Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Papal Audience and Vatican Museums - Italy Part 2

Even if you aren't Catholic or religious I highly recommend seeing St Peters Square, St Peters Basilica and the Vatican Museums as although they are one of the most attended attractions in the world, they are worth it to see as each are amazing on their own.  We are baptised Catholics and the kids went to Catholic School but we are really nonpractising due to our own reasons.  The school system was chosen as was the best available to the kids at the time.   All of these sites are free to see with the exception of the Vatican museums.

Monday morning before our Colosseum tour we ventured out to St Peters Square to try and obtain Papal Audience tickets for Wednesday.  He does a Papal Audience every Wednesday that he is in the city, completely free of charge. You can see his schedule usually a couple of months out at the Prefecture of the Papal Household.   There are several ways to get tickets and this romewise post explains the best options if you live in the USA.  You can request them directly by fax from the Vatican or via email if American from US based churches.  For those of us in Canada fax was the only option unless trying through your Church.  We don't have a fax machine even though we have a business as there is zero need based on everyone scanning and emailing things these days.  Our local business center which we use for printing has one so I tried that a couple months in advance.  After 20 tries I gave up.  We and everyone else in the world who wanted to see the pope was trying the fax method.  Next up there appeared to be several tour companies that would provide tickets and a guide for the Papal audience at the price of about $50 each.  I refused to do that as everything that I read said they should be free - and with four of us I was not willing to shell out for that (money does not go to the church but the guide in that case).  Finally I asked the boys if they wanted to try and get tickets when we were in Rome and we all agreed - I didn't want anyone to be disappointed if we couldn't see him.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

We're back! Italy Part 1

So yes, I have been back a few days now from our epic European adventure and have been just trying to get our life sorted.  Every day I thought I would try and post but life/business got in the way so today is the day.  Our trip to Europe went mostly smoothly.  We dodged a rolling Air France strike (they were on strike the two days before our flight home), rain, cancelled trains, misplaced luggage(at Vancouver on way home, it turned up the next day) and a terrorist attack in Paris by a couple of days that happened a 10 minute walk from our hotel.  We had a great but tiring trip, saw loads, and likely next time we head to Europe I will have to schedule more wandering days with nothing planned.  This time though we had two adult kids with us so I wanted them to see as much as we possibly could.  

Monday, April 23, 2018

Almost There

 Four more sleeps!  This will be my last blog post until after vacation, life is simply going too fast to be able to promise anything more.  We signed 3 new contracts last week and onboarding a new client is the most amount of work we do in a contract.  We have to fit in a weeks worth of work into the next couple of days so time to dig in.  It was absolutely georgous on Vancouver Island this weekend, sunshine and warmth.  Saturday I drove mom the 2.5 hrs each direction drive to Mill Bay to meet up with her best friend of 25 years who was staying in Victoria.  She met us at a lovely seaside restaurant overlooking the Marina.  She is one of the nicest ladies on the planet and someone I really like so no hardship on my part to be part of it.  Mom has decided until she has her cateract surgery (which keeps getting postponed) she doesn't want to drive, which is something I have been trying to convince her of for a while.  She quit driving long distances a while ago but still drives around town, so this decision is new.  Anyway, I volunteered to make this drive with her when her friend advised she was going to be on Island as she lives several hours away in the interior of BC.   

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Time to Start Packing!

Thanks for letting me vent on my last post.  Things are better - the windshield has now been replaced in the car and I have had a much cheaper week without the use of my credit card.  Funny - when I go to the store with a limited amount of cash I spend less.  I expect my new credit card will show up by Wednesday so things will then go back to normal, other than having to contact a couple of trip related places to give them my new credit card. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Rough Week

So this month we seem to be dealing with an abnormally large amount of crapola coming our way.  This week is not even half over and it is already particularly special.

Monday our windshield got a monster crack in it in our car.  The downside is a new windshield in that vehicle is $1100(hubbys sportscar/work vehicle).  The upside is that we only have to pay a $300 deductible.  The other upside is that we have sufficient funds in our regular paycheck to cover this and not have to pull from any emergency funds.  We also don't have to eat less this month as a result - happy we are frugal and paid all the gigantic bills off long ago like housing and car payments and are debt free.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Success - Pie!

So last Sunday I got out my new-to-me food processor ($5) and began making the lemon meringue pie my Mother had a craving for.  It just happens to be my favorite kind of pie too so I was ok with making it.  Yes, it is much easier to make crust in a food processor.  I used this recipe from  In the photo above the butter and shortening had been added.  There is simply no way to break up cold butter and shortening with a knife/fork like you can in a processor, that is why it is so much easier.  You also add water one drop at a time as less is best.  If you follow the directions exactly you will have tasty no-fail pie crust that is flaky.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

In Bloom

We had a very good time in Alberta last weekend with a whirlwind of visiting family and friends.  We managed to see approximately 40 relatives between the kids and hubby's Aunt's 80th Birthday party and we are very glad we went.  His Aunt was over the moon that we came.  She is one of 3 Aunts he has left and the only one who has her wits about her as the others are suffering from different stages of dementia.  She looked amazing and is unbelievably fit - she is retaking her driving test at 80 (requirement here), continues to volunteer, garden and is very active in her church.  I am pretty sure we might be going to her 90th birthday party one day. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Thrifting Finds

Last weekend Mom and I had our weekly thrift date on Saturday Morning and I came home with a bunch of goodies - all for resale.  I need to make about $150 more in our fun fund to cover our fishing charter this year and these guys will help with that.  I love thrifting/garage saling so this really isn't anything I wouldn't already be doing and I make a few bucks at it.  The small nymph planter above was in pretty good condition - but when I bought it I missed the fact that it had 2 chips.  I sold it with full disclosure and made 3x my money.  I would have made a lot more had it been chip free though.

These little vintage owl salt and pepper shakers are so cute - for .50 I had to bring them home.  If they don't sell I would be more than happy to keep them.  

 I had to pay a bit more for these antique canning jars, about $3 a piece but each is worth around $10-20 as they have zinc lid and glass seals.

My favorite recent find was this record from 1969 which is a recording of the astronauts moon landing.  We haven't had time to listen to it yet but it is not very common.  The record is in perfect shape and the album cover has minor wear.  The moon landing occured one month before I was born so it is etched in my brain forever - the summer of 1969 was epic!

If I found 100 of these Bing Crosby Merry Christmas albums I could sell every one around Christmas time.  I've sold it twice before.  This one is in very good condition, the album glue is coming loose but I can fix that.  Both these records together were a whopping .25 cents so likely I will make a few bucks from each of them.  

The only thing I brought home that day for myself were a couple of books for reading - the rest will hopefully sold off for some fun!

This weekend we are off to Edmonton for a couple of days to go to an 80th party for hubby's Aunt.  We haven't seen her since we moved so it will be really nice to reconnect with her and a bunch of our other relatives.  We will also see 3 of the 4 kids (4th lives in Ottawa now) so we are looking forward to it!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Pie Crust and Salsa

No, I haven't actually made them yet...but I will be in this:

Since it is a tiny bit too early to be shopping on driveways (garage sales) I have been prowling the 24 hr facebook bidding site and found this 3 cup Proctor Silex food processor for a whopping $5.  I told myself a while ago if I found one at a low price I would buy it.  It now is spic and span after a good cleaning in my cupboards.  I intend to make a pie for my Mom for Easter with homemade crust since she has been observing Lent by giving up sweets.  I have tried to make pie crust before, it turned out ok at best.  Apparently the easiest/best way is with a food processor which I've never owned.  This one holds three cups.  I own another minichopper, Cuisinart that hubby got me for Christmas one year.  It is awesome for chopping things like garlic and nuts but doesn't work for larger recipes like salsa (although I have used it for that, just chopped all ingredients separately) and pie crust.  I've tested it and it works, and for five bucks definitely a price I can live with.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Beautiful Sunday

Today is absolutely beautiful out - sunny and 11 degrees Celcius.  Although we lost an hour due to turning our clocks forward last night we still were able to have a nice leisurely Sunday.  We've already taken Buddy on a really long walk, I have almost 10,000 of my 11,000 steps done and hubby is in the process of making beef and broccoli/cauliflower soup for supper.