The Most Wonderful Season…to tap into my old soul.

December 1st means I officially have to go ahead from Matt to begin embracing the holiday season. We’ve got some fantastic traditions that involved decorating, music and eating.

Last year, while in Malaysia, I bought this book and read the whole thing Christmas night. IT. IS. AWESOME! It has everything that a holiday book needs: Britishness, snow, a quaint town, tea, mince pies and in this case…knitting! I mean the start of the book says, pour yourself a Baileys and enjoy the book. Come On, you don’t have to ask twice. *snap* Baileys in hand.

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So, since it was the long weekend and all, I tucked into this book as soon as the festivities began. I spent the weekend drinking tea, reading, snacking and crocheting. Yeah I know…everyone else is out celebrating National Day and I’m crocheting and drinking tea, but look what I made!

Shout out to my Great Grandma (GG) who used to knit and crochet ornaments. Her angels looked similar to this one, albeit slightly less strangled (I had to improvise since I lost my tapestry needle).

Later this week…mince pies!

National Day (I’m back!)

Hi Everyone! Remember me? The person who is in charge of keeping up this blog? Here I am. The last post was about our little rock climbing trip…and to be fair…that was one of our last long weekends. (Yeah yeah…teachers have it good! Canadians, you’ve had Thanksgiving and Remembrance Day long weekends!) I’ve also just trudged through an 8 week online class. But, excuses aside, I’m happy that you have checked back and not given up!

This weekend is National Day! Happy 45th Birthday UAE. We’ve seen many cars decked out with flags, window pictures etc. It is also not uncommon to see jets with color streams flying over. So what did we do to celebrate? RELAX! This long weekend has been long awaited.

Prior to the long weekend, our school puts on a celebration, so I thought I’d share some highlights of that day:

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I posted a similar picture last year. I just love the falcon traditions. This guys name…Hunter. (Shhh! I know I’wearing the same clothes as last year…I only have so much red and green!)

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One of my students brought these. She said: “Whew, I’m tired! I worked all night on decorating these cupcakes!” So sweet! And delicious!

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Another student brought these. There is a KitKat factory in Dubai, and they released these “limited edition” KitKats. Collect all 4!

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Seriously cool though right?

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People really go all out! This is the UAE Flag.

Ras Al Khaimah

Our school year started off quite easily this year. We had two weeks with the students, then a whole week off for Eid. I have to say, since we just got back to the UAE, we weren’t super keen on jetting off again, so we planned a little staycation. The staycation consisted of one weekend in Ras Al Khaimah, one night in Dubai, several nights of relaxing and three nights of board games.

In other news, we have officially been to all seven emirates. Actually, we went to all seven last year, we just didn’t realize that we had driven through the two smallest ones on the way to Ras Al Khaimah (RAK).

RAK is the mountainous region of the UAE. Our dragon boat coach set our group up with a weekend in RAK consisting of rock climbing and canyoning with Challenging Adventures. They have a base camp with tents, and pool and the works. Since it is still summer, they set us up with an Air Conditioned room where eight of us crashed, but some of our group did sleep outside.

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Some members of our dragon boat team.

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My first attempt. Matt made it to the top of this one.

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Using the butt-then-feet method to shimmy myself up the crevice. Matt and I both made it to the top of this one!

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Almost to the top of the crevice.

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Canyoning. We hiked up. In the spots where we were right along the end, we used carabiners to hook into the mountain. 

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Once we made it to the top, we rappel down.  

I would highly recommend trying out the outdoor rock climbing. We both enjoyed it.

500 Miles (More like 5000)

Since this summer was our first full summer back in Canada we had a lot of things we wanted to see and do: music festivals, cabins, hiking, weddings etc. Couple the list with our newest goal of seeing a handful of Canada’s largest roadside attractions and you get this map!

Although it was less than 5000 miles it was quite a lot! I tried to calculate the exact amount, but got tired of using maps:)

Vacancy

We loved having two sets of wonderful guests visit last year. So I’ve decided to put out an all call. This could be yours for free! Come visit us!

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The Hiking Inukshuk

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We have done a few hiking trips in Jasper now, and the hiking inukshuk has become a symbol of the hike. As you meander along the trails, little inukshuks mark the way when the trail is hard to see. When you spot the inukshuks your heart is warmed with the thought: Yes! We’re still going the right way.

We can only assume the inukshuks have been built by fellow hikers, so once we even returned the favor by rebuilding a crucial fallen inukshuk in Fryatt Valley.

As a side note, how much did you love reading the word inukshuk 7 times in this post. If you are not from the North, or are not well versed in your Arctic landmark knowledge read up on the “real”Inukshuks. They’re pretty cool!

Fresh Air and Blue Skies

Hi Readers! I’m back. After a summer long blogging hiatus, we are back in Abu Dhabi. I took some blogging time off to collect some unforgettable summer memories to share with you. Without further ado, I present The Rocky Mountains.

A hiking trip was on the must do list in Canada, and it did not disappoint! It has been three years since we’ve been to the mountains. We looked forward to peace and quiet, a cold morning and of course…the hiking terrain. This was the first hike that we took the camera on, and boy did they turn out great. Part of me loves the feeling that only people who hike for three days get to see the nearly untouched and unseen landscape, but with pictures like these, it only seems fair to share.

Shout out to the photographer extraordinaire…Matthew

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I call this the Cliff of Insanity. (Princess Bride anyone?)

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Snow!!!

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In all of our travels so far, nowhere has beat the blue skies of Western Canada. Never take them for granted!

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The terrain on this first 10km of trail was very diverse. This section of shale was a killer both up and down!

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The Heat…

As an Albertan, It’s only appropriate that I post about the weather. It’s what we do. People keep saying that this spring has been much cooler than usual. To some extent I believe them, because it really doesn’t seem as hot as last June when we visited, or last August, but I think we are in full swing now…even Facebook warned me that it would be hot today!

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If you are wondering about the “Widespread Dust” we haven’t had a full fledged sand storm yet, but there have been a few very windy/dusty days.

I just had to chuckle. Never in my life did I think that 30 degrees would be the low! However, I’m sure people say the exact opposite about Edmonton! I guess you will never hear me say “Never in my life did I think -20 degrees would be the high!” The best of both worlds?

It will definitely reach 50 degrees sometime over the summer, but we will be enjoying the temperature Canadian summer when that happens!

Crafty!

Look what I made! All year I’ve been looking for a necklace holder, but I couldn’t find a single one!
So, I bought these wood pictures from Ikea and screwed in some hooks! I’m pretty tickled since this might be the most DIY thing I’ve ever done! Haha

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Jelly!

I’ve been working on a new hobby…habanero jelly. Have you ever spooned red pepper jelly over Boursin cheese and spread it on crackers? Well if not, you are missing out. Habanero jelly is just a spicier version of red pepper jelly. As this is my first preserving endeavor, it has been an adventure! I feel so professional reading tips, sterilizing everything and making notes each time to improve the recipe. However, there have been some hurdles…

  1. Pectin? Nowhere to be found. Thankfully, Matt’s mom brought some over from Canada. Next, how do you use pectin? It took me two tries…still not perfected.

In my first attempt at the recipe I may have added 4 to many whole habaneros, seeds included. It was face meltingly hot! But in the best way! I also didn’t add enough pectin, so it ended up being more of a syrup.

Well this didn’t deter me. Take two: got the pectin under control (maybe even too much.) And, I included no seeds in this batch. Low and behold…

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I still have some tweaking to do, but I have to say…I’m pretty tickled!