• October 29, 2014

    Canadian Adventure (Part 2)

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    I knew hiking Stawamus Chief would be difficult, but I was so unprepared for the hundred million stairs that were involved! I never thought about stairs being part of a hike up a mountain… but they sure were.

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    All of the work and pushing ourselves and trying SO HARD to make it, totally paid off in the end. I mean, look at this view:

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    The hike down was excruciating and we ended up sleeping at a hotel that night instead of camping again as originally planned… but this was an experience that will stay with me forever! It was a really proud moment for me when we reached the top and I saw just how far I’d come and how much I can accomplish if I push hard enough.

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    After a good nights rest, we made our way down into Vancouver. First stop, Stanley Park!

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    After forcing ourselves to walk the park, we managed to find our B&B. Such a cute place! And the people there were so friendly, it was great. I feel like I might be a B&B kind of person… who knew?! Anyway, on to Granville Island! We got pretty lost trying to find this place, but once we did it was really cool! Lots of shops with local food, people, and art. I really enjoyed the relaxing, explorative pace. The only down side for me was that most of the ready-to-eat food was not gluten free… I ended up with some iffy sushi.  In retrospect, it probably would have been a better choice to grab some fresh fruit.

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    Our last day in Vancouver, and our last day in Canada, we decided to visit the Queen Elizabeth Park on a whim. I am so glad we had that whim! This park was beautiful and peaceful. Unlike Stanley Park, this was free and seemed to be a favorite of the local people. There were lots of people walking and enjoying the peacefulness of such a big park right in the middle of a busy city. If you plan on visiting Vancouver someday and only have time for one park… choose the Queen Elizabeth!

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    From there on out, we crossed back into the US (again, much easier than I thought) and camped near Seattle. I really liked the components of city and country in our vacation because too much of either makes me a little crazy. I am SO not a city girl and hate feeling lost and claustrophobic with so many freaking people around, so taking a break from all that and finding the peaceful places in the midst of chaos was beautiful.

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    All in all, this was a great vacation for my hubby and me. We celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary and learned a lot about ourselves and each other. British Columbia is a beautiful place and we only scratched the surface! I think we’ll try to go back again someday and really take some more time to see the sights and enjoy one place instead of moving so quickly through different places.

    I hope you enjoyed seeing my vacation photos and are inspired to take a trip or spend some time discovering new things for yourself!

  • October 22, 2014

    Canadian Adventure (Part 1)

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    Earlier this month I mentioned that hubby and I escaped to Canada for a week back in September. This was our first really real vacation, so it was pretty exciting! It was also a ton of work and preparation… but worth it in the end!

    We drove for most of our trip, so the first thing we decided to do is get the heck out of our house right after work and camp for a night. It was so relaxing and such a great way to start out even if we didn’t get very far out of town.

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    I don’t have any pictures for the next couple of days because it was mostly driving and not very interesting in terms of photography. We did stop to say happy birthday to a dear friend and then attended the wedding of another dear friend… so that was fantastic! It is such a rare thing for us to be able to travel and really catch up with friends and family who live far away.

    The day after the wedding, we took a ferry over to Victoria, Canada. This was a little frightening for me, but we actually really enjoyed it after we got our sea legs! *grin* The water and the view was so beautiful!

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    Landing in Victoria and officially crossing the border was easier than I had expected, but navigating (and driving – hello Kilometers!) in another country was challenging! After finding our hotel, we decided to go back downtown to explore a little.

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    There are lots of little shops and things to see there, but everything seemed to close up around 6 or 7, so we didn’t get to do much. No matter, we still had to find dinner!  We decided to eat at the Bard and Banker. Housed in a historic building that was a bank for most of it’s years, this was by far my favorite meal of the trip! They were incredibly accommodating when I asked for gluten free options. The setting is absolutely beautiful as well, and towards the end of our meal there was live music. After eating, we found the local ghost tour and spent the evening learning local history and being scared. They had a horrible story about the man who put the Bard in the Bard and Banker, so I was glad to have already eaten there rather than waiting until after to have dinner!

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    The following day, we didn’t have much time before needing to be on our way to catch the ferry to the mainland, so we had to be choosy about what to do. We decided to check out the Royal British Columbia Museum. They had a visiting exhibit on the Vikings which was incredible (no pictures allowed, though, sorry)! They also have permanent exhibits featuring native peoples and natural history.

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    After a lengthy ferry ride, we landed on the mainland and headed north to Squamish where we set up camp in the dark (whoops! The campground we originally planned to stay at was totally full when we arrived, so we had to drive around a bit to find another place for the night).

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    All of that was totally worth it, though, because the next day we made our way up the Stawamus Chief mountain!

    You’ll have to check in next week, though, to hear the rest of the story!

     

  • October 15, 2014

    Computer Fix

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    Oh. My. Gosh. This has been a looooong time coming. It’s hard to replace things like computers when you can “make due” for a while. And when you are broke. Computers are expensive, ya’ll!

    Alas, it finally had to happen! The noisy fan, the jacked up mouse and keyboard, and the ridiculous Frankenstein style inner workings were just too much to bear. I never knew when my computer would start up or when it would tell me to take a hike. It’s really hard to get anything done when nothing works properly.

    I know a lot of you probably don’t give a rat’s fart about the inner workings of computers. As long as you can use Facebook and Pinterest, the rest isn’t really that important.  I get it.  However, I have a husband who really cares.  This is nice for me, because he usually takes care of the computer issues and fixes things for me.  But, then, I thought… “What if I didn’t have him to help me fix this?” and that bothered me a little. Getting computers fixed is as commonplace now as getting your car worked on and we all know how sketchy car mechanics can be when a clueless girl walks into the shop with something not working right and no idea where to start. It’s easy to get suckered into replacing things that aren’t necessary, to pay a lot extra for labor, and to get something worked on without any actual work happening when you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    It doesn’t have to be that way.

    Today, I want to share with you the basics of what makes your computer run and what the parts do. I know it may not seem super fun, but its good information to know! After all, you don’t want to be like Jen:

    (Also, please watch The IT Crowd. It is amazing. *grin*)

    First, to be completely clear about what you’re going to read: this is not meant to be a tutorial or “how-to” for fixing or building your own computer. There is a lot more that goes into it than what I can share in one post! Not all pieces and parts are compatible with each other and it is easy to make mistakes and/or damage things if you don’t know what you’re doing.  Okay?

    Okay!

    I think it is safe to say that most people will have heard most of these terms, but don’t necessarily have any idea what each part actually does.  So, let’s start your computer education there:

    RAM

    This is RAM. RAM is your computers short term memory. Basically, it stores information while it is being processed or being used. A lot of times people will suggest that you get more RAM to speed up your computer. Sometimes this works – sometimes not so much – It just depends on what the bottleneck of your speed problem is.

     

    CPU

    Next up is the CPU (aka. Processor). The CPU handles all of the processes you ask your computer to complete – it runs your programs so that you can see and understand the code on the back end that makes it work.

     

    Power-Supply

    The PSU (aka. Power Supply) is just that… POWER. This is the piece that connects the other components to the electricity coming from whatever wall you plugged your computer into.

     

    Hard-DriveHard-Drive-(2)

    This next piece is the hard drive. Basically, this is the long term memory that stores your files and program information.

     

    Motherboard

    The motherboard is the piece of this puzzle that all the other parts plug into and communicate through. It is also the piece that you typically plug your audio, Ethernet, and USB devices into from the back.

     

    Video-Card

    Last but not least is the video card. Video cards are not always required – some motherboards have on board video to run monitors, so a separate part is not necessary. However, if you are a gamer, you’ll want a separate video card to support the heavy graphics and design of most newer games. Mine is an older model, but for what I do, it works fine.

    Put them all together aaaaaand…

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    Voila!  A beautiful, working computer!

  • October 8, 2014

    Spaghetti Squash

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    Autumn is one of my favorite things in the whole wide world.  I love the cooler weather, the leaves changing colors, and the harvest.  I also love getting back in the kitchen and cooking more often.  Squash of all different varieties speaks most clearly of fall to me, and one of my favorite squashes is the spaghetti squash.  There are so many different ways to make it and all of them are pretty easy!

    So, today, I want to share with you my favorite way to prepare a spaghetti squash.  I hope you love it as much as I do!

    Spaghetti Squash

    By Erin Published: October 8, 2014

      Autumn is one of my favorite things in the whole wide world.  I love the cooler weather, the leaves changing colors, and the …

      Ingredients

      Instructions

      1. IngredientsGather ingredients.
      2. Spaghetti-SquashHeat oven to 375 Degrees. Poke holes in all side of squash with a fork and place on baking sheet. Cook for 1 hour 20 minutes, turning over half way through.
      3. In the mean time, gather other ingredients. If desired, chop veggies into bite sized pieces; sauté for 2-3 minutes.
      4. Scrape-Out-the-SquashWhen squash is done, remove from oven and chop in half lengthwise. Let cool for a few minutes, and then scrape insides out with a fork. It should look like long strings of translucent, yellow spaghetti. Transfer the squash strings to a large mixing bowl.
      5. Almost-DoneDrizzle olive oil and herbs/spices on squash and mix well. Add veggies and cheese. Serve hot.

       

      Pro tips:

      A lot of recipes for spaghetti squash want you to cut it in half before cooking it.  You can totally do that if you want.  I just prefer to cut it after because it’s so much softer and easier for me.  The squash will, however, be hot… so be careful!  I like to use my handy welding gloves to prevent burns while also allowing for a good grip.

      If you want some protein with your squash, cook up some ground sausage and add at the same time as the veggies.  You can also just make a spaghetti sauce and use the noodles in place of pasta.  Spaghetti squash is very forgiving… be bold and try new combinations!

    • October 1, 2014

      Back in the Groove!

      Do you ever feel like life is in control of you instead of the other way around?  August and September ganged up on me this year and kicked me around.  They took my lunch money and left me crying on the ground in the fetal position.

      But then October came along and she was so sweet.  She picked me up off the ground and told me everything will be ok.  I think I love October even more now.

      *grin*

      So, I’m back!  I’m feeling rejuvenated, energetic, and creative again!

      To catch you up a little, though, I want to share a little about the past few weeks and where I am as far as moving forward.  Summer is hectic, always, but this time around felt even crazier:

      My computer finally bit the dust.  There is no more jerry-rigging it to limp along like we have been.  My hubby is actually ordering replacement parts as we speak.  Hopefully it will be back up and running soon so I can get back to posting pictures and everything else this month!  I might even work in a post about the process to fix it and give a glimpse into the inner-workings of computers.  Because I can.

      We planned our first real vacation.  In the 6 years hubby and I have been married, we’ve done a lot of short trips and long visits to see family… but never really a vacation for just the two of us.  So, we’re super smart and decided to plan a trip to Canada.  ZOMG…. So much work!  Leaving the country, even if it is only Canada, is really hard!  Plus, we’re not great at navigating cities, so that was super fun.  Not complaining… it was just a lot of work!  :)  I will share more about our experiences with that soon, so keep an eye out for it!

      My work life went a little haywire in September as well.  I think I mentioned that I’ve been training a new girl in the office, so that was sort of wrapping up before I left.  Training does, however, take a tremendous amount of energy no matter what stage you’re in.  Especially for in introvert perfectionist who prefers to work solo 100% more than with groups.  Add to that the processes of planning ahead for being gone a week and then coming back to catch up on whatever didn’t get done ahead of time.  My job is not one where someone else can just take over when I’m gone… the work has to be done by me; unless the whole thing gets reassigned to someone else, which isn’t practical at all for one week.

      Also in preparation for our trip, we had to practice camping.  I know, it sounds ridiculous, right?  Hubby and I grew up camping with our families, but we’ve never gone on our own.  For the trip, we planned to camp a few nights, but we really had to try it a few times first a little closer to home.  Definitely not complaining about this!  I love camping!  The only drawback was the pressure to do it right now and in the middle of other things we had to do.  Honestly, it was really good for us to take the time away from the crazy to force some relaxing time and I’m so glad we did!  If we hadn’t, I probably would have had a total breakdown and given up on everything altogether.

      Beyond that was the normal summer stuff like yard work, keeping up the garden, and so on.  Remember when I said I’m a perfectionist?  Well, that carries over to home too!  The yard, house, and everything else have to be as close to perfect as possible.

      So, when all of this gets to be too much and too overwhelming, it’s the blog that usually ends up as the first casualty.  It’s the first thing to be compromised on and pushed to the side.  Lame, I know, but that’s how it has been.  With the help of a new computer and my supportive husband, though, I believe things are going to get back to normal and maybe even get better here pretty soon!

      Thank you for your patience and understanding about my absence and sporadic-ness!