Oh Canada!

I started writing this post when I was in Edmonton, Canada a few weeks ago visiting my friend, Lynsay.  Her house is beyond gorgeous but it is the view from behind her house that had me in awe during my time there. When Lynsay had sent me pictures of it before, is was blanketed in so much snow. however on this trip, the scenery was almost exactly the opposite.  The sun was out, there were colorful green trees, a Saskatoon bush filled with ripe berries, and every so often the cutest fluffy jack rabbits would hop by the window.  I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to visit Edmonton and spend time with Lynsay's family at their beautiful home.   

So, let me tell you a little bit about my trip!

Lynsay's daughter Eliza enjoys baking and is really good at it.  Since Saskatoon berries were in season she decided to bake us a pie.   The berries came from the bush in their backyard!!

A Sweet Welcome to Canada

A Sweet Welcome to Canada

Eliza is such a sweetheart!  It's hard to see in the photo but she made a pineapple in the center of the top crust!  What a warm, beautiful, and DELICIOUS welcome!  We were so excited to see her again and incredibly blessed that she took the time to make us such a special treat.

Saskatoon Rhubarb Pie

Saskatoon Rhubarb Pie

It was amazing!!!

When I am with Lynsay you can bet we'll be hitting the trails to go hiking or do some type of outdoor adventure.   Even though I wasn't there for a long time, we went on several hikes through the beautiful River Valley near her home.  

Cindy and Lynsay

Cindy and Lynsay

Recently Lynsay has gotten involved volunteering for an organization called, Dogs With Wings.  This organization trains service dogs.  Lynsay is passionate about her work with this organization.  She is an excellent volunteer trainer and is in love with all these beautiful animals who have become a part of her family.  I enjoyed meeting many of the dogs I've heard her talk about and we had fun going on walks with some of them while I was there.

Dogs With Wings

Dogs With Wings

One of the things Lynsay was working on in her craft room was creating thank you cards to donate to the organization for an upcoming event.  I had the opportunity to help her put these cards together.

Bella and Friends Card

Bella and Friends Card

Isn't this card adorable?!   It was created with the stamp set, Bella and Friends.  I offered to help Lynsay by punching out the circles with the Starburst punch and then stamping and coloring the dog with Stampin' Blends.

Coloring with Stampin' Blends

Coloring with Stampin' Blends

 

 I asked Lynsay, "So, how many of these cards are you making?"  "Oh, just 200 she replied!"

Coloring cards for Lynsay

Coloring cards for Lynsay

I tried to pretend like this was too much, but Lynsay knows I like to work on swap cards which often require making large amounts of the same card.  She also knows I love to color so this was a very fun way for me to have some creative fun while at her house.

On another one of our days there, we went to this fabulous Farmer's Market!

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We enjoyed seeing all the colorful fruit and veggies.  Just look at these carrots!

The flowers were so vibrant and beautiful too!

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Edmonton is a Festival City.  We enjoy hearing Bruce and Lynsay talk about all the fun concerts and events they get to go to that come to Edmonton.  

We ended up being there during the Taste of Edmonton.  We went and enjoyed trying all different types of specialties from local restaurants.  

Taste of Edmonton

Taste of Edmonton

We then visited the Legislature Building which had huge water fountains in front of the building.  

Water fountain at the Edmonton Legislature Building

Water fountain at the Edmonton Legislature Building

It was unusually hot in Edmonton that day so cooling off IN the fountain seemed like the perfect idea!  As you can see, lots of other people felt the same way!

Cooling off in Edmonton

Cooling off in Edmonton

The building was really beautiful.  It was fun to be there with our amazing friends!

Edmonton Legislature

Edmonton Legislature

Edmonton Legislature 

Edmonton Legislature 

On another day, we enjoyed going canoeing with Michael and Jess. Michael is Lynsay's friend's son.  They were such a lovely couple.  

Canoeing with Michael and Jess.

Canoeing with Michael and Jess.

We really enjoyed our time together on the North Saskatchawan river.   It was great to see the city from this perspective.

North Saskatchewan River, Edmonton, Canada

North Saskatchewan River, Edmonton, Canada

Halfway through our canoeing adventure, we gathered our canoes together and enjoyed a floating picnic.

Floating Picnic

Floating Picnic

When you travel with Lyndsay and family you are definitely going to enjoy great food!  They always come prepared with delicious snacks.  

Speaking of snacks... here's a fun local place Lynsay took me to where we enjoyed a "so called" local healthy treat.

My Fries

My Fries

Have you heard of Poutine?  I hadn't.

Poutine is a dish that consists of French fries and cheese curds topped with a brown gravy.  Doesn't sound very healthy, does it??  There are many different varieties of this dish.  

We went to My Fries, where they offered a healthier version of this classic dish.

Just look at the menu... so many choices!!!

My Fries Menu

My Fries Menu

It was really fun to try this "healthy" dish :)

Trying Poutine for the first time!

Trying Poutine for the first time!

One of the must do things on our trip was to visit the West Edmonton Mall.  Lynsay knows I love to shop and it is one of the major attractions in Edmonton.  Up until 2004 it was the worlds largest mall. It had an amusement park, a petting zoo, a waterpark, and a mini golf course!

Roller Coaster at the West Edmonton Mall

Roller Coaster at the West Edmonton Mall

There was also a pirate ship and a sea lion show.

Pirate Ship at the West Edmonton Wall

Pirate Ship at the West Edmonton Wall

In another section we found an ice skating rink.

Skating Rink at the West Edmonton Mall

Skating Rink at the West Edmonton Mall

Of course the highlight for me was going shopping at the largest Lululemon store.  

Shopping at the largest Lululemon

Shopping at the largest Lululemon

The mall also had lots of funny props for fun photo ops!

Hula Photo Op

Hula Photo Op

We had a blast shopping together that day!   

Our time in Edmonton was so much fun. Whether it was exploring the city or just hanging out at the house, playing our nightly card games!  We had a blast.  It was a much needed time of R and R.

I am grateful that because of my involvement with Stampin' Up! we have become friends with the Mahon's and just like this pillow says, we think they are all pretty EH-Mazing!!!

 

 

Epic Celebration

This past week was filled with many fun adventures and memorable moments!  That's what happens when I spend time with my friend Lynsay and her family.  

This was going to be a short visit so we were determined to make the most out of every minute and that is exactly what we did.  

Lynsay loves the outdoors, so even though during her first two days here it was overcast and a little rainy, we didn't let that hinder our adventures.

On Day one we went on a two mile walk at the Lagoons near my home and I took Lynsay and her daughter Emily to a secret beach.

Lynsay and Cindy

Lynsay and Cindy

Later that day we went to Kualoa Ranch on the Windward Side of the Island.  It was a perfect day to be there.  It was cool and a little cloudy which made for some great photo opportunities during our movie tour there.

Kualoa Ranch Movie Tour

Kualoa Ranch Movie Tour

If you haven't been to Kualoa Ranch I highly recommend it.  There are many activities to do there.  They have zip lining, biking, atv rides, horseback riding, and many tours such as the movie tour we went on.  

We saw the locations where many Hollywood movies and TV shows were filmed.  Emily and Lynsay just finished watching the LOST series, so that is one of the reasons we went there to look for the locations where Lost was filmed.

Kualoa Ranch

Kualoa Ranch

Do you recognize these bones from the Kong, Skull Island movie?  We had several opportunities on the tour to see movie props up close.  It was interesting to see the materials everything was made of.

Our time at Kualoa Ranch was only a few hours long but it provided us with many lasting memories.  These memories include a possible Mark Walberg encounter (he WAS on the property although no one believes I saw him) and many interesting stories from our famous tour guide George who shared about his adventures as an actor on the set of Hawaii 5-O.   All in all, it was a really great first day together for the three of us.

The next day we woke up to rain!  It was one of those rare days in Hawaii where it rains all day.  Those are days I normally LOVE but when you have friends over who want to see the sun it was a bummer!  Once again, we didn't let it affect our mood.  We had to change locations for our hike but we still got to spend time outdoors.  We chose a new safer place to hike and went to the Makapuu Lighthouse trail.  As you can see we weren't even halfway up and we already were having a great time together.

Makapuu Lightouse Hike

Makapuu Lightouse Hike

The East side of the island is my favorite place on Oahu.  There are so many scenic points along the road.  It was a bummer that it was overcast, but it was still beautiful.  

East Oahu

East Oahu

Since it was Saturday, Derek was able to join us and that was a blessing!  He works such long hours so I was glad he had the day off to enjoy the outdoors with us.

Derek and Cindy

Derek and Cindy

After our hike we went to The LOCAL in Kailua for the BEST natural shave ice on the island.

Shave Ice at the Local 

Shave Ice at the Local 

.  The next morning the sun was out so we headed over to Nanakuli to do the Mailii Pillbox hike.  

Lynsay and Cindy

Lynsay and Cindy

It was fun to introduce Lynsay to these places!  Lynsay has been to Oahu before but never to my house and never to my favorite places.  

Maili Pillbox Hike

Maili Pillbox Hike

We were worried that it might start to rain again but it was beautiful the entire day!

On Lynsay's last full day here we did the Lanikai Pillbox hike.  There was no parking on Lanikai that day so we had to walk over from Kailua Beach.  I guess you could say we had to take a hike to get to the hike!!

Emily, Lynsay and Cindy

Emily, Lynsay and Cindy

It was worth it though.  It was such a gorgeous day and this is one of my favorite hikes on the island.

Emily and Lynsay

Emily and Lynsay

I'm so thankful the weather cleared up so that we could hike there!

Lanikai Pillbox Hike

Lanikai Pillbox Hike

The view are from the pillbox is incredible, just look at that water.  No filters were used to take this photo!!! 

It was good we did this hike when we did because on the 27th of March they closed this hike for repairs.

Lanikai Pillbox  Hike

Lanikai Pillbox  Hike

Since we were in Kailua again, I took Lynsay and Emily to my favorite place for lunch, Leahi Health.

Leahi Health

Leahi Health

Their Kale Tacos are the best but I've discovered a new favorite, this Beet Poke Bowl.  Its so refreshing and delicious!   Anytime I'm in Kaimuki or Kailua its on my to do list to stop at Leahi Health for a plant based nutritious treat.  I wish we had one in Kapolei.

The Local Hawaii

The Local Hawaii

Since we were in Kailua we HAD to stop for another shave ice.  This time I ordered a Ginger one!  If you like ginger, you will love their ginger shave ice.  They are usually larger but I asked for them to make mine a little smaller cause I usually can't finish one by myself.  You can also add home made ice cream to the bottom if you want.

The Local Hawaii

The Local Hawaii

This seriously is the best Shave Ice I have ever had.  All the syrups are natural, made from whatever Hawaiian fruit is in season and they have many really unique flavors.  

Lynsay had one with lime in it that ended up being a little tart.  Even though it was too sour for her liking she continued to eat it or maybe I should say slurp it till the last drop!!! It made for a hilarious moment that Emily caught on film and included in her travel video.  You can watch this fun video at the end of this blog post.

When we weren't climbing mountains, we spent some time together in my stamp studio.  Lynsay  was preparing to be the special guest at my monthly Inspiration Night.  I had never played with Brusho or Embossing Paste so Lynsay taught me how to use these products.  Since we had a "saleabration" swap to prepare for the meeting, I decided to use Brusho to make my swap.  

Here is a close up of the part of the card I used Brusho on.

Epic Celebration Card

Epic Celebration Card

Brusho is made of watercolor crystals.    To create this look you just stamp an image with a black archival stamp pad onto shimmery white card stock.  Then you sprinkle a TINY amount of Brusho over the image.  

Important:  if you have brusho, do not open the lid.  instead take a push pin and poke it through the lid.  When you want to use the product remove the push pin and sprinkle like a salt shaker and then plug the hole with the pin. 

After sprinkling Brusho on your stamped image, you take one of our spritzer bottles filled with water and spray water over the image.  Its fun to watch the crystals move and blend in random patterns.  Then you need to let it dry naturally or you can use a heat gun to speed up the process.  If the paper gets really damp and curls a little you can use sticky strip to adhere it to a base layer of card stock.

Here is the swap cards I created with this technique.

Epic Celebration Swaps

Epic Celebration Swaps

In my next post I'll show you all the fun projects Lynsay taught us at our Inspiration Night.  

Until then I hope you enjoyed a little sneak peek into my adventures on Oahu with Lynsay and Emily.  

Emily put together a short video of their adventures on Oahu.   If you'll watch it you will see that having them here truly was an EPIC Celebration!

Adventures in Europe (Prague/Amsterdam)

For our 25th wedding anniversary, I gave Derek a framed travel map that we pin with all of the places we have traveled to.  We were excited that our holiday travels this year allowed us to push two new pins into our map when we visited Prague and Amsterdam!

We arrived in Prague at night but even as we drove into the city we could tell that this place was special.  We quickly set out to explore and could instantly feel that we had chose a very special place to ring in the new year.

First  Night in Prauge

First  Night in Prauge

There were tons of people all over the streets and a festive spirit in the air.   

We arrived in Charles Square to see a gorgeous tree that was decorated so beautifully and  surrounded by a Christmas market where you could sample local foods and drinks.

Charles Square, Prauge

Charles Square, Prauge

Our first night there we stayed at a hotel close to the Charles bridge where we planned to watch the fireworks.  This was a smart move because it was very crowded in town, especially the closer it got to midnight.

New Years Eve in Prauge

New Years Eve in Prauge

As midnight drew near we went to the bridge along with thousands of others waiting to ring in the new year together.

New Years Eve in Prauge

New Years Eve in Prauge

It reminded me of the time we spent New Years Eve in Times Square.  It was just a little less congested, equally as COLD but very exciting too.  

To the side of us there was an group of Spaniards who were joyfully passing out cans of grapes to carry out a tradition of eating 12 grapes during the count down to  midnight.  They were so excited and friendly, inviting others around them to join in with their tradition.

During the hours leading up to midnight the fireworks were going off in every direction but when midnight hit, there was a spectacular show all around us.  It was really incredible.  

The next morning we relocated to an apartment just across the bridge from the city.

Our apartment in Prauge

Our apartment in Prauge

It was a beautiful place.  We couldn't help but take photos as we explored each room of the house.

This "dressing room" had so many cabinets we couldn't imagine how you'd ever be tall enough to climb up to the top of the wall to use them.

Fun with Lynsay

Fun with Lynsay

All of this storage is a crafters dream!  If this was my home, I'd be tempted to convert this room into my stamp studio!

I spy a secret wall

I spy a secret wall

The master bedroom had a secret wall built so that the owner could move it to have a view of the Prague Castle from his bed!  

We certainly felt blessed to be able to stay in such a beautiful place where we could look out our windows, across the water to see this incredible city.

Prauge

Prauge

The buildings in Prauge were rich with history and amazingly beautiful.

New Town Hall, Charles Square, Prauge

New Town Hall, Charles Square, Prauge

I was glad that the Christmas markets were still up so there was always places to get fun treats like hot cocoa, sugared nuts or these fun potatoes on a stick.

Prague Street Food

Prague Street Food

We even tried these chips and as you can tell by Lynsay's expression, they were very delicious.

Prauge Chips

Prauge Chips

We enjoyed a walking tour where we got to explore all different parts of the city.

Wenceslas Square - Prauge

Wenceslas Square - Prauge

A highlight for me on our walking tour was discovering the Patriae Et Music, the theater where Mozart debuted Don Giovani in 1787.

Where Mozart debuted Don Giovani

Where Mozart debuted Don Giovani

Up the street from the theater we saw the building where he stayed and I imagined what it must have been like to have heard beautiful music coming out of the windows while he played music there.

Mozart lived in the house on the right

Mozart lived in the house on the right

The second day we were there we learned that Prauge was celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the Republic and there was going to be a huge fireworks show that would be put to music.  We bundled up in our babushkas and found a perfect spot to see the show.  

Waiting for the fireworks - Prauge

Waiting for the fireworks - Prauge

This was clearly the MOST amazing firework show I've ever seen and I'm not a huge fan of fireworks.  However this show was worth the wait in the freezing cold air to see.  I found it online in case you want to watch it, you can do so by clicking here.

View from Prague Castle

View from Prague Castle

The next day we enjoyed exploring the Prague Castle.  It was a very chilly day so we found a Christmas Market near the castle and enjoyed some delicious warm Pear Cider.  I'll have to learn how to make it because it was so yummy and the perfect thing to warm us up.

Pear Cider

Pear Cider

Our time in Prague was short and we definitely would like to return to explore more of this amazingling beautiful city.

Our final stop was Amsterdam.  Just look at the tulips that greeted us at the airport.  WOW!

Amsterdam Tulips

Amsterdam Tulips

Amsterdam was just a short stop on our way home,  we were only there a day and a half but we hit the ground running and saw a lot of the city on a private guided walking tour.  

We saw a Royal Palace,

Amsterdam Royal Palace

Amsterdam Royal Palace

We passed by beautiful canals lined with dancing houses and more bikes than there were people!

Amsterdam Canals

Amsterdam Canals

We passed by the home of Anne Frank as well as the house below with the red and green shutters where Rembrandt lived and painted.

Remlrants House - Amsterdame

Remlrants House - Amsterdame

We saw the floating flower market.

Amsterdam Flower Market

Amsterdam Flower Market

We sampled local street food like pickled haring which as you can see Derek really enjoyed.

Amsterdam Haring

Amsterdam Haring

And at many local cafe's I discovered a love for fresh ginger tea.  Something I have been recreating almost daily since returning home.

Ginger Tea

Ginger Tea

Although I was really cold and a little under the weather, I really enjoyed exploring Amsterdam with loved ones and friends.  

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I was truly grateful for the opportunity to visit Amsterdam and I hope to one day visit again, hopefully next time in the Spring!

Derek and Cindy In Amsterdam

Derek and Cindy In Amsterdam

Traveling home with a cold wasn't fun but it felt GREAT to get off the plane in Honolulu and read this weather report on my phone.

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It's taken me a few more days than usually to get back to feeling 100%.  However I am glad that I am finally feeling good enough to get back in my stamp room to create projects with all our new products.  

My next post will feature some of the things I've been working on this week.  Until then, thank you for allowing me to share a little bit about our holiday adventures.  I hope you enjoyed traveling through Italy, Prague and Amsterdam with us.  

With love and blessings,

Cindy

Adventures in Europe (Italy)

In 2017 our Holiday Travels took us to three places.  They were Italy, The Czech Republic and Holland.  I have a new love of traveling light so it felt great to pack everything I needed into my carry on bag so I didn't have to check a suitcase! 

Travelocindy

Travelocindy

After four long flights (the painful part of traveling to Europe), we arrived in Florence, Italy where we were reunited with my friend Lynsay and her family whom we love to travel with. 

Lynsay and Cindy arrive in Florence

Lynsay and Cindy arrive in Florence

Lynsay was also a 2017 Global Top 100 Stampin' Up! demonstrator which is why she was also blessed to receive one of these adorable suitcases.

We stayed in Tuscany in a beautiful refurbished farmhouse about 40 minutes outside of Florence.   Since it took more than 24 hours to get to Italy it was great to arrive at such a beautiful location that we would call home for the next few days.

Tuscany Farmhouse 

Tuscany Farmhouse 

There are so many things I love about exploring Italy.  We went on private guided tours through the most beautiful museums hearing stories about the artists and the history of Florence.

 One of our favorite museums during this visit was the the Uffizi Gallery which is one of the oldest museums in the world.  

Uffizi Museum - Florence, Italy

Uffizi Museum - Florence, Italy

The museum is housed in a vast 16th century palace and is a must see for any art lover because its contains so many incredible masterpieces.

The Doni Tondo pained by Michelangelo was one of the favorite things I saw at the museum because of the bright colors and incredible details.  It looked especially beautiful being displayed on this red wall too.  

Doni Tondo by Michelangelo

Doni Tondo by Michelangelo

I loved hearing the story about how Michelangelo negotiated this sale when the person who commissioned the art tried to pay him less that originally planned.  That was a huge mistake because Michelangelo ended up only releasing the painting to him when he paid 3 times the original agreement.

Even outside the museums there are priceless works of art everywhere.  I really enjoy seeing Derek so happy as he learns more about art and history one of his passions.

Derek and Cindy in Florence

Derek and Cindy in Florence

Florence by night was amazing.  Do you see that dome behind us?  Since I was with Lynsay you know what we HAD to do right?  Just like our trek around Mont Blanc there was no elevator so we climbed up to the top.  

Florence, Italy

Florence, Italy

It was worth the effort to climb the 463 steps because there was a beautiful view from the top of the city.

Top of the Duomo

Top of the Duomo

It was magical at this time to be in Florence.  I loved all the lights and holiday decorations.

Baughmahontrips

Baughmahontrips

I loved seeing all the beautifully decorated Christmas trees around the city too!   The way the lights were strung on the trees was spectacular!

Christmas Tree in Florence, Itally

Christmas Tree in Florence, Itally

Two of the things I was anxious to do in Florence to eat and go shopping!  Unlike Derek, the later is one of my passions.

Leather Shop in Florence, Italy

Leather Shop in Florence, Italy

Florence is the place to buy Italian Leather.  So Lynsay knew just the right shop from a previous trip.  We enjoyed trying on several jackets in many different colors.  We forgot to take a photo of the ones we bought but looking at this picture these would have been good choices too!

Italian Food

Italian Food

The food in Italy is incredible and we really enjoyed the experience of relaxed dining with amazing service.   

Italian Food

Italian Food

Everything was made with the freshest ingredients and served with pride from the most entertaining waiters and restaurant owners I've ever encountered in my life. 

We spent a day exploring Sienna.  Although it was a little chilly out, the skies were blue and it was a beautiful day to explore this wonderful city.

Exploring Sienna

Exploring Sienna

While in Siena we visited the Siena Cathedral.  It was an amazing sight!

Duomo di Siena

Duomo di Siena

We also discovered the Nannina bakery.  As we passed by Derek mentioned he had read about it. It opened in 1943, so we had to go in.

Nannia Bakery - Sienna

Nannia Bakery - Sienna

We enjoyed warm cappuccinos and trying these amazing almond cookies.

Nannina Bakery, Sienna

Nannina Bakery, Sienna

These cookies were so good, we tried both the white and dark ones and couldn't decide which was better because they were both so delicious.  I wish I had the recipe as I would love to make these at home.  If this bakery offered shipping, I'd be ordering a box right now.

Of course when we travel with the Mahon's its kind of a tradition to eat gelato as much as we can.  So Lynsay got a little excited when we turned the corner on our last night in Florence  to discover Amorino, one of our favorites.

We love gelato, can you tell?

We love gelato, can you tell?

I tried something new.  It was a hot chocolate with hazelnut gelato and whipped cream.  Perfect for a chilly winter night in Florence.

Hot Cocoa with gelato at Amarino

Hot Cocoa with gelato at Amarino

It was very good.  Very, very, very good.  I'm glad we don't have an Amorino in Hawaii or I'd be driving there right now to have another.  However, if Amorino wanted to come to Hawaii, well I wouldn't complain, I'd just have to work on my self control.

Italy was just as fabulous as I expected it to be.   Some of the best times we had during our time in Italy were just at the house, enjoying meals together, playing games like uno, talking for hours and enjoying our early espressos.

Early Espressos with Lynsay

Early Espressos with Lynsay

I just loved the opportunity we had to revisit a city we had hoped to return to.  Since Derek has been so busy at work it was also wonderful to just have quality time with him doing something we love to do together, travel.

Sienna, Italy

Sienna, Italy

Cappucino "Cheers" to this beautiful country and the opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones and friends.

Cappucino Cheers

Cappucino Cheers

We say "aloha" to this beautiful country for now, with hopes to return one day soon.

Siena Cathedral

Siena Cathedral

Our next stop was Prauge, a first for both of our families.  This is where we rang in the New Year.  I'll share a little bit about that amazing experience in an upcoming post.

Until then, Arrivederci