Candle Lake, Saskatchewan 2014

    Candle Lake, Saskatchewan :: A Harvest of Blessing

    I’m on a mission to go on five day/weekend/week trips throughout Saskatchewan this year. This is number five, you can also check out one, two, three and four.

    Our last camping trip of the summer was a short but sweet one. We had five nights booked at Candle Lake but due to weather we ended up only staying two of the nights. (But, I am so thankful we did, the first night back at home we had one of the loudest thunderstorms I’ve heard in a long time, that would have been crazy loud in our tent!)

    We went camping at Candle Lake for the first time last year and one of our main highlights was Waskateena Beach. I would highly recommend it for anyone with young children, the beach is shallow for so long, probably close to 300 feet, and then it was still only up to Raeca’s waist.

    This year they had little kits you could take out for 24 hours, we got out the rock kit which included a magnify glass and a rock book for us to discover the rocks around our site. Had we stayed longer we definitely would have gotten the bug kit out and possibly some others.

    The last morning was a bit chilly, we just walked along the beach and played in the sand a bit, somehow, even though she hardly went in the water, Rae got a leech between her toes. She said it was tickling her and cruised back to the campsite fairly quickly on her bike where we salted the little guy and got him off.

    All in all it was a great end to our camping season. While I would definitely go to Candle Lake again I’m looking forward to checking out some new-to-us lakes for next year.

    Did you go camping this year? 

    Candle Lake, Saskatchewan :: A Harvest of Blessing Candle Lake, Saskatchewan :: A Harvest of Blessing Candle Lake, Saskatchewan :: A Harvest of Blessing

    tuckered out on the first day, she fell asleep while we made supper

    Candle Lake, Saskatchewan :: A Harvest of Blessing

    sunsets at the lake are always so gorgeous

    Candle Lake, Saskatchewan :: A Harvest of Blessing Candle Lake, Saskatchewan :: A Harvest of Blessing Candle Lake, Saskatchewan :: A Harvest of Blessing

    if you follow me on Instagram you may have caught my typo on this photo which totally changed the meaning, whoops!

    Candle Lake, Saskatchewan :: A Harvest of Blessing Candle Lake, Saskatchewan :: A Harvest of Blessing Candle Lake, Saskatchewan :: A Harvest of Blessing Candle Lake, Saskatchewan :: A Harvest of Blessing Candle Lake, Saskatchewan :: A Harvest of Blessing Candle Lake, Saskatchewan :: A Harvest of Blessing Candle Lake, Saskatchewan :: A Harvest of Blessing Candle Lake, Saskatchewan :: A Harvest of Blessing Candle Lake, Saskatchewan :: A Harvest of Blessing Candle Lake, Saskatchewan :: A Harvest of Blessing Candle Lake, Saskatchewan :: A Harvest of Blessing Candle Lake, Saskatchewan :: A Harvest of Blessing Candle Lake, Saskatchewan :: A Harvest of Blessing

    the leech. I had to document it.


    Rowan’s Ravine | Last Mountain Lake, Saskatchewan

    I’m on a mission to go on five day/weekend/week trips throughout Saskatchewan this year.
    This is number four, you can also check out one, two and three.

    Last week we had such a great time camping. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, the lake was beautiful and our campsite had an amazing view of the sunset each evening. Oh, and there were almost zero mosquitoes. Can it really get any better than that?

    This was our first camping trip of the year (another one to come in a few weeks), we went with Jared’s parents and sister, they had a camper and we had our tent. We were there for nearly a week (five nights), and I thought it was the perfect amount of time to do everything that we wanted to.

    But, despite my best efforts, I was still unable to catch a fish. One evening we went out fishing and within 15 minutes this old man next to us caught two fish! So I started watching him out of the corner of my eye. I used the same hook as him, observed his cast, copied his speed when reeling in . . . but alas, it was not meant to be. He went to his campsite to eat fish and we went without.


    Another Day at the Lake | Waskesiu, Saskatchewan

    Last weekend we went to our third lake of the summer (only 99,997 more to go to hit up all the ones in the province), and I’m getting closer to completing #23 on my list of twenty-eight things.

    We went to the lake with Jared’s family to celebrate both of his sisters’ birthdays. The weather was not the greatest, it was warmn but extremely windy (a cold wind) but thankfully we were able to claim a gazebo in a sheltered area so we didn’t notice the wind except for a few gusts here and there.

    Jared and I call Waskesiu the Banff of Saskatchewan. It’s a touristy little town that is busy in the summer and pretty much shuts down in the winter.

    this huge wheat is only about 20 minutes from our house and I thought it would be hilarious to stop on the way to the lake to get a photo with my gluten freers and their nemesis.
    they didn’t think it was very funny.
    (also, now that I’ve started taking photos of random large things, I want to keep doing it)

    excuse the dots from my bug-ified windshield

    it was so windy she decided to use her dress as a sweater

    We arrived before the rest of the family so we walked around the town a little and checked out the Grey Owl Museum.

    A little Saskatchewan history for you: Grey Owl was born in September 1888 in England. His real name was Archibald Belaney and adopted the First Nations lifestyle as an adult. He became well known as a conservationist and author and shared about humans’ negative impact on the environment and animals. After his death many tried to discredit him when it was shared that he was not First Nations by blood, but the value of his work stood. Grey Owl wrote his three most popular books when he was living in a cabin not too far from Waskesiu Lake. (thanks to Wikipedia for that knowledge)

    I love that she has so many cousins to play with

    We’ve been to Waskesiu for three summers in a row now (last year and 2012 were with my extended family), it’s not a place we would choose to go to (remember, it’s touristy with lots of people and we are introverts), but it’s a nice place to come to with a group.

    Is there a place in your province/state that you return to year after year?


    A Day at the Lake | Martins Lake, Saskatchewan

    the drive: Petrofka Bridge over the North Saskatchewan River

    Friday was a day off for Jared and we decided to try and do some fishing (fun fact: I have never caught a fish, each year I hope this is the year I finally do). This was our second day trip of the summer (our first being the lighthouse at Cochin). When we got to the lake we realized all the docks were private, so there was no where for us to fish. Boo.

    So we drove a few more kilometers away to nearby Martins Lake (good thing Saskatchewan has 100,000 lakes!) and decided to just let Raeca play at the beach for awhile. She had a blast. It may not have been the day we were planning for but it was still a good one. Plus I think it was the first time our temperature reached into the 30’s (Celsius) this summer.

    we took a little detour and saw this beautiful church in Marcelin

    apparently a bear was sighted in the area, you know that always makes the time at the lake more exciting

    so this string thing actually moves, when I got home I discovered it’s actually a parasite called nematomorpha

    we stopped in at a service station/50’s dinner/antique collection so of course I had to take a bunch of photos

    What did you do on the weekend?

    Linking up with Oak+Oats.


    A Weekend in Edmonton

    An alternative title for this post was: the trip where I forgot to pack my toothbrush and my purse.

    Honestly, I’m the worst at packing. On different trips I’ve forgotten: deodorant, make up, my flat iron, phone charger and now my toothbrush and purse (writing that down it appears as though personal hygiene isn’t something I think about a lot, I promise I’m cleaner than it sounds!).


    Saskatchewan’s Lighthouse | Cochin, Saskatchewan

    For my birthday last week my wish was to go on a little day trip and see a place in Saskatchewan that I’d never been. I chose Cochin, to see Saskatchewan’s only lighthouse. If you know anything about Saskatchewan, you know we are a land locked province, so the idea of a lighthouse is kind of . . . pointless. This one was built in the village of Cochin as a tourist attraction, and while it is nowhere near the ocean, it is right between two lakes; Jackfish Lake and Murray Lake.

    We were lucky that last Wednesday was also really the first warm day we’ve had here all year and it was a beautiful drive out to Cochin.

    I’m excited to already be already accomplishing something off of my list of twenty-eight things!

    Photos are from my phone, Samsung Note 3 and camera, Canon 5D Mark II with the 35mm f/1.4 lens.

    Is there a local place around you that you’ve never been
    but would like to visit sometime?

    I’m linking up with Oak & Oats.


    Traveling and Getting Some Rest

    Two weeks ago we were so blessed to have the opportunity to spend a few days in Anaheim, California (actually, we were technically in Garden Grove but who has ever heard of that place? We were pretty much a block from Anaheim and a few blocks from Orange County, roll with me here, blame my ignorance on the fact that I live in a province almost void of people, case in point: California has a higher population than all of Canada, have you seen how much land we have up here for so few people?).

    I admit, we were on the fence on whether or not it was actually going to happen. A person feels kind of guilty going on a trip when you are trying to save thousands of dollars for an adoption but we decided to go anyway. Lucky for us Jared was going for a conference so his flight, food and the hotel were completely paid for, making it a much cheaper trip for us than it would normally be.

    Since we took the cheapest flights possible our travel time ended up being about 14 hours (we stopped in Minneapolis, then Portland then on to LAX). And then the same in reverse for the way home. Thankfully Raeca is such a good traveler (even when she threw up on one of the flights home, which ended up all over her and me).

    Jared had his conference each day and was busy pretty much from 8-5 so Raeca and I spent our mornings walking around the neighborhood and catching buses to do some shopping. Actually, it’s more like I walked and either I carried Raeca or pushed her in the stroller (no need for workouts on this trip). All the time outdoors wiped the kid right out and she had a nap each afternoon so I hung out quietly in the hotel (recovering from my earlier workout). One morning Raeca and I even got to met up with Amanda.

    In the evening we got to go out as a family. One night we met Kevin & Katie for supper (I’m going to do a separate post on my blogger meet ups), one evening we went to Disneyland, and the other two were spent doing a little shopping.

    It was low key but it turns out the trip was exactly the break that we needed. The weather was beautiful and rejuvenating. By the time we came home we felt so rested (mentally, that is).

    Here are a few photos from our time:

    Where is a restful destination for you?


    Seven Things to Think About When Becoming An Au Pair

    The above photo was taken at Lulworth Cove

    This fall marks the ten year anniversary from when I moved to England for a few months to be an au pair (just writing that is making me feel a little old).

    I made the move at the age of 18, just a few months out of high school, and while I am so glad I took the chance, there are some things I wish I would have thought through a little bit more (and some things I’ve heard from others), if you are one of those who are thinking about becoming an au pair abroad today I wanted to share a few things to think about before you make the move.

    Just to give you a little background on my story, I started looking into au pair jobs in the last few months of high school, the site I used then was GreatAuPair.com, which worked out well for me, but I haven’t used the site in 10 years so I can’t really attest to how it is now. At the time I just used the free version which meant I could set up my profile and if the family paid for the membership they could get my contact info.

    By the time June rolled around I had been contacted by a lovely family that lived in England, they had two little girls and the mom was injured in the line of duty (as a police officer) and was going to be starting up her own business from home. A huge bonus for me was that they were also Christians, which I thought would help the transition.

    Just a few weeks before I was set to leave they found out that if the mother started working she would no longer be able to receive her disability cheque and therefore would not be able to afford to have an au pair. Well, that changed things. They were still very awesome and said I was welcome to come out and live with them until I found another place to work (since I already had my ticket, and had even sold my car to purchase it).

    After arriving in the UK I ended up staying at their house for a little less than a week before getting in touch with another au pair who was originally going to work for this couple and then found a better offer on the south coast of England, bonus was she was also a Canadian and a Christian. So they helped me load up all my luggage and I hopped on a train down to the south coast of the country. The Canadian au pair met me at the train station and I got settled at my new home. The family we were working for had one son and now had a total of three au pairs.

    I’m going to stop my story there, there really is so much more to it, so if you are interested in hearing the entire story let me know and I can share it one day.

    Now that you have a little bit of background, here are a few things to think about when thinking about becoming an au pair, some of these I had thought of and others I hadn’t but wish I had:

    1. will the family pay for your flight out? my original host family was willing to pay for half of my ticket, and were gracious enough to hold up their end of the bargain even though I ended up not staying with them. I did front the money for the ticket and they gave me the money for half of it when I got out there (of course they wouldn’t want to pay for it before because they would want to make sure I actually came out).
    2. how much will you get paid? and how much does it matter to you? I didn’t get paid much as an au pair, it was the equivalent of about $85 a week, but it included my room and board as well as transportation. I didn’t become an au pair to make money but for the experience of living in another country and the chance to travel a bit.
    3. how much time will you be able to have off? if you are interested in travelling this is a good one to know, we only had the chance to go on two little getaways one to Scotland for a few days and one to London, but we did have the weekends off so we were able to take in local sights, we were fortunate to live only 45 minutes from Stonehenge and quite close to Bath as well, and of course there were also lots of local sites (like Lulworth Cove pictured above) and castle ruins to take in.
    4. what will all be required of you? usually au pairs do housework, cooking and childcare. I did those three as well as worked for their business (they were headhunters . . . not as exciting as it sounds, I just created a database of lawyers they could potentially contact and get them to work at different law offices).
    5. are there other au pairs around? I’m very gratefully the family I worked for had another Canadian au pair, I’m not sure what I would have done without her, it was nice to have someone to talk about Canadian things with. The family that I originally went out for told me there were some other au pairs in their area that I would be able to get together with, since I ended up not staying there that never happened, but definitely would have been nice to have that community.
    6. how does the visa process work? each country is so different with their visas, your host family should have an idea and be able to help you with this. I was able to use a working a working holiday visa for the UK.
    7. what access will I have to transportation? because I was just 18 when I was in England I couldn’t get an international drivers license without the insurance being crazy high. Thankfully the other Canadian au pair got hers since she was older. We lived in a pretty remote little village so we had a van we were able to drive, such a good thing, because there was no public transportation close to where we lived.

    There are tons more questions for you to ask your host family on how they operate their home but I think these are the major things to start with. If you like the answers to each of these questions then it would be time to ask those more in depth questions.

    Is it something you’ve considered before, if so, what’s stopped you from taking the plunge? Or, if you have been an au pair before I’d love to hear your experience!


    Candle Lake, Saskatchewan

    Last week went spent a few days up at Candle Lake (about a two hour drive north from where we live). We joined Jared’s parents, sister and brother-in-law and our nephew and two nieces and spent a couple days camping together.

    I hadn’t been at Candle since I was young, I’m pretty sure we stayed there for a night or two before my brother was born -so sometime before I turned seven. The cabin that we stayed in way back then is still standing and looks pretty run down but the lake itself is still beautiful.

    On Monday the weather was not very warm but nice enough for the kids to go in the lake and the beach we were at was great for kids because it was shallow for a long time and gave them lots of space to play. And the benefit to the weather being colder than it had been in awhile was the fact that we pretty much had the entire beach to ourselves! The sun did come out later in the evening so we went back to a different beach to get a little kayaking and rock throwing (of course) time in.

    Tuesday was raining so we just ate breakfast and then packed up to go home but we know we will definitely be taking Raeca back to this lake next summer!

    Where have you been travelling to this summer?

    with love,



    Waskesiu {2013}

    Last year we all went up to Waskesiu for the weekend to celebrate my grandparents’ 50th anniversary and a couple Saturday’s ago we packed up the van (complete with our gluten-free food) and headed out to Waskesiu for another get together with my Dad’s side of the family.

    We left pouring rain but we could see blue skies in the distance and by the time we arrived in Waskesiu we were greeted with sunshine.

    I didn’t bring my camera along but did get a couple of shots from the day with my phone.

    This was my absolute favorite part of the day. Jared, Raeca, Delten, my Mom and I rented out these quadricycles. It was so much fun, Raeca loved it when we were ahead of Delten and my Mom and always wanted to go faster. 🙂

    This was the first little getaway we’ve had so far this year. What have you been up to this summer?

    with love,

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