Monday, May 31, 2010

Not Sure What to Think...

For living in a city that is, generally, rather unfriendly, you can imagine our surprise when our cashier at the grocery store struck up a conversation with us.

You can imagine our even GREATER surprise when she, (who, by the way was a Canadian immigrant from Mexico with a Canadian accent,) asked Ian if anyone had ever told him that he looks like someone famous.

We were more shocked when she figured out who she was talking about....

Josh Duggar!

We laughed and were a little uncomfortable, because all though ew love them and the values that they stand for, alot of the world doesn't!

But this Canadian Mexican cashier did!

Ian is a little perturbed I think.

I blamed it on his plain navy polo with khakis and tennis shoes.

Poor soul.

He doesn't usually dress that mix matched, (tennis shoes with a polo?) but we had to go to the grocery store and I've already rambled on here several times about that hike.

I told Ian that at least it was better than when someone told him he looked like Dwight from The Office. Ha!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Street Wise

Living in a "big" city has provided us with some interesting observations/encounters over the last couple of months.

Like the time I was walking down the stairs from the train stop and I had an elderly man stop and give me a stern lecturing about walking down stairs with your hands in your pockets.

Apparently it's deadly.

And really, I should know that, because I fell down a flight of stairs in 6th grade and broke my ankle.

And didn't use my hands to stop myself.

Thanks Old Man.

Then there was today, when strolling down Granville Street, we stopped and watched a street performer on the electric guitar.

He was wearing a complete spider man mask.

I insisted on stopping and watching because I didn't want to be "one of those people," who don't stop and pay heed to a musical prodigy, like in this Joshua Bell clip.

I mean, Spidey could have been ANYONE.

Only, he wasn't good at all.

So he probably wasn't anyone famous.

Then, we walked on down to Yaletown, where a crowd was just beginning to form in front of a restaurant.

Now, if you know me, you know I get kind of skiddish around large crowds, so I wanted to steer clear of that. But soon, folksy English/Irish music was filling the streets and the crowd had swelled to nearly a thousand.

Turns out there was a band in town, who had TWO sold out concerts that weekend, and had decided to do a "surprise/secret" mini concert.

That was pretty cool!

Check out Mumford and Sons to hear some folkish pub music (or at least that's what it reminded me of!)

We also hammered down the dates for the Vancouver Jazz festival (yay!) and found a great restaurant with live music after 9pm.

And then we got the honor of listening to creepy English teacher man hit on his Korean student. Luckily her English wasn't that good.

For us, though, it was just painful

All in all, a great day "out on the streets!"

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Rainy Day in History

It's another rainy day here in Vancouver.

Surprise, surprise.

Ian and I voted on staying inside all day, though we didn't really have a choice seeing as we use public transportation and everything free is outdoors, ha!

And, seeing as that this is going to be our weather forecast in just 2 months when we get to the UAE:
I thought I would take a walk down memory lane.

The cold and rainy memory lane, that is.

Many moons ago, there was a girl.

Her name was Brittney and she liked to go for long strolls in the park.

At Christmas time.

And in the rain.

So she devised a contraption of Umbrella+umbrella stroller+ hooded rain jacket+poncho on her lap to keep her warm and dry.

While all the other schmucks had to walk.

And this ingenious girl also got her photo in the newspaper.

Just for being adorable.

The end.
Don't you just LOVE memory lane??

Distorted Reality Lane is my favorite!

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Perfect Night In

Last night was the start of one of our two long weekends that we have while here in Canada. We're not allowed to use any of our vacation times during our training (which stinks, believe me,) but we do get two, no holds barred, no work, long weekends!

Ian and I are among the losers who do not have family coming in this time (or next,) so we tried to think of a few touristy type things that we hadn't had time to do. We have great plans for these 72 hours of free time.

However, I hadn't really planned anything for Thursday night.

So, first I hoofied it home from the grocery store with a million plastic bags (forgot my cloth ones,) cutting off my circulation for 1.2 km (which believe me, is alot longer than it sounds.)

{Handy map reference, A being my home, B being the store. So, I went from B to A, because I'm different like that. And right about where it says "Garden Center," is where I duck my head and try not to make eye contact for 2 blocks. On account of the surplus of weirdos and sketchy people.}

Right, so I collapsed in a chair back home after making it back from that perilous journey. Did I mention I did it in the rain?

While wearing flats.

And carrying a purse that had 4 books in it.

Because you never know when you are going to finish one and need the other.

yes, I'm that person. Sorry.

Ian joined me about 2 minutes later from the train (also in map, see Surry Central Skytrain.)

and asked me what was for dinner.

Now, I had just bought all of the ingredients for homemade Cajun Chicken Pasta, but I really wasn't in a chopping mood.

So, instead, I whipped out the $1.97 Curry Paste I had just discovered and chopped half of the thawed chicken, two potatoes, and threw in the paste.

Presto, Curry!

Ian and I read blogs (me,) and news (him,) while our curry simmered and then got comfy on the couch to watch a movie while we ate.

Selection for the night.... Anne of Green Gables!!!

My husband is awesome.

I had borrowed the dvd series from a friend, and when Ian saw all three discs, he asked me if it was a tv show.

No, silly husband, it's just your worst nightmare!

I read off the viewing times on all three discs (182, 238, and 196 minutes,) and he had a heart attack then and there.

Then, he awoke to the deliciously spicy aroma of homemade ish curry and fell in love with Anne and all of her wonderful ways.

He also decided that Rachel Lynde was why a certain foul word was developed. haha.

And, he also got over the fact that I LOVE Gilbert.

He was a little disturbed at first, but accepted it once I told him that "you're my Gilbert, honey!"


Oh, Gilbert.

So, three hours later, and he's still married to me, which I think is a good sign. We basically said goodnight and I fell asleep, with him joining me an hour or so later.

It was an absolutely perfect night in.

And I didn't even do the dishes!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Lost Weeks

It started when I was in a funk last week.

{Yes, I said funk. Though the term Ennui may be more fitting.}

My funk was a result of rain, lack of sleep {thank you to that ever present sun,} and some overexertion.

I knew what my week was going to look like, and it did NOT look pretty. In fact, there really wasn't much to it. The rain meant that I would be outside at all, and we've just about exhausted walking around the 3 nearest malls in our off hours.

And so, since I was agitated, I put down my camera and declared that "I would not be doing Project 365 this week." Too which Ian grunted his approval and went back to his all consuming news.

Pleased that he approved of this rather rash decision, I tucked my camera away and did not think about it once for the next week and a half.

Apparently I'm taking this week off as well.

Please don't judge.

So, I'm trying to decide if I should just let these two weeks be "Lost weeks," and not let it bother me that Project 365 is really Project 351 OR should I extend 2 weeks into the new year? Hmmm. So much to choose from.

Word on the street is that the sun should be returning to grace us with its presence by tomorrow afternoon (hallelujah.)

Word on this blog is that I've almost saved up enough to buy my new lens! One to Two more weeks!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Swarming Bees, Dandelion Air, and WINNER!

It's been quite a day here in ol' Canada. Today was Queen Victoria's birthday, which is a national holiday that rings in the start of summer, kind of like the American Memorial Day. Weird, celebrating a non American holiday.

Our company had a picnic at a gorgeous park, with quintessential northwestern flora and fauna. 100+ ft conifers with their graceful swooping branches surrounded us and we spread out blankets and had a wonderful cook out. The sun was behind the clouds and it was a bit chilly. When the sun came out and began warming things up a bit, we noticed something very alarming.

80 feet up on one of the trees, a swarm of bees had quickly become agitated. The hive, probably close to two feet tall, was swinging precariously in the wind. The bees slowly became lower and lower on the tree, and we, with the good sense that God has given us, grabbed our blankets and food and high tailed it about 100 feet away. Within minutes, the sun went behind the clouds, the wind died down, the hive stopped swinging, and the bees calmed down.

It was the craziest thing I've ever seen!

And since that was all about "things in the air," I thought I would share with you about a local nuisance that we have been dealing with.

Vancouver has a serious dandelion issue. Like nothing you have ever seen before. 2 weeks ago, it was kind of a beautiful kind of nuisance, with picturesque dandelions littering every inch of grass in this city.

But about two weeks ago, the dandelions began sending their beautiful little fluss into the air. MILLIONS OF THEM. The air is literally FILLED with dandelion fluff.

Like snow in the air.

The sidewalks are lined with banks of fluff.

It's really weird.

Luckily my allergies took a hit and then seems to have gotten over it.

And, the winner of the awesome 500 post giveaway.....

There were only five entries (those who were followers and wrote a post about it,)

Hannah from Life As Mrs. Schreiner. Congratulations! Email me your address and your choice of book and Bath and Body Works!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Budget, Budget, Budget!

I'm really excited about something...

And, if it wasn't obvious about the title, it has a little to do with budgeting!

And by a little, I of course mean everything!

Last week, with the arrival of our April paycheck, Ian and I sat down and hammered out an estimated budget for the first time EVER in our married life!

We've always wanted to have a budget, but with 8 months of unemployment and the other 14 months or so with a very unsteady and unpredictable income, we were simply getting by and were not able to budget.

Now, though we have a very tiny paycheck (close to half of what a teacher would expect,) it is at least dependable, and we were able to sit down and list what types of items we wanted to budget for. So here's a list of things we came up with:

Tithe- it's important for us to give back some of what God has blessed us with.

Savings- in addition to our retirement fund, this is savings for any contingency that may come up, or any large purchase we may want to fund (car, adoption, house down payment?)

Investment- also in addition to our retirement fund, this is our long term savings, meant to supplement our retirement.

Vacation Savings- We opened up a whole new savings account to start putting aside funds for vacation or travels. I'm really excited about this one, because in our {almost} 2 years of marriage we haven't gotten to take one vacation {boo!} but with some careful savings we will!

Credit Card and Student Loan Payments- probably the least fun of our budget items, but it will feel SO good when this is payed off. We're not really using our CC anymore, except for items that our company reimburses us for.

--Pulled out in Cash--

Grocery- This part was interesting, because groceries up here in Canada are VERY expensive, but we {almost} stayed within our weekly budget! Next week we'll only eat out once and I will keep my baking for others done to a minimum, since that is where we went over.

Spending- !!! Ian and I are giving ourselves a small set amount each week to do whatever we want with. Whether it's coffee, date night, a book, or a video game, or even something you want to save up for {can you say camera lens?!?} this is our own money that we don't have to discuss with each other before hand. I'm super psyched about this!


And last but not least, we are leaving a little bit each week in our checking so that eventually we'll have a cushion to fall back on!

That's all. And maybe that was too much personal information, but I love finances and it's great to feel like we are being wise stewards with all that the Lord has provided us with!

How do YOU budget {or do you?}

Thursday, May 20, 2010

500th Post Giveaway!!!!

I can't believe Far More Than Rubies has been in existence for 500 posts!

{As of right now, I suppose!}

I can't say that I've been blogging for 500 posts, because truth be told I "blogged," using Xanga before that. But really those were just notes of an update for my few friends who read it! Now, it's become something totally different!

I've loved blogging (and will continue to blog for a long long time!) and am so lucky to have the chance to form community with all of you!

I've shared many of my goals throughout the past 2 years on here, but one of my blogging goals was to have one hundred readers by the end of this summer. SO, in order to encourage positive growth....

And, in honor of all that is holy in blog world, I would like to invite you to enter into my 500th post giveaway! The prizes are a few of my favorite things (valued at over 70 dollars!):

An Oh So Cute Owl Mag Bag, by Papersource (from Borders)

A metal Bookmark, essential for holding your place on a windy day at the beach! (from Dayspring.)

The Scarlet Pimpernel OR The Count of Monte Cristo, your choice! (from Borders.)

A notecard set, perfect for jotting a note of encouragement to someone special. (from Dayspring.)

Tahiti, Sweetie, the perfect after sun lotion, that has magical powers! Plus 2 of your choice products from Bath and Body Works!

To be eligible to enter, you MUST be a follower and you will get ONE entry if you post about this giveaway on your blog and link back to Far More Than Rubies! Please leave a comment saying you have posted!

The giveaway ends on Sunday, May 23rd, at 8pm EST. Winner will be announced Monday, May 24th at 8 am EST.

All prizes have been bought by me and I am not being paid to promote these items or companies!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

That Anne-Girl

"I'm so glad it's a sunshiny morning. But I like rainy mornings real well, too. All sorts of mornings are interesting, don't you think? You don't know what's going to happen through the day, and there's so much scope for imagination.

But I'm glad it's not rainy to-day because it's easier to be cheerful and bear up under affliction on a sunshiny day. I feel that I have a good deal to bear up under. It's all very well to read about sorrows and imagine yourself living through them heroically, but it's not so nice when you really come to have them, is it?"

I started reading Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery yesterday. I am completely enraptured. There are really no other words to describe me+this book, right now.

I thought that quote perfectly described me and how I feel most mornings.

{I'm a morning person, you know. Ian, he's not a morning person, and how he describes how he feels in the morning is something along the lines of "death, cold toast, and an siren inside of your head."}

I read as I walked to the train, on the train, and as I stood waiting for my bus. I almost cried about a million times. I know the story inside and out, from watching the movies, but have never read them, and a s a purist once told me "the movies are never as goods as the books."

I'm off to dive into Avonlea and be surrounded by beautiful language of a free spirited girl.


Don't forget about tomorrow's post and the great big giveaway!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Enough With the Watermelon!

Today, in our Asian supermarket, I saw a winterberry pie....and felt very uneducated. Winterberry?

Then I went on to find some fresh bagels, but all they had were blueberry like bagels. I say blueberry like because they looked like blueberry bagels but the tag read "MG Bagels."

I'll never know, now will I?


We went to dinner with some people we had met and it lasted until midnight! When she served us tea at eleven, I thought I was going to pass out with exhaustion! And eleven thirty rolled around and she broke out a watermelon.

All I could think was, "Enough with the watermelon already!"


Arab child rearing practices make my head spin.


Think about how a military dad would run the family, then think of the complete opposite of that and you'll be picturing most Arab families. Especially with an only child or with any sons.


At our dinner with our new friends, their 4 year old stayed up until midnight. She didn't eat her dinner and only ate chips. She ran into the bathroom, put her head under the running faucet at shook her wet head like a dog. Lather, Rinse, Repeat. And she did. 4 more times. Dessert for her started around 10:30 and consisted of 3 slices of pie and several cookies.



Coming up shortly will be an AMAZING giveaway. I'm stoked.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Lynn Canyon

We had the day off yesterday, and decided to head up the the nearby {and free!} park in North Vancouver, called Lynn Canyon Park.

It's more along the lines of what we would call a state/national park in the US, with great infrastructure, trails, a cafe, and a suspension bridge over a "canyon," or gorge.

A couple of our friends invited on this day outing and we had such a great time!

My handsome hubby and his oh-so-cute dimples!

After crossing the suspension bridge, we hiked down to Lynn Creek and did some 'sploring!

Lauren, checking out the water (very cold!)

Ian barefooted it into the {near} middle of the very cold and fast rushing river! He was happy to get back on warm rocks!

I stood and marveled at God's creation for awhile!

And acted like the paparazzi to our friends...

Then we hiked a little further down and saw the "swimming hole," which we plan on frequenting once the temperature reaches 70 or above.

A book, a packed picnic lunch, a warm towel, and I will be good to go!

The boys, hamming it up for the camera(s.)

Found another bridge and the boys had "spitting," contests over the edge. Boys, boys, boys....

Did a little more hiking, saw some waterfalls, and avoided all bears. Awesome.

We stopped and got dinner at a great Italian place and took the ferry back across the bay to Vancouver. Hopped on the skytrain (where I fell asleep!) and made it home for an evening of relaxation!
Can't wait to go back here!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Where's Waldo?

Or, you know, where is Brittney?

I took this picture last week, and thought it was pretty funny of how anonymous it was.

So anonymous, that it took me about 20 minutes to figure out where I was!

Can you figure it out? What is your guess?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dating As an Institution

You've all heard the sage advice...make dating an institution in your life, even after you are married!

Ian and I totally agree with this statement, in theory, but were too poor for the last year or so to make it more than a monthly/bimonthly event.

Now that we are "settling," in, ie a full time job, a home where our parents don't also live, and a dependable (albeit teeny tiny,) paycheck, we decided to make a commitment to "dating," each other again on a weekly basis.

We thought that the weekend would be a good time to try to stick to, but after realizing that the Arab world has a different weekend than the Western world (I believe we'll have "off," on Friday and Saturday, which is the UAE weekend, but we'll be living in Oman which has a Thursday-Friday weekend, weird huh?) we realized that we wanted to start getting ourselves prepared for that lifestyle, so we are trying Monday nights as date nights.

It's a good night for us, because Mondays are usually so depressing and hard anyways, so its been nice to have something to look forward to without tying up our weekends!

Two weeks in and so far so good! It feels really great to drop everything, get out of the house, and spend time with my husband. This week was a double date with our friends, and we ate at a cafe and saw Iron Man II (which was great!)

I can't wait to see what else we get to do together this summer and to see how date night will look when we get to the UAE!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Week 17- Project 365

These are my pictures from April 26 to May 2! I love seeing how comfortable I am with the manual settings of my camera. I can pick up my camera, adjust and "snap," very quickly now, especially when in natural lighting.

I love natural lighting, especially that of the early morning (light and diffused,) and right before sunset ( a warm look with neat shadows.) I am really excited about having 18+ hours of sunlight this summer and hope to have several photo shoots under my belt before moving in August!

We ran out of toilet paper. It was quite the disaster. And this was me, finally caving and not buying "American," toilet paper!

The "for sale," signs outside of our complex. Funny story behind these: there is a homeless man with some mental issues that are quite infatuated with hitting things and counting them, at a yelling decibel. It's a little disturbing at 3 am in the morning, ha!

Ian let me "style," his hair one night! Faux-hawk it is! He got his hair cut the next day, ha!

I'm sure everyone is tired of hearing about my love for clementines by now! So I won't say much more!

Last tulips of the season! They have them everywhere here and they are drop dead gorgeous!

We had a progressive dinner with some of our co workers and their families on a Saturday afternoon/evening!

At the Vancouver Marathon on May 2nd! Ice sculpture of a shoe, of course.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Oh, you're going to thank me for this..

Oh Yes.

This, well this is just heavenly.
Perhaps sinful is a better adjective.

This, this is Creamy Nutella and Banana stuffed french toast.

I got my inspiration from Tasty Kitchen, where there is posted a stuffed french toast recipe.

But I didn't have strawberries, so I substituted sliced bananas, 1/2 package of cream cheese, and 4 tbsp Nutella, making them following the directions on Tasty Kitchen.

They turned out great! I loved how warm and gooey the filling got and they were crispy on the outside.

I would add 2-3 tsp of sugar when I mixed together the cream cheese/nutella/banana, in order to counteract the saltiness of the cream cheese.