. It does have to be a good cup of coffee, however.

I needed a little break from the office today so I stepped over to one of my favourite restaurants for a coffee. They also happen to brew one of my favourites: Phil & Sebastian. As I admired their La Marzocco (I have an obsession) and stopped thinking about workweddingvenuesfitnessdinnercleaningsleeping for a minute, I remembered how important taking time out is to me.

I sat down for a few minutes with my cappuccino and read. It was a nice escape. I don’t know what it is about books in coffee shops for me, but I love it. Maybe it reminds me of being a student. Or maybe my love for frequenting coffee shops to read is why I have fond memories of being a student. Either way, it got me thinking about some of the other little things that make me smile. Here’s a little list for you on this lovely Thursday:

– dancing with N
– the first bite of a perfectly cooked piece of red meat
– well designed, aesthetically pleasing spaces
– random emoji-filled text messages
– dance parties with my girlfriends
– when a really great song comes on my iPod as I’m walking to work
– the first glimpse of Columbia Lake as you crest the top of the hill on highway 93
– photos of friends, food, travel (let’s be honest here: everything)
– the first day it’s warm enough to go bare legged after months of winter
– standing at the top of a mountain
– the few minutes before we get out of bed in the morning
– freshly washed and waxed Rula (my subarula!)
– a perfectly cut piece of salmon sashimi
– dancing with puppies
– driving a winding road with no one in front of me
– flip flop tan lines

What are some of the things that make you smile?

June in Instagram

I have been seriously neglecting this blog lately. I’ve taken so many photos and planned so many posts, but it just hasn’t come together for me when it comes to actually sitting and blogging. I’m even a few days behind on my Instagram recap here! 
Calgary was recently hit with some major flooding. It was unbelievable. I never thought it was possible for so much of the city to end up underwater. Luckily, we live up a huge hill (as do most of our friends) so we were virtually unaffected. Instead we volunteered our time to the families who were and I’m so proud of our city for coming together in such awesome ways. 
I have some flood pictures so let’s move on to the recap. I’m sure we’ll be talking about the Alberta Flood for a long time, but there were so many other great things that happened in June so I’m going to focus on those for now. 

1. We kicked off the month by climbing Ha Ling Peak. It was great start to the hiking season and I really hope it continues. There are so many great hikes in the area and sometimes there’s really nothing better than standing on top of mountain.
2. Fiasco Gelato opened a pop-up in the Bridgeland Market near our place. They gave out free scoops, so of course we had to check it out.
3. N and I celebrated 4 years together this month. We had a fantastic dinner at Cucina. I can’t say enough good things about this restaurant or about this amazing guy I’m with. Happy Anniversary!
4. Stumptown Coffee has opened up at Luke’s Drug Mart. It’s a stone’s throw from our house so it’s quickly becoming a Saturday ritual to stop in for some coffee and a treat.
5. The burpee challenge went on throughout June. I don’t love burpees. No one loves burpees. I hope I at least inspired some people to move a little bit more.
6. The flood. The photos are unreal, the damage is heartbreaking, the way the city came together is so inspiring. #CalgaryStrong.
7. I’ve been hanging out at Mission Fitness once a week, doing CrossFit. We did rope climbs last week and I loved it. (Obviously!)
8. Flood party with my Liver. She’s pretty freaking awesome. We played an #calgaryflooddrinkinggame cuz we’re…terrible people.
9. We spent the long weekend out at the lake with my parents. Lots of sun, boating, and wake boarding. I can’t get enough of it and am definitely disappointed to be back.

Alright, summer. Let’s do this. I’m more than ready for July, Stampede, my birthday, and all the awesome that comes with my favourite month!

Summer To-Do List

Columbia Lake
Considering yesterday Calgary and its surrounding communities and cities declared a state of emergency due to flooding from heavy rainfall, it’s hard to believe summer has arrived today. Inspired by a couple other bloggers and the first day of one of my favourite seasons (who am I kidding, I love them all!), I put together a little summer to-do list of some of the things I’d like to do. 
1. Enjoy cocktails with friends. I want to host a cocktail party but I envision this being outside and that’s not an option for us due to our lack of outdoor space. Elsie of A Beautiful Mess has been posting a ton of amazing sounding cocktail recipes that I am dying to try! 
2. Take advantage of the mountains. Go hiking and backpacking. The rockies are too close not to take advantage of!
3. Experience more Calgary events. Street Festivals, Food Truck Events, Fun Runs…Take advantage of some of the fun local things happening around Calgary. Play tourist at home a little bit. 
4. Take a road trip. I can’t wait for our trip to Vancouver, Portland, Seattle, and Kelowna. I love a good road trip and I love visiting new cities. 
5. Attend an outdoor concert. I bought tickets for Folk Fest. I’ve heard great things about it so it’s about time I did a full day at Prince’s Island. 
6. Nail a handstand. I’ve been practicing and I’m determined to nail a decent handstand. The summer I was nine, I had a similar goal, but with cartwheels. What I’m saying is that I’m an nine-year-old at heart.
7. Get away with the girls. Boys will be boys, so let’s leave them at home and have our own fun. I’m thinking some lake time is in order. Maybe we can kill two birds with one stone and make up some cocktails too!
8. Rock a flip flop tan and some freckles. Nothing says summer to me better than sunkissed skin and tan lines from my havaianas. Come on Calgary, bring on the sunshine!
9. Bike to work as much as possible! We live in the perfect neighbourhood to take advantage of biking to work. It’s such a great way to start the day. 
10. Spend time outside daily. Summer always flies by. I’ll save my hermitting for winter, when darkness sets in before I leave work and the ground is frozen for months. 

Enjoy the first day of summer! What do you plan to do this season?
Nashville North
Wedding Shower
Wakeboarding

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