Category Archives: Holidays

Pine Vista Resort

Last week Evan and I went on a leeettle romantic getaway to Pine Vista Resort, a small-ish cottage resort on Stoney Lake, just outside of Lakefield. We had been planning it for a while, as a kind of anniversary/Christmas getaway, and we looked into a bunch of different Ontario resorts. We chose this one because it had fantastic reviews, it was a great deal, and Pine Vista offers a ton of activities in the winter – cross country skiing, snowshoeing, skating (and skating parties!), and even a toboggan hill. So for the entire month of December I was excited to get my winter adventure on.


Our winter has been quite mild so far (until this week), and I almost started this sentence with “Unfortunately” but I don’t think a mild winter is unfortunate at all because last year was freezing and we got an insane amount of snow and it was annoying. However, it is unfortunate that the ONE TIME I want there to be snow there is none (also no snow for Christmas and that was sad). The day before Evan and I left for our getaway we had given up on tobogganing and cross country skiing and snowshoeing, and were resigned to the fact that we would instead be going on muddy nature walks. Hurrah.

But even without the snow, Pine Vista was pretty awesome. Definitely more family-oriented, but I saw a few other pairs of lovers lovering around as well. I also liked that it was not fancy and quite rustic. It felt like a cottage. Each accommodation is set up like your own little cabin, and we had a full kitchen:


Which was fantastic because it was just after Christmas and we brought all our turkey dinner leftovers.

One bedroom with a double and single bed…


A second bedroom with a queen bed…


A living room with a wood burning fireplace…


A huge deck with a view of the lake/other cottages (and a barbecue!)…


And two full bathrooms, one with a jacuzzi tub and shower, and the other with just a stand-up shower.

The amenities around the resort included an indoor hot tub…


Outdoor hot tub…


A games room! (air hockey is the best)


And lakeside tetherball!


Exciting! We took advantage and did all the things. Also included in our romantic getaway package was a bottle of wine.


Which was much appreciated.

Since there was no snow, the staff had to get creative with the holiday activities. When we arrived they were hosting a “winter” festival (I shouldn’t have quotes, it did become extremely cold our second day), with a fire for weenie and marshmallow roasting…


And syrup drizzled onto ice to make taffee. Also archery.


Which looked like a good time, but Evan and I did not partake as the kids looked like they were loving it and we didn’t want to take it over.

Our first night there the lake wasn’t even entirely frozen.



But it froze overnight!


I was really excited about this, because if we couldn’t go tobogganing and snowshoeing and cross country skiing, at least we could maybe go skating. The lake rink wasn’t ready yet though, so we decided to wait until the next day.

Also included in our getaway package was a ride on a horse drawn carriage.


Usually it is a horse drawn sleigh, but again the no snow. The beautiful horses took us on a 45 minute adventure along the lake.



It was really cold at that point, so very important to bundle up.


Afterwards the resort staff invited us inside for hot chocolate and homemade chocolate chip cookies, which were delicious. I ate at least five of them.


We went on our nature walk, which thankfully was not even muddy because it got cold.




Guess the animal tracks! We are thinking raccoon maybe?




That tree had a sign beside it that said it was marked by the Ministry of Natural Resources as the perfect example of a healthy pine tree because it was so tall and straight. It did look like a perfect tree.

We spent both nights in our little cabin by the fire.


Lots of wine and lots of reading.


So that was pretty amazing.

And on our last day we went skating!


I was so, so excited about this. You may remember on our Niagara Falls getaway last year my plans of romantic skating were foiled because the rink was closed, and when I saw the state of the ice when we first arrived I thought that was going to be the case again. But nope! I was a little unsteady at first, but it all came back to me. For Evan though, this was his first time on skates in 20 years, so he was a bit apprehensive…


But with a little coaching he was all good, and surprisingly steady.


I just held his hands and skated backwards, pulling him around, which I am pretty sure would have looked hilarious to anyone watching.

The scenery was beautiful.



I love that we were able to go skating. I miss living on a lake.

As for eats, we brought all of our food with us and made pretty spectacular breakfasts…


And for dinner one night we had a giant soft bun filled with leftover turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy.

We also went into town for dinner one night at Trip Advisor’s #1 restaurant in Lakefield: Jack’s Family Restaurant!


We looked up the reviews beforehand and everyone seemed to recommend the seafood chowder, so both Evan and I started with that.


Definitely good. For my main I ordered the pan-fried haddock with Caesar salad and rice.


My fish was amazing.

They also made homemade pies so I got a slice of lemon meringue to go.

Because I cannot resist homemade lemon meringue pie. Ever. It didn’t compare to my mom’s, but it was still tasty.

So all in all, a very good time and I’m so glad we did it. It was nice to get away from everything and just relax for a few days.


Highly recommend Pine Vista resort if you are looking for a cottage resort to stay at in Ontario. It would be amazing in the summer, and we are definitely going back in the winter when there is snow for activities.


Experiences of 2014


I stayed in last night for the first New Year’s Eve since probably high school. There were some parties going on (which I much prefer to bars) but this holiday has been so busy I really just wanted to leisure. Evan and I finally saw Mockingjay in theatres (I loved it), and then came home and hung out. It was great.

I’ll spare you the details of my New Years resolutions because they’re not that exciting. Typical saving money, clean up my diet, commit to the gym, all that good stuff. But one secret resolution I had for 2014 was to make travel and experiences a priority. For years traveling was on the back burner for me because I felt like I always had more pressing things I needed to save my money for. School, house buying, rent, car, etc. There was always something. I regret this. I very much regret not traveling when I was younger. I could have saved for it while also in school, but I didn’t. I didn’t make it a priority. However, the travel bug finally bit me in 2013 starting with Dawn’s wedding in Jamaica, and I am happy to report that 2014 was my year best traveled.

Last year for my year in review I did a Top Memories of 2013, so in keeping with my theme, here are my top experiences of 2014.

Favourite Experiences of 2014

I finally saw the Lion King!


Jack Johnson concert with Evan.


Adventures in Cuba with Evan, Brotherman, Kelly, and her family.





Also getting goosed by a dolphin while in Cuba…


Our trip out west to visit my mom and Eric.


Including Canada Day with my family on Shuswap Lake…


Doing all the mountain things in Banff



And meeting up with Lisa and Crystal for Stampede shenanigans in Calgary






Our girls’ road trip to Boston for a Jays game!


And being total Boston tourists for a day…




My wonderful Nana turned 100. 100 years young!!!




So much cheers to her.

Lakeside reunions with my childhood friend Melissa, and our moms.



Camping at the beautiful Bruce Peninsula (and having Bolt with us for this experience!)





Brotherman and Kelly get hitched!



Emily’s last sail before the veil in Montreal.






With my coworkers and their spouses.


Emily and I on the Steven and Chris show


Redoing the kitchen!

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And a romantic getaway with Evan at Pine Vista resort, which just happened this week so I haven’t blogged about it yet, but it was the perfect ending to my year.


I honestly did not realize how great my year was until I went looking back through my blog to write this. This is truly why I love blogging. My experiences are very important to me and I really love to share them. Thank you so much for reading and letting me share my shenanigans with you. More to come in 2015!

And if your 2014 wasn’t great, may your 2015 be a million times better. We’ve all been there with the crap years. Don’t even get me started on 2012.

Christmas Things

I am super late over here but I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and if you don’t celebrate, I hope you had a wonderful week/weekend. I’ve been MIA for the last week or so because I’ve only been home for one night since Christmas Eve. Tis the season of busy. Tis the season of eating also. I forgot how gross I feel every. single. year. by December 31st.


You know, when you get home from all the Christmas eating events and take off your pants…


It’s alright, tomorrow is a new year!!! (and Evan and I are doing the Whole 30, but more on that later.)

Anyway, on Christmas Eve eve (as in the 23rd) my bestie Lisa and her sister Heather flew in from Calgary, so I picked those ladies up from the airport and we had a night in at the condo.

Lisa gave Evan a jar of bacon jam (!!!) she had made, and we ate the entire jar that evening with goat cheese on crackers.


We kind of hogged it and poor Evan didn’t get very much of his gift, but it was really, really amazing and it was gone far too quickly.

Heather’s best friend Matt came to the sleepover as well, so it was a party of best friends. We took selfies…


I promise my hair is not black, I don’t know what’s going on here…


drank wine, watched Christmas Vacation on the big screen…


And somehow ended up having catch-up time until 2:30am. Evan went to bed significantly earlier than us, because let’s face it, he cannot compete with two pairs of best friends who haven’t seen each other in months. We were sitting next to each other and literally screaming at each other because we were just so excited that we couldn’t get our words out fast enough. At one point from bed, Evan texted me just the mute speaker emoticon.


ie: shut up.

Which was so funny at the time that it probably made us even louder. I’m surprised our neighbours didn’t complain. But, all good.

Christmas Eve morning after the girls and Matt left, Evan and I headed to Belleville to spend Christmas with Evan’s nana, mom and Brotherman and Kelly. Fun family Christmas time!


Pile o’ presents


Christmas lovers


Festive brothers


Festive table

We had a delicious Christmas dinner with turkey, stuffing, perogies, veggie things and CURRY!!! So much curry!


Lentils, shrimp curry, meatball curry, and coconut rice. My family has always done the turkey dinner for Christmas and I absolutely love it, but I am not minding the addition of curry to the holidays. Not at all. Evan’s nana’s is perfecto.

On Boxing Day the four of us headed to Evan’s dad and Loulou’s for Christmas dinner round 2.


Also very delicious. No I am still not sick of turkey. I love it. But I am glad that my parents moved Christmas a week and half early or we would be eating turkey dinners for three days in a row and I feel like my pants would go on strike.

After dinner Evan and I headed outside to see the animals, specifically the donkey and horses.


I have mentioned this before but I just love that donkey, Zeke. I feel like we have a special relationship. If he sees me coming he immediately trots over to me to say hi.



And he will usually nuzzle his face against me, which is cute. Sometimes we will gaze into each other’s eyes.

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Seriously, I want this donkey. Our condo is pretty big, I bet he could live here… Winnie likes.


Donkey selfie

Side note: Can you believe it is Boxing Day and I am outside in Ontario in a shirt and a scarf?! I can’t believe how mild it was. And I really missed snow for Christmas.

Kashtin the horse seemed to be jealous of my alone time with the donkey… He also seemed to take quite a liking to me…

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What a cheeky horse he is. Apparently he likes to lick people. I liked it. My favourite is that he was looking at Evan/the camera in all those pictures.

After the donkey snuggling and the horse licking we went back inside for dessert. I need to show you Loulou’s yule log.


Now that is talent. What a delicious yule log.

It was a very good Christmas and such a fun time hanging out with Evan’s family. I am thankful to all of them for including me in their shenanigans. The only thing that could have made Christmas better is snow!

The Sweater Party

Evan and I hosted our very first party in the condo on Saturday night. I have lived here for over a year and some of my friends have never seen my place before (most of my friends do not live in the city and are about an hour away). So that needed to be rectified. And finally our kitchen is ready to be shown off.


No Christmas holiday is complete without a tacky sweater party, and I haven’t actually been invited to another one this year, so that was our party theme. Or Santa suit, as you can see Evan is wearing in the above photo…

Evan picked me up a sweater cookie-cutter a few weeks ago, so I switched up my usual shortbread cookies (my Nana’s recipe) this year and made little sweaters for the occasion.



Totally got the decoration idea from Pinterest, I can’t take all the credit there. But yes I did make the buttercream icing (the icing is THE BEST) and then all the colours, and yes it sure was time consuming and that was my Friday night and a few hours on Saturday.

Brotherman had mentioned to Evan that these cookies were all he wanted for Christmas, so while I was doing the sweater thing I decided to make some special for Brotherman. He really loves his Toronto Maple Leafs so…


Little Leafs’ jerseys! He was pretty excited when I gave him those.

A bunch of friends were bringing food to the party, but we started with a pretty decent spread.


I love hanging my Christmas cards on a string – such an easy way to display them. My mom used to do this every year when I was a kid.

I don’t know how well you can see in the above picture, but we made ravioli pasta skewers like we first had on Canada Day at my brother’s girlfriend’s mom’s place. And Evan also made bacon-wrapped cheddar smokies.


Meaty and delicious.

Not a bad dessert table either…


Onto the sweaters…

I made mine with a hot glue gun (and Evan’s help), and I was pretty proud of it.


And a bow with jingly bells on the back…


My friends enjoyed it, as I knew they would.

Evan’s Santa suit cost a total of $3 from the Dollar Store.


That was a good find right there.

Our guests looked pretty great as well.


Nothing says Christmas like a captain’s hat and Daniel Boone’s cap.

Corey and Emily were gorgeous in their matching Christmas vests…


Dawn and Mark had matching festive balls.


You can’t tell in this picture, but Dawn’s apron said “How To Keep Your Husband” and included much helpful advice from the 1950s such as Don’t Nag, Have Dinner Ready, Don’t Gossip On The Phone, etc. Thanks for that.

My friend Hannah and her friend Francine in their ugly sweaters spruced up with bows.


And Sarah, Joanna and Sherrie in their beautiful sweaters.


And a photobomb from Dawn and Emily…

Sarah’s sweater was from Northern Reflections, which I had pegged immediately. I had a very similar one in Grade 7.

There were intense games of air hockey…


And we did a Secret Santa gift exchange…



But not your typical Secret Santa… I asked everyone to wrap something they already owned and didn’t want, then we drew numbers from 1-12 (for everyone there), number 12 (me) got to open a gift first, then number 11…but number 11 had the option to trade for my gift or keep the one they opened, and so on. So by the time number 1 opened their gift, they could steal whatever they wanted.

This is what I opened.


Thank you Dawn and Mark. In case you are having a hard time making out my wonderful gifts, I received Depends, a cheesy poem about love, Pez, a 2nd place ribbon and an honourable mention ribbon, Mr Bean’s holiday, a teeth wind-up toy (which is broken), a generic Dion poster that isn’t even Maple Leafs branded, and informative pamphlets on elder abuse, drug facts for young people, and a teenage survival handbook. Very useful. No one stole this, so lucky me got to keep it all!

Here we have a Cosmo magazine from 2010 and expired (brown) Ketchup…


So some pretty high quality gifts for sure.

Sherrie opened cranberry juice and a bottle of Grey Goose and we were all like “What?! Grey Goose! Fancy! That’s a good gift!”


But then we noticed that the Grey Goose was less than half full.

The game was hilarious and the stealing really took it up a notch. We were all dying laughing. I think it might have to become a Christmas tradition. Party at our house! A bunch of people couldn’t make it, which was sad, but it was still such a good night.



I can’t believe Christmas is in two days! I am officially on holidays until January 5th and I feel so thankful for such a break!!! I am lucky though and have always worked somewhere that gave employees two weeks off at Christmas. It is much appreciated. I could not be more excited for the holidays.

Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

Christmas Came Early!

Hello and welcome to THE BUSIEST WEEK OF THE YEAR! In my opinion anyway. I always find this week to be the busiest every year. Trying to wrap up all the work things before the holidays, squeezing in the weeknight holiday parties (our condo’s Christmas party was last night and that was a hilarious evening filled with bad karaoke but good cheese), holiday baking, and trying to get your own house hostable for parties = busy times. And I don’t even have real responsibilities like children.

But Christmas really did come early this year. After the painting party on Saturday, Evan and I got ready and headed to my dad and Mona’s for our annual Christmas dinner. Just a week and a half early. My dad and Mona are going to Florida for the holidays so we decided to bump up our family celebration.


It worked out well having it early. We also have Christmas dinners happening with Evan’s family on Christmas and Boxing Day, so I personally enjoy spreading out the turkey love. So do my pants. I have a bit of time to recover before round 2 and then round 3.


My dad made us all drinks when we arrived. He had quite the Caesar bar going on.


I love that vodka clamato deliciousness.

Ritson was in his festive gear…


Santa wasn’t quite staying upright, but he looked like he was having a good ride.

And the kids made a fort in the mound of presents.


I miss being a kid so much sometimes. And sometimes I feel like I would rather hang out with kids than adults.

The traditional order of activities at my family’s holiday gathering each year is drinks + catch-up – dinner – presents – dessert. Dinner was amazing.


Yes, mashed potato volcano always.

And that was before I added a giant piece of ham that covered everything on my plate (and by the way Mona, Evan and I were talking afterwards how that might have been the best ham we’ve ever had). God I love Christmas dinner so much. I wonder if I would burn out on it if I ate it every day. I don’t know, but if I was on death row I’m pretty sure that’s what I would request as my last meal.

Mona is a big fan of me being safe while I am out at night, so last year she got me a sneaky siren that attached to my purse and I could pull if I was being harassed (never had to use it, touch wood). This year, she stepped it up:


A megaphone. A real deal, loud megaphone, complete with a siren. Even better than that little one we were taking around with us in Boston. This may be the best gift I have ever received. I am very excited to try it out (I mean out somewhere, I have been trying it out at home on Evan and Winnie all week, they like it).

Speaking of Evan, he got some really fabulous gifts for the kitchen. His gifts were mostly related to cooking which is PERFECT for him and he genuinely loved them. But I thought it was funny that Evan gets all the kitchen gifts and I get fun things like megaphones. One of his awesome presents was this wonderful breakfast sandwich maker.


I’m pretty sure everyone was jealous of it. We actually tried it out on Sunday morning…




Perfect. It works better than expected. If you’re looking for a last minute gift for someone I recommend that thing for sure. Say goodbye to boring breakfasts!

But back to Christmas. Can you tell my dad’s favourite team?


Is it the Maple Leafs?!

He’s pretty easy to buy for. I told him he needs to bust out that giant hand while he is watching the game alone in his basement. He loves his Habs.

My stepbrother’s girlfriend Leslie and I with our oranges…


I do not know why…

And dessert:


Evan’s grandma’s apple cake made by Evan, cupcakes made my Mona’s daughter, fudge made by Leslie, ice cream. All good things.

We had a such a great night. I am thankful that my dad and Mona are so welcoming to Evan, and I always really enjoy hanging with Mona’s family. Mona’s daughter’s husband (so my step brother in law I guess?) makes me laugh pretty hard with his straight-faced dry humour.

Sunday was Emily and Corey’s holiday open house, or the jingle and mingle. And here we have the best thing about the holidays:


The food tables. Oh lord the food tables. Emily is notorious for her ridiculous food spreads, and I feel like she even stepped it up for the holidays. I planted myself in front of that table and went to town. And that picture was taken before the Oriental Party Pack from M&M’s made an appearance.

Emily and Corey’s doberman Ace was looking cute in his Christmas jammies…


Onesies look good on everyone.

Evan did not come with me because that man is busy. Poor guy. I feel like the busiest bitch who ever busied this week, and he seems to have a million more things to do than I do. But after I got home from the party we headed out to the majestic forest, also known as the Ikea Christmas tree lot, to FINALLY get our Christmas tree!

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Finally! I feel like we are the last ones to get a tree! I really wanted to go out and cut our own as we did last year, but time was not on our side. The trees all looked the same at Ikea, but I feel like we picked a good one.


And then we busted out the decorations and discovered that we were not very organized in putting them away last year…


That was a bit of a tangled mess. Like iPhone headphones times a million. But we got it.


All is well. And I finally feel ready for the holidays to happen.

Thanksgiving Weekend

This weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving! I have said it before, but I like when our Thanksgiving falls. There is ample time to recover from all the eating before we do it all over again at Christmas.

Evan and I picked up Brotherman and Kelly on Saturday morning and headed to Belleville to celebrate turkey day with their mom and nana. On the way we passed the Big Apple, which I now know is awesome since our stop there on the way to Emily’s bachelorette party in Montreal, so we decided to make a quick detour for pies. You cannot have Thanksgiving without pies. The Big Apple has quite the pie operation going on…


Where the magic happens

So many pies!


I wanted to get them all, but we just went with the traditional pumpkin and apple. And also a few apple fritters that we could eat immediately, which actually may have been the best apple fritter I have ever had.

No visit to the Big Apple is complete without a photo in front of said Big Apple. Brotherman and Kelly first…


And then Evan and I. We had to take a couple before we got a nice one because Evan found a bulrush.


And he proceeded to harass me with it.


Until I snapped the end off.


We also went over to the petting zoo area to see the animals, and this beautiful lama caught our eye.


Those are quite the teeth. I thought she was cute though, in her own way.

Eventually we arrived at the Nana’s and had a happy reunion with the family. Evan’s mom’s friend brought a few witch hats for us to wear.


I wonder if she is trying to tell us something…

Don’t worry, the guys weren’t left out of the Halloween hat party.


We hung out for a few hours, chatting and watching the House Hunters International marathon (which makes me feel like I’m doing life wrong), and then it was time for Thanksgiving dinner. Which was amazing. Curry is the tradition at the Nana’s house (you may remember from last year), so she made us all lentils (which Evan also makes pretty often), meatball curry, yellow rice, curried potatoes, greens, ham, and cachumba (tomatoes and onions in vinegar, I think it is an Indian salad and it is very nice when accompanying curry).


I was insanely full after that but I went back for seconds of just the meatball curry because I couldn’t get enough of it.  I like this curry tradition.

The Nana made apple crisp for dessert, so no need to break out our pie. It was REALLY good and I was just dying of fullness afterwards. We all just lazed around and were in bed by 9pm. But it was a very fun evening with Evan’s family.


I am sad his mom and nana are a two hour drive from us, because I would like to see them more often. They make me laugh.

On Sunday we all had breakfast together before heading to Evan’s dad’s place to celebrate with that side of their family. That is where the animals are, you may remember. So we spent the afternoon doing the animal visitation rounds.

Remember Peanut, the little piglet?


Well, she has grown.


I got her from all sides so you can fully appreciate her beauty.



She is large and in charge. And she enjoys oinking constantly.

This is Phil.


Phil is a turkey, but Phil is not for eating! He is a pet turkey. I don’t think I have ever taken a moment before to truly appreciate how interesting-looking turkeys are…


So knobby and bumpy and weird looking. His brain looks like it is on the outside of his head.

Phil spends his time stalking the guineafowl. Or maybe it is the gang of guineas who stalk him…


You will occasionally see the guineas running by if you are inside and happen to glance out the window, and then Phil will be lumbering after them like a big T Rex.

This is Raisin.


She looks kind of grumpy (and like a muppet) but I think she just suffers from resting bitchface because she is actually a very cuddly chicken.

And then there is this chicken…


Apparently. That’s what I was told it was.


They also look angry but are quite nice. Those poor guys had their beaks clipped before they arrived at Evan’s dad and Loulou’s, to deter them from pecking other animals.

This is my favourite donkey Zeke!


I just love him. He is so nice. We like to tell each other secrets.


There are also two horses.


She really wanted in a picture with us.


After the animal fest it was dinner time. Another great Thanksgiving meal happening over here… All the turkey things!


I always forget how much I love stuffing. It’s probably good I only eat it a few times a year though, because when it happens I really appreciate it.

I was again full to the point of bursting, so we went back outside for a while before dessert, which was homemade pumpkin pie.


This was very good pumpkin pie. I don’t even usually like pumpkin pie. Well that’s not true, I like all pie but my order of pie preference is lemon merengue – banana cream – pecan – any kind of fruit – pumpkin. But that pie may have bumped pumpkin up to number two (nothing will ever, ever beat my mom’s lemon merengue pie).

We headed back Sunday night and were home just in time for the Walking Dead, which I was on the edge of my seat for the entire time. Perched on the back of my seat may be more accurate. It was awesome and I was happy with how everything turned out. Yesterday we did a bunch of cleaning and stuff around the house, Evan made ham and split pea soup from leftover ham (OMG so good!), and we actually went to the movies for the first time in about a year to see Gone Girl. I loved it. I thought they did such a good job keeping it close to the book, and the casting was even better than I imagined. Evan really liked it also.

So a very good long weekend. I feel very thankful for this guy:


And these two:

And their families for letting me crash their dinners. And all the animals (which I do enjoy visiting, but I have to admit I’m glad they’re not actually mine).

I hope you Canadians had a great weekend filled with all the family and all the food and all the friends! I hope you had that even if you are not Canadian.

I love eating holidays!