My Home Checklist: Seeding Grass Project

Kevin and I have some outdoor renovations planned for this spring/summer, and this passed weekend we got to check the first project off the list: seeding grass. Kevin spent some time most evenings last week prepping the yard, straightening out some areas, pulling out old cement blocks and putting them in other necessary areas. Two weeks ago he also cut off a beautiful pine tree that was right in the center of our backyard. We loved this tree, but it was growing bigger and bigger every year, making our backyard smaller and smaller. So we finally decided that it had to go. 🙁  

On the weekend we had soil delivered, and we worked really hard to straighten out our front and backyard, and finished by seeding grass. Our bodies were SO sore by the end of it, but we felt really accomplished and also really enjoyed working on our yard together. There’s just something about spring, sunshine, dark and rich fresh soil, working hard, seeding, nurturing the seeds, and then waiting with anticipation to see new grass sprouting up everywhere. We were so thankful for the perfect weather that accompanied us the whole time! Here are some pictures of the weekend. I have to remind myself to document our life and our every day kind of moments more often. These pictures will bring back many memories in the years to come.

Luna loved every second of her time spent outdoors!

Here are some semi-before pictures, as I’m hoping that the look of the back and front yard will change drastically over the next few years. To get the real before picture, imagine a pine tree right in the middle of the yard, and where the soil is lying, there was old grass, with a fairly bumpy and uneven surface. Leading towards the gate, there were broken cement blocks, forming a path.

Seeding Grass Project Seeding grass

Our plan is to remove the chain-link fence completely, and replace it with a taller, wooden fence for more privacy (and to hide the not so appealing back lane).

I realize that I never showed you an “after” picture of the new deck that Kevin and my dad built last summer (2016). It isn’t fully finished, so I might to another post on it in the future showing the before and after pictures. But here is what it looks like for now, and we’re really enjoying it. Now we’re dreaming and working on turning the whole backyard into a nice hang out space, and eventually also an area for gardening.

   

I felt a strong urge to take off my shoes and work in the rich soil barefoot! Yes, my feet got incredibly dirty, but with a little soaking, and a little bit of soap and scrubbing, it all came off! They were almost as good as new!

Kevin taking a well deserved break.

Adding the sprinkler and watering the seeds felt like the final rewarding touch. Kevin finished up the backyard in the dark, while Luna got a much needed bath inside.

Thank you for following our little and big adventures. Wishing you all a great week!

Vancouver Island: Ucluelet, Pacific Rim National Park, Tofino

Hello my lovely readers! It’s been a while since I last posted something on my blog. So it’s about time I get back to it. Today’s post is the second last post of our West Coast trip (2015), and the last post of Vancouver Island. I will specifically be writing about the different places that we visited in Ucluelet, Pacific Rim National Park, and Tofino (all located on Vancouver Island).

Amphitrite Point Lighthouse

amphitrite lighthouse

The first place we visited was the Amphitrite Lighthouse in Ucluelet. This place isn’t your typical beach with luscious, soft sand, but it is absolutely beautiful nonetheless. With a dark rich gray color, the coastal rocks really stand out against the blue ocean. We spent our time exploring the little creatures that the high tide had left behind, in the remaining small pools of water. 

We found some pretty cool creatures. For instance, the above starfish was in the process of eating the little guy living between the shells. Apparently starfish use their suction cups to pry open the shell, then they push their stomach out, and get inside the clam to eat the meat. Crazy things happen in nature! 

Close to the Amphitrite Lighthouse, there is a 10 km trail, called the Wild Pacific Trail. We only walked a short distance to see the coastline. 

Wickaninnish Beach

Wickaninnish Beach

We really enjoyed the view of this beach. We took our sandals off and went for a short walk. There were many people surfing the waves. I’m most definitely not comfortable enough in the water to go surfing. I’m sure it’s really fun once you know what you’re doing, and if you’re not scared of deep water (like me!).

Florencia Bay

Florencia Bay

Florencia Bay seems like the perfect beach for an evening bonfire or a cool family photo shoot! It takes some stairs to get down to the beach, but it’s definitely a beautiful view! We didn’t spend a lot of time at most of these places. It was more of a quick sight seeing kind of thing. 

Tonquin Trail Beach & Radar Hill

Tonquin Trail Beach

On this trail you’ll walk through old-growth forest and eventually you’ll arrive at Tonquin Beach. It feels like a little hidden treasure tucked away behind the walls of the forest. This is another amazing place to reflect and enjoy nature, either by yourself, your family and friends, or your pets! I remember one of the hikers had his dog along, who thoroughly enjoyed playing fetch and running in and out of the water.

Radar Hill

Radar Hill is basically what it sounds like. It’s a hill with a radar tower on it. There is parking really close by, and it just gives you more of a birds eye view of the surrounding area. If you’re in the area, you might as well stop by.

Jacks in Tofino

We very much enjoyed the fish and chips at Jacks (in the town of Tofino). We sat out on the patio by the docks.

Long Beach

Long Beach

Long beach is a stunning place! It’s a SUPER long beach, so there’s definitely room for lots of people! We went here a couple of times. We enjoyed the sand and throwing around a disc. I was in love with the fog in the distance. I’d love to do photo shoots here in the future!

Rain-forest Trail Loop B

Rainforest Trail Loop B

There are two rain-forest trails right next to each other. Loop A and loop B. What a super green and lovely walk it was! Kevin and I did loop B together, and then he did loop A on his own yet (while I relaxed in the car). 😉 

The plants were HUGE!!

So were the trees!

Rain-forest Trail Loop A

Rainforest Trail Loop A

Schooner Cove Trail and Beach

Schooner Cove Trail and Beach

Schooner Cove Trail and Beach is another nice nature outing! It’s a good combination of both forest and a beach. The beach here has sand, but also has plenty of rocky areas.

Leaving Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island Ferry Ride

These are just a couple of pictures of the beautiful sunset from the ferry ride, leaving Vancouver Island. It took me four travel posts to show you all the things we did on Vancouver Island! You can imagine how many more activities we didn’t even get to do. So if you ever decide to visit Vancouver Island, don’t be afraid! There will be plenty of things to do! 

Thank you for stopping by and reading along! 🙂

Travel Tuesday: The Butchart Gardens

butchart-gardens
Butchart Gardens
Butchart Gardens

It’s Travel Tuesday! My last travel post brought us to Victoria, BC, via a beautiful sunset ferry-ride. After a good night rest, our first destination in the morning was The Butchart Gardens. These gardens are basically heaven on earth for any gardeners or flower lovers. There was so much variety in these gardens and so many things to see! Therefore, I will only cover this place today. Next time, however, I will show you some more pictures of the actual city.     

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Ever since having worked at a garden stand, I get a kick out of being able to name flowers. Since these gardens contain many flowers that grow in Manitoba, I would be able to name some of them. However, I’m sure there are a lot of people out there that know their flowers way better than I do.

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Fun fact: did you know that Begonias are edible (pictured above)? I’ve tried them before and I didn’t die, I promise. They have a citrus kind of taste. Begonias would make beautiful dessert/cake toppers, or you could decorate your salad with them!

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Pictured above, is the rose garden.

Butchart Gardens

Aren’t these bunnies cute!?

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

The Story Behind the Butchart Gardens

“Robert Pim Butchart, a pioneer in the thriving North American cement industry, was attracted from Owen Sound, Ontario to Canada’s West Coast by rich limestone deposits. In 1904, he developed a quarry and built a cement plant at Tod Inlet (on Vancouver Island) to satisfy Portland cement demand from San Francisco to Victoria. Jennie Butchart became the company’s chemist. Close to the quarry, the Butcharts established the family home complete with sweet peas and rose bushes.

As Mr. Butchart exhausted limestone deposits, his enterprising wife Jennie, made plans to create something of beauty in the gigantic exhausted pit. From farmland nearby, she had tonnes of top soil brought in by horse and cart and used it to line the floor of the abandoned quarry. Little by little, the quarry blossomed into the spectacular Sunken Garden.

Between 1906 and 1929, the Butcharts created a Japanese Garden on the seaside, an Italian Garden on their former tennis court and a beautiful Rose Garden. Mr. Butchart took great pride in his wife’s remarkable work. An enthusiastic hobbyist, he collected ornamental birds from all over the world. He kept ducks in the Star Pond, noisy peacocks on the front lawn and many elaborate birdhouses throughout the gardens.” (Story taken from The Butchart Gardens’ website. The website also contains other useful information that you might want to check out).  

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Pictured above is part of the Japanese Garden.

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Finally, a definite high-light was the ice cream that we got from this Gelateria. This was part of the Italian Garden. I tried their Wild Flower Honey and Lavender flavoured ice cream. It had a bit of a unique taste, but it was actually quite tasty!

Ice Cream

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

If you are new to my blog and would like to see the rest of our West Coast 2015 trip, you will find the other blog posts about all the beautiful places in the West Coast of Canada here.

And hey… by the way, I don’t know how many of you are familiar with bloglovin’. Bloglovin’ is a large community for bloggers. The website is designed to make following your favorite bloggers a breeze. You simply create your own account, and then you can start following different bloggers. This is an easy way to keep up with the newest blog posts. You may follow me on bloglovin’ here.

Wishing you a great rest of the week! 🙂

At Home with the Brauns

img_2187-2

I am so thankful for friends who are willing to be my models so that I can continue to keep practicing my photography. I’m especially thankful for this couple, as they have become such good friends of ours. We started hanging out a lot when Kevin and I started dating, and it has been such a blessing to have walked beside each other through many life changes. Now we get to witness them being amazing parents to the sweetest little girl. Thank you for opening up your home to me, and for the warm tea, cookies, and conversations that followed after the session. 

img_2123-2

img_2169-2

img_2128-2

img_2140-2

img_2151-2

img_2155-2

img_1773-2

img_1772-2

img_1735-2

img_1739-2

img_1749-2

img_1783-2

img_1798-2

img_1778-2

img_2053-2

img_1815-2

img_1813-2

img_1911-2

img_1957-2

img_1946-2

img_1937-2

img_1993-2

img_1987-2

img_1994-2

img_2000-2

img_1918-2

img_1856-2

img_1860-2

img_1901-2

img_2054-2

img_2070-2

img_2101-2

img_2010-2

img_2015-2

img_1822-2

img_1833-2

img_1840-2

img_2111-2

img_2115-2

img_2036-2

img_2148-2

Maddie Grunging it up at the Forks

img_1592-2

I had the privilege to do a photo shoot with my cousin (through marriage) at the forks recently. She was so easy and fun to work with! It was a cold day outside, but that didn’t stop us! We also took some pictures at the St. Boniface Cathedral ruins. I will post those pictures some time in the near future.

Madeline is such a gifted and creative person, and has a heart of gold. She has been such an encouragement to me on my own journey of trying out new things, and is always ready to share helpful tips. 

Madeline is a fantastic model (seriously, it comes so naturally to her!) and a seamstress. She is studying to become a designer, which I have no doubt she’ll rock at, having her creative spirit. Thank you for such a fun photo session Maddie. I look forward to collaborating with you again in the future! Make sure to follow her on her Instagram account.

img_1478-2

img_1451-2

img_1497-2

img_1567-2

img_1474-2

img_1482-2

img_1587-2

img_1450-2

img_1462-2

img_1546-2

img_1483-2

img_1537-2

img_1532-2

img_1449-2

img_1524-2

img_1446-3

img_1561-2

img_1511-3

img_1549-2

img_1576-2

img_1436-2

img_1593-2

img_1589-2

img_1468-2

img_1545-2

img_1582-2

Thank you for stopping by! 🙂

Travel Tuesday: Capilano Suspensoin Bridge & Vancouver Aquarium

Capilano Suspension Bridge

 

Capilano Suspension Bridge

img_0630-2

img_0631-2

Last week I wrote a little about some of our adventures in Vancouver City. Since we had so many pictures, I decided to write two posts on Vancouver. Today, I’m going to show you the rest of the pictures of the two other activities that we enjoyed.

img_0629-2

img_0641-2

First, we went to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. The main draw here is the long suspension bridge, but there is also a tree top adventure (among others), which is a walking path, suspended by tall trees. 

img_0644-2

img_0650-2

It was a hot summer day, and the place was packed. We waited in line for quite a long time before it was our turn to walk across the very long suspension bridge. It was quite a thrilling experience. The bridge moved so much, because there were so many people walking on it.

img_0623-2

img_0660-2

Here is a little more on where the word Capilano came from:

It is actually a First Nations name belonging to the Squamish Nation and originally spelled Kia’palano, meaning “beautiful river”. Kia’palano was the name of a great Squamish chief who lived in this area in the early part of the 1800s. Over time “Kia’palano” was anglicized into “Capilano”: a word that has become the namesake of our bridge and park as well as the river and surrounding area.  

img_0656-2

img_0659-2

img_0673-2

img_0679-2

Walking through the trees felt like some kind of a “George of the Jungle” adventure. Perhaps it made my childhood day-dreams come true? 😉

img_0681-2

I must say that the suspension bridge, as well as the tree top adventures, were quite impressive. It must’ve been SO much work to build everything, making sure that it is strong and safe. 

The long bridge is suspended by two very thick wire cables, and is capable of holding tons of elephants at once. In the past, a large tree fell on the bridge, and instead of causing damage to the bridge, in snapped in two. Now you know, the bridge should be able to hold you just fine!

img_0686-2

As the above picture shows, we saw this huge tree that was 1300 years old!

img_0691-2

img_0693-2

img_0699-2

Vancouver Aquarium

img_0703-2

img_0704-2

We ended our time in Vancouver by visiting the Vancouver Aquarium. I very much enjoyed this place. It was so much fun to see so many different kinds of sea creatures. We saw a great variety of fish, sea plants, jelly fish, tiny poisonous frogs, beluga whales, otters, and dolphins. The following pictures show just some of the life that we saw:

img_0710-2

img_0725-2

img_0735-2

img_0738-2

img_0740-2

img_0742-2

img_0756-2

img_0758-2

img_0765-2

img_0805-2

Ferry Ride to Vancouver Island

img_0832-2

img_0844-2

After having some leftover pizza for supper, we drove to the ferry and waited in line for a long time. To make time go by a little faster, we blasted the music in our car, and treated ourselves to some snacks.

img_0848-2

We really enjoyed the ferry ride. We chose to sit outside for most of the time. I wrapped myself up in my blanket, as it was pretty chilly, and enjoyed the breathtaking sunset. How I miss these days.

img_0851-2

That brings our adventures in Vancouver city to an end. Thank you for stopping by. Enjoy your day!

Travel Tuesday: Vancouver, BC

Vancourver, BC

Another week is on its way, and I hope it has started off well for all of you. It’s time for another travel post, and our next stop on our West Coast trip was Vancouver. I’m sure there are thousands of things to do in Vancouver, but here are a few of things the things that we saw and did in Vancouver. 

img_0408-2

First of all, we were excited to find Winnipeg on the street in Vancouver! We had to take a picture with it, of course. 😉

img_0419-2

We visited Canada Place, which is located in downtown Vancouver’s waterfront. This building (pictured at the top of the page) looks unique because of its tent-like peaks.

img_0442-2

If you want to get a better view of the city, Vancouver Lookout is the place to be. We went up this tower twice, once during the day, and then we came back to see the city lit up at night. 

img_0445-2

img_0451-2

The view from the lookout was great!

img_0483-2

Next, we went to Granville Island. This was my favourite part of the city. There was a market, and a lot of small local shops. We went to a soap shop, as well as a candle store, and it was nice to talk to the owners about what it’s like to own small businesses. It turns out that the owner of the candle store was actually from Winnipeg, where she has another candle business. 

img_0456-2

These Granville Silos have got to be the funnest Silos I’ve ever seen. They were painted by two internationally acclaimed street artists, known as OSGEMEOS. They are two Brazilian twin brothers, who are popular for their public art. 

img_0460-2

img_0482-2

We spent some time browsing the market. So many plants! So much good food! So many things!

img_0462-2

img_0470-2

img_0469-2

We decided that we absolutely had to buy some desserts from Stuart’s .The choices were endless!

img_0473-2

img_0474-2

img_0481-2

img_0488-2

img_0492-2

After the market we made our way to Stanley Park. This park is massive! We spent a short amount of time there. We saw some skillfully crafted totem poles, and walked around the sea board walk. It offered such a great viewpoint of the city and Canada Place (the building with the white peaks). We drove through part of the park, as we didn’t have time to walk through it all.

img_0497-2

img_0516-2

img_0525-2

img_0507-2

img_0537-2

img_0510-2

img_0551-2

img_0559-2

At the end of the day we drove to Gastown and enjoyed some delicious burgers at Black Frog. It was closely located to this old steam clock, which would play a melody every half hour with steam and pipes. The cherry on top was the delicious churro we enjoyed at a small Peruvian restaurant. 

img_0561-2

img_0578-2

We went back to the lookout tower one last time to see the lit up city. We got lucky to see a beautiful crescent moon. The Canada Place building looked neat at night, as it was lit up with different colours. 

img_0581-2

img_0596-2

img_0611-2

Next week I will write about the Capilano Suspension Bridge, and the Vancouver Aquarium, which are two other fun activities that we enjoyed in Vancouver. 

Thank you for reading along!

Kampens Gone Campin’

IMG_7356(a)

Last week Kevin and I (and our little Luna!) decided to go on a short canoe trip along the Seagrim Lakes Trail before the summer ends. We were a little back and forth on whether we should or should not go, but it turned out to be exactly what we needed. It reminded us once again how important it is to take time to retreat from all the noise that surrounds us daily in life. This noise has the tendency to cloud ones perspective and priorities. Going to a quiet place that is peaceful and spiritually nurturing brings back the calm into our lives, and allows us to focus on the things that really matter.

IMG_7322(a)

The Seagrim Lakes Trail is found in Nopiming Provincial Park in Manitoba. I would highly recommend going during the week, as we literally got the WHOLE place to ourselves! When we got back to the parking lot there was one other vehicle there, but we never saw any people. There’s only back-country camping available here, so you want to pack light, as you have to portage all your belongings, including food. The portages are very short and doable though. We had to portage three times and crossed three lakes to get to our campsite, which took us about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. We picked a beautiful campsite that was on an elevated island, with a large rocky opening, which gave us a great view of the surrounding area and the sky. 

May I also suggest leaving all unnecessary media distractions (except for a phone in the case of an emergency), make up, and your best clothes at home. I think that one gets the most out of a nature outing when one is not constantly having to check media, nor having to focus on looks. You want to allow yourself to disconnect from your usual routine. And trust me, in the end you will be happy that you brought your ugly runners when you realize how much more comfortable they were than your nice flip flops would have been. 😉 Alright, enough tips! Let’s move on… Here are some pictures that we took. The pictures are not as good because we didn’t want to take our better camera along, but I wanted to share them with you anyways.

IMG_7332(a)

Waiting for our first supper to be ready. I tried making this camp fire pizza. I love the idea because you can make it before you leave and then just throw it into your backpack or cooler (if you’re going car camping), and you don’t have any supper prep when you get to the campsite!! Unfortunately, it didn’t really work out as I had hoped. We didn’t let it bake long enough, so the dough wasn’t quite baked through, and perhaps I stuffed it too much, and too far to the edges. I still love the idea (cause seriously who wouldn’t want to eat pizza after all that rowing!), so I thought I would still share it with you. I might try it again in the future and see if it works out doing a few things differently. 

IMG_7334(a)

We did some fishing and even ate one! Luna enjoyed the eating part in particular! I have this weird relationship with fishing. I really enjoy fishing and get pretty excited when I catch a fish, but then as soon as I see the fish I start feeling pretty bad for it.

IMG_7339(a)

The nights and mornings on the island were serene. They were overtaken by the calm of nature, sounding the breeze of the wind, with a fish surfacing for some food every so often, and the small waves clashing playfully against the rocks. We were all by ourselves, which was both kinda frightening and at the same time so freeing. The black skies were covered in a curtain of stars as the moon announced its arrival, slowly rising over the horizon leaving its dancing reflection in the waters. The northern lights then decided to pay a visit to the heavens while I was falling asleep cuddled up in my sleeping bag. The emptiness and fullness that I felt at the same time can’t really be put into words, but it drew me close to the creator of it all.

IMG_7347(a)

Luna got to sleep in the tent with us, which she loved, since she doesn’t get to sleep in our bedroom at home. Kevin and I take turns taking her out during the night as we’re potty training her. I was on the early morning shift because I’m scared of bears and everything else during the night! So I got up early to take her out (as you can tell from my puffy eyes!), and decided to watch the sunrise with her (although she was perfectly content wrapped in my shirt, and continued sleeping). The sunrise was so beautiful and peaceful. Oh the things we miss out on when living in the city…  

IMG_7352(a)

IMG_7363(a)

Kevin enjoying the last bit of his oatmeal breakfast along with most of our camping gear. We were learning how to use his new camping stove, and I was pretty happy to not have burned the oatmeal after basically charring some of the bacon!

IMG_7364(a)

We bought a little life jacket for Luna before going on the trip and it was quite funny and terribly cute watching her run around in it. We put her in the water and her body definitely seemed to understand the movement of swimming. However, she didn’t like it very much, probably because the water was too cold for her little body. She got out as soon as she could, only to resemble a miniature Lion, with her legs being wet and slim, and the hair on her head being dry and poofy, like a lion’s main. It was quite the site! We definitely got a kick out of it! 

IMG_7365(a)

IMG_7368(a)

IMG_7372(a)

One last family selfie and some last minute fishing (without any luck) before heading back and being sent off by the eagles soaring above us through the sky. It was windier on the way back and required a fair bit more muscle work. But we rewarded ourselves with some amazing burgers and greasy fries on our way back, and topped it off with some mango ice cream! What a great way to end the summer before going back to work!

Meet Little Luna

IMG_2237(a)

Some of you have told me that you’re waiting for me to post again. I have felt really encouraged by this, so thank you, thank you, thank you! And as promised, I’m back! 

It’s been a fun and eventful summer! I very much enjoyed working at the local garden stand till the end of June, followed by some travelling in July. Kevin and I went on a long and awesome road trip to Canada’s West Coast. As a blogger, crafter, and food lover, I was SO inspired during this trip! I was constantly jotting down ideas, and am looking forward to sharing many things with you! August consisted of having my wisdom teeth removed (and feeling woozy from the meds!), catching up with family and friends, and working on some more house renos… alright, alright, I’ll get to the point!

There is another exciting thing that happened in August that I would love to share with you all! Kevin and I made a big decision, which has already brought a lot of joy (and less sleep!) into our little home. WE GOT A PUPPY!! Luna has been with us for a week now, and we’re having so much fun with her! We’re pretty in-love to say the least! She is a toy poodle and is just over 11 weeks old. I thought it was only fitting to share these big news today, as it’s National Dog Day! Here are some pictures of our little pup. Enjoy!

IMG_2211(a)

IMG_2220(a)

IMG_2223(a)

IMG_2233(a)

IMG_2246(a)

IMG_2279(a)