'Tis the Season { Christmas 2017 }

Our Christmas tree was a little more subdued this year but Christmas was no less magic. It's such a beautiful time of year and the kids really make it. They are so excited for what's to come and they really bring that joy to the season.

Jade's Workshop { Christmas 2017 }

This year I volunteered to do the Ward Christmas party. I'd had an idea bouncing around in my head since my good friend Nicky did this amazing carnival activity in Salt Ash Branch years ago. I had wanted to do something similar but Christmas themed and here was my big chance.

Capturing the Moment

We really had such a wonderful summer with Mum and Dad with us. They gave us the motivation to make the most of each day and explore so much of Nova Scotia that we had wanted to see. I really feel like we didn't waste a moment. Down time was spent in the best way possible, swimming, talking, reading, knitting, puzzle making, playing. And all the the go time was just so diverse and wonderful, every day bought us something new and different. Things we had never seen before made all the more special by seeing it together. 

Scarecrows and Apples

Fall in Nova Scotia is such a beautiful time of year. It's a wonderful time to go for drives and appreciate the changing leaves as well as visit small towns that don't let the beauty of the season pass unmarked. One such town is Mahone Bay, famed for it's much painted view of three churches and home to the Scarecrow Festival. 

Giving Thanks for the Bounty of Fall

Fall is definitely my favourite season. I think I love it so much because it is the most vibrant season and you never see or experience anything like it at home. The days are sunny with that crisp air ushering in the change of the season marked by the beauty of the leaves, all shades of red, orange and yellow. This year we picked apples, with apple pie in mind and visited Dill's Giant Pumpkin farm to marvel at the pumpkins and pick a few of our own to carve for Halloween.

Lunenburg and the Bluenose

Lunenburg, the historic colourful town set on a hill is one of the gems of Nova Scotia and home to the Bluenose. September weather is hit or miss and we chose a chilly day to embark on a sea voyage, but we bundled up and joined Jack and Deborah for a sail on the iconic ship. Dad got to try out his op shop Canada Goose jacket which seemed to do the trick and off we went. The best part is being able to see the view of Lunenburg from the water with all of it's colourful buildings and being out in that fresh sea air.

A Tribute to the Best ( Italian Getaway Part 4 }

There was so much to love. It really was a near perfect holiday. We love you, Ciao Italy! Til next time.

Favourite activities

Wanderings through streets of Rome ❤️
Pantheon ❤️
Campo di fiori ❤️
Sat on the Spanish Steps, walked to the top for a great view of Rome ❤️
Walk to colosseum / wander the exhibits and levels ❤️

The Cinque Terre { Italian Getaway Part 2 }

After a bit of a rush to make our train it was nice to sit back and relax; reading, drawing and knitting as the train wound us along the coast to our destination. Arriving in the Cinque Terre is really breathtaking. These incredible little towns are literally perched on cliff faces by the sea. The terrain in mountainous and exploring means lots of meandering which suited us perfectly.

When in Rome { Italian Getaway Part 1 }

Before I go to a big famous city I'm always a little nervous that navigating it is going to be tricky. I think this comes from having lived most of my life in Sydney and even working in the city and still feeling a bit lost when I am in there. So I'm always pleasantly surprised when it's actually easy as pie and right away I feel at home. This was my immediate experience in Rome and I fell in love immediately. And what's not to love? The cobblestoned streets lead you through narrow lanes that open into wide squares holding the architectural treasures of Rome. You can't help but feel you've just stumbled across them. The same goes with gelato and food, every corner holds some new delicious wonder and while your eyes and mouth feast on all there is to see and eat, you experience a little piece of heaven.

Finley's Time to Shine

Finley was very excited about the prospect of school, though his excitement was hindered somewhat by his nervousness as the day drew closer. He isn't quite sure with new experiences but as he has grown he has learnt that being brave has lots of benefits, mainly that you end up having a great time! And soon enough in every experience Finley is the most confident kid there is. 

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island is definitely our favourite place to visit in the summer and it was exciting to take Mum and Dad over for their own experience. There is so much to see and do there, we have hardly scratched the surface ourselves, so we planned some new things for all of us and some island must do's too.

Travellers Trails

Peggy's Cove is the number one tourist destination in Nova Scotia and the most photographed lighthouse in the world. The reason for it's fame isn't only the picturesque lighthouse standing atop a beautiful rock formation but also the little fishing community it is home to, so quintessentially maritimes, and the story of how the village got it's name - an orphaned little girl named Peggy who the village took in.  

Advocate Harbour

My wonderful friend Blanche is also my unpaid Nova Scotia travel guide and she had long been telling me to visit Advocate Harbour and stay at a little campground she loves. My parents coming seemed the perfect opportunity to go and with it only two hours away we went for the weekend and booked one night where she suggested. It was fun to be exploring somewhere totally new to all of us and it turned out for me to be one of the highlights of my whole time in Nova Scotia.

30 + 3

I love birthdays, I don't mind getting older at all and the cake, presents and fun make the milestone worthwhile in my mind! August is a very busy month in everyone's lives in Nova Scotia. With only two and a half months of true summer, people pack in their holidays, family time and schedules are very busy. We were so busy ourselves with Mum and Dad here I hadn't given it all much thought but Levi created an absolutely beautiful birthday to remember for me.

Blueberry Crush

Last year we discovered a fantastic blueberry farm only 30 minutes from our house with blueberries for only $2 a pound. So we headed back this year only to discover it was an incredible season for blueberries and they were not only in abundance but they were huge and delicious! With my berry picking experience thus far, I have to say that they are the easiest and most fun to pick. You look for big ripe clumps of berries and brush them off the stalks. This year it was so easy and in no time at all we had a huge haul.

Cape Breton

Cape Breton is one of the true gems of Nova Scotia. We had visited with Jen and Stew last summer (read here) and we were excited to take Mum and Dad to share in it's beauty too. It's about a 4 hour drive from Halifax and with car packed to the brim and a kayak on top we took off for a long weekend. This was the first of many road trips together and we had the energy and excitement that comes with that. Some singing and question from my 'get to know your spouse' book gave us amble entertainment for the drive up and we arrived in Baddeck to our little cottage on the lake with time to spare to enjoy the afternoon.

Maud Lewis and her Little House

Maud Lewis is an iconic Nova Scotia folk artist who perfectly captures the feel of the Maritimes. There is so much about her story that endears her. She lived in the tiny house above, that is on display in it's entirety in the Nova Scotia Art Gallery, and painted despite crippling childhood arthritis and quite a tragic life. She is a little tiny ray of sunshine and despite her troubles was said to always be cheerful and positive. This is all reflected in her art that once sold for 10 cents a picture and now goes for closer to $20 000. 

Tall Ships and Markets { Mum & Dad Visit }

Mum and Dad came in the perfect year. The stars aligned on lots of great events and sites with the 150th Anniversary of Canada including the Tall Ships Festival which only comes to Halifax once every four years. Our first experience seeing them was in Halifax and then later we saw a few again in Louisbourg on our weekend visit up there.

Splendors of the Valley

The Annapolis Valley is one of the true gems of Nova Scotia. It hugs the Bay of Fundy and right along it there are beautiful sites to see and awesome things to do. I have been lucky enough (as tour guide) to see so much of it. Levi and I have hiked the Cape Split Trail, we have camped with the Quists at Blomidon, we have discovered the best pasta outside of Italy at an unsuspecting little eatery and we have apple and berry picked the finest. 

Otters and Reindeer and Moose, Oh My

One of our little summer adventures took us to the Shubenacadie Wildlife in search of their moose, Sable Island horses and Shubenacadie Steve, their resident groundhog. We had a beautiful day and a lovely roam around discovering all sorts of fun and wonderful creatures. Steve wasn't coming out of his hole, nor would the moose stand up! But we found our favourites in the dear, the white wolves and especially the otters which were so playful and fun to watch. We even got to see a reindeer which was a real highlight and some very sleepy bears.

Welcome to Halifax, Nova Scotia

I'm writing this entry months after Mum and Dad have left and returned home but I'm putting it at the beginning of my posts on their visit because the pictures and the thoughts really symbolize just how anticipated their visit was. We could not wait for them to arrive and when they did we had such a fantastic time together. We did and saw so much and in between we had experiences that bought us all together. There really is nothing like having the people you love with you. 

{ Memories } Heaven on Earth

These pictures evoke the most beautiful memories. HAPPINESS. I don't think our hearts will ever truly leave the sleepy town of Port Stephens. It was chance really that we ended up there in the first place and discovered that life in the slow lane is really living. It totally changed us and impacts how we live our life now, even though we are so far away. 

The Elusive Icebergs of Newfoundland

Just before we moved to Canada a good friend of ours Jean gave us some DVD's she had found called trains across Canada. We were excited to watch them and get a bit more a feel for the place we would be spending the next few years of our life. They had an awesome segment on the Martimes and one of the most striking places was Newfoundland, which interestingly you can't actually get to by train ( ? ) but where you can kayak around icebergs. Immediately Levi and I both said 'we have to do that!' and onto the bucket list it went.

Two Reunions and a Wedding { Utah }

One of the huge blessings of being in Nova Scotia is our proximity to the states and in our time here thus far I've been really lucky to take a few trips to see old friends and attend events I would have otherwise missed. This was the case with Utah. My cousin Tiana was having her American wedding reception and the stars aligned (ie. I have an amazing husband who supports such ideas) for me to take a weekend from my life in Nova Scotia and attend on my own. This was also an opportunity to see my first and most beloved missionary companion Paige Wilson, who I haven't seen for 10 years. I was beyond excited to see her and it was if no time had passed between us. 

Princess Prim, Queen of the Trolls, Turns Two

Our sweet girl turned two this week and to celebrate we had a little party, Troll style - all tulle and rainbows. Primrose woke from her afternoon nap to find some of her favourite little buddies and her most admiring adults all in wait for the birthday girl. In true nature she was just thrilled to have them all there and keen to get into the fun. She had her dress on that I made for the occasion and eagerly put her troll headband on. She is such a happy girl. Seeing her face when her little cake come out was incredible, she was genuinely amazed by the whole process and loving every second of it. She loved the cake, a sugar tooth on this one for sure and then was straight into the presents. We gave her a doll and pram and one of those disappearing milk bottles which she loved but the immediate favourite was a light up wand from her pal Easton. She played the rest of the afternoon away, with breaks for snacks in between, and could be heard to say 'Happy Day', in lieu of 'Happy Birthday' all the day long. 

Finley takes the Blue Nose

The Blue Nose Marathon is a Nova Scotia pass time. It feels like everyone is there! It's the first event that really says, 'Winter is over, you can come outside now'. And that's the type of thing we all really need. This year we signed up to take Finley on the 2km course. He did a little training but was unsure of what to expect as up to this point he had thought he was the best runner in the world and nothing short of coming first would do. His eyes were definitely opened by the masses of people participating and not being quite sure of the distance, he wasn't really feeling it. The assurance of a medal at the end propelled him along and as quick as it had begun it as over and we all felt victorious medals in hand. 

Two Cheeky Bunnies

We have had an absolutely wonderful Easter weekend. I love Easter, next to Christmas it is my favourite holiday with all it's joy and symbolism in tribute to our Saviour, Jesus Christ. With Spring finally beginning in Nova Scotia the concept of new life and hope feels all the more real. Our little family's traditions have formed over the years and have culminating into lots of delicious food and fun for the entire weekend. Carrot cake, hot cross buns, lamb and salads were made and shared with our new friends the Spears family and we had lots of time to enjoy leftovers all weekend between play time with the kids. 

Count to Five

Finley is five! And five means big things. It means school is fast approaching, that Finley is starting to read and write, that he gets to have his room rearranged and that he now has a big boys bike. Finley has taken turning five very seriously. Of his own accord he is attempting to stop sucking his fingers when he goes to bed, to say to his own prayers each night, to not complain and to do his best at listening. And he is doing great! 

Snow = Fun

We had a big snowfall this past week. Levi was away for most of it so the shoveling and hard work was left to me, missionaries and our friend Josh who came and saved the day. Along with the hard work they made this little snow cave for the kids which they loved and went through over and over and over again. Once Levi was back we turned the front snow mound into a little toboggan hill and all had great fun going down and falling off.