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!!!

 

 

Juneau What I'm Sayin'?

I remember years ago when I earned my first Alaskan Cruise with Stampin' Up!.  My first reaction was, "I don't think I'll go"!!  I know that sounds crazy but since I am a warm weather gal, the thought of being on the water in extremely cold weather made me question whether or not I'd enjoy it.  My husband, on the other hand, was VERY excited to go.  So, we went.  And am I ever glad we did.  I found that Alaska was a beautiful place.  As we got off the ship in Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan, all I could think is that I wish we had more time to explore these quaint little towns that were surrounded by extreme beauty.

When I earned the 2018 Stampin' Up! incentive trip and it was an Alaskan Cruise once again, we were thrilled to go.  This time not just for another opportunity to explore Alaska but to be reacquainted with my demonstrator brothers and sisters whom I love to visit with.  I was also excited because I heard that the weather was going to be unusually warm during out trip, something that I didn't mind a bit.

We boarded the ship in Seattle, a city that I love!  Especially during football season!  GO HAWKS!!!! It was fun to view the Seattle skyline as we sailed away to begin our journey.

Seattle

Seattle

One of the perks of earning an incentive trip is PILLOW GIFTS.  Every evening when you come back to your room there are surprises from Stampin' Up!.  We received such amazing pillow gifts on this trip.  Things such as new catalog product, a gorgeous purse, a blanket, a speaker with the SU logo on it and on the first night this stylish grey jacket to keep us warm all week.

Pillow Gifts are the best!

Pillow Gifts are the best!

Of course another one of the major perks is being the first to see the new  Holiday Catalog.   It was fun to read it while relaxing on our private deck. 

It's A New Holiday Catalog!!!

It's A New Holiday Catalog!!!

While we were cruising we only have a few "official" gatherings, otherwise we get to plan to spend our days however we like.  It's a true vacation!  On day one, we did have a gathering where they announced where our next incentive trip will be.  They made the announcement in a creative way with demonstrators holding suitcases that were lined up across the stage.  

Incentive Trip Reveal

Incentive Trip Reveal

Each suitcase had a "clue" inside.  One suitcase contained a hat, then a pair of rubber slippers, then an aloha shirt!!!!  Get the picture?????? Any guesses???????  I had a feeling and I was right!  It was revealed that we are going to Maui in 2020!

So many people on the ship asked me if I was excited about that?  There's a small part of me that would have preferred to go somewhere I haven't been before.  However, I love Maui and the Grand Wailea is awesome!  I will love the 20 minute flight and it will be great having so many friends coming to my home state!!!  I will definitely work hard to earn it because no matter where they are, Stampin' Up! Incentive trips are the best!

So let me tell you a little bit about the places we visited on this trip.

One of our first stops was in Junea where went on a hike.  I asked our friends, Bruce and Lynsay, "do you think I'll need to dress warm for the hike?".  Knowing that we would be climbing up to a high elevation and knowing how cold I get, they said, "YES"!!!  What we all didn't know is that it was SUPER HOT, even at the higher elevation!!!

HIking in Juneau

HIking in Juneau

It was so hot that just minutes after this photo was taken and the guy who took the photo left, I went behind that platform to remove some layers of clothing!!!  

Even though it was warm, we enjoyed the views all the way up the mountain.

Mt. Roberts Hike

Mt. Roberts Hike

Do you see our cruise ship down there?

View of our ship

View of our ship

We didn't get to climb as high up as we had hoped to because we ran out of water!  

However, we did manage to find some SNOW!  It was a great place to cool down and enjoy the views!

SNOW!!!!

SNOW!!!!

And what a view it was!!!

Mt. Roberts Hike, Juneau

Mt. Roberts Hike, Juneau

Climbing down is always my favorite part.  

Mt. Roberts Trail, Juneau

Mt. Roberts Trail, Juneau

At the foot of the trail, we saw this beautiful Eagle.

Eagle at Mt. Roberts

Eagle at Mt. Roberts

We took the tram down the mountain and went searching for Bubble Tea.  

Mt Roberts Tramway

Mt Roberts Tramway

We did find Bubble Tea but there is no photo because it was the worst tea I have ever had in my life.  Who wants WARM bubble tea, with no flavor, and no ice on a very hot day???  Not me!!!

We did however find some shops and Lynsay bought a cute sweatshirt in one of the shops that said, "Juneau, What I'm Saying".

Juneau, Alaska

Juneau, Alaska

If I had to pick a "favorite" day it was the next day when we went to Skagway.  My good friend Meg coordinated a fun Yukon Rail Excursion there.  

Cindy, Linda and Meg

Cindy, Linda and Meg

This day provided us with lots of time to visit with each other while enjoying many really beautiful places.  

Yukon, Canada

Yukon, Canada

And guess what happened on this day????

It was really amazing!!!

Any Guesses???

Ok... here it is....

We saw a BEAR!!!

Yukon Museum

Yukon Museum

Well, yes, he is stuffed!!! 

However, an hour or so later, we saw another one!!!  

This one was alive and well.

Bear Sighting

Bear Sighting

He put on quite a show for us while eating his lunch.  We enjoyed watching him from inside of the van we were riding in.

It's a Bear!!!

It's a Bear!!!

Later in the day we got to play with sled dogs!  Ahhhhhhhh, they were so cute!!!

Sled Dogs

Sled Dogs

Sled Dogs!

Sled Dogs!

I wish I could have brought one home!  Just look at that face!!!

Sled Dog

Sled Dog

I think the highlight of the day by far was this moment when we stopped at this beautiful Emerald Lake, just north of Carcross.

Emerald Lake, Yukon

Emerald Lake, Yukon

The view was breathtaking.  

 It provided us with the perfect opportunity to take this ultimate Bru-mance photo.  

Bru-Mance

Bru-Mance

These two are so funny!!!! 

We rode the Yukon train back to town!  It was a lot of fun!

White Pass Yukon Train

White Pass Yukon Train

I got to spend a lot of quality time with my friend Genevieve this day.  Every time I talk with her I walk away feeling so uplifted and encouraged.

Stampin Sisters

Stampin Sisters

Our final port was Victoria, B.C.  I had been here once before but our time was limited.  We had a full day there this time!  We got to eat at a wonderful Italian restaurant, visit a museum and enjoy shopping.  I loved all the beautiful flowers we saw, epecially these leading up to the Empress Hotel.

Flowers outside of the Empress Hotel

Flowers outside of the Empress Hotel

It was another warm, beautiful and sunny day.  

Hydrangias in Victoria, BC

Hydrangias in Victoria, BC

Just look at the gorgeous colors!  Makes me want to go stamp something with Melon Mambo Ink or does this look more like Berry Burst or Rich Razzleberry to you?

We did manage to find an excellent place for Bubble Tea!  Yum!

This tea from The Bubble Tea Place was VERY good, picture worthy!

Although we went to wonderful places, enjoyed fun sea days, received amazing pillow gifts and ate and ate and ate, the highlight of these trips is always the people I get to see and spend time with.

 It was so good to see Kim, pictured below with her kids.  Kim and I served together on the Stampin' Up! advisory board in 2003.  Although we live thousands of miles a part, we talk to each other several times a week.  I see Kim at SU events but I hadn't seen her kids in awhile.  Oh boy, have they grown up!

Visiting with Kim and family

Visiting with Kim and family

Kim has done an amazing job keeping our Advisory Board Group together.

Advisory Board Reunion 2018

Advisory Board Reunion 2018

It is so wonderful to be reunited again!  Love all the smiles and hugs shared that day!

Advisory Board Reunion

Advisory Board Reunion

I learned a long time ago that if I ever needed anything, I could turn to these ladies for encouragement and support.

We share a special sisterhood together!

Advisory board reunion

Advisory board reunion

One of my favorite parts about cruising is going to dinner at night. It's always a great time to spend quality time with friends and share about your day.  Plus since you're on a  cruise you are forced to eat one dessert and sometimes two every night.

Lynsay and Cindy

Lynsay and Cindy

We enjoyed the opportunity to meet new friends as well!  

Final dinner on board the ship

Final dinner on board the ship

I'm so grateful Derek was able to take a break from a busy season at work to join me on this Alaskan Adventure.

Derek and Cindy in Alaska

Derek and Cindy in Alaska

Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart to all of you who support my Stampin' Up! business!  If it weren't for you inviting me into your homes to do classes, attending my events and ordering from me online, I wouldn't have the opportunity earn these trips and fulfill one of my passions, which is to travel.

 I am grateful that God has blessed me not only with such amazing customers and downline members but with the ability to work for a company that gives me the opportunity to earn incentive trips such as this.  

I've already qualified for the 2019 trip.  Next summer we'll be heading to GREECE!  I am super excited about that!

Greece is the word 2019

Greece is the word 2019

It's because Stampin' Up! Incentive trips are truly amazing experiences and after seeing these photos I'm sure "Juneau, what I'm saying"!!!

I hope you enjoyed experiencing a little bit of my Alaskan Adventure! 

Until next time, have a blessed day!  

Cindy