Ramen Bella

Today I took my daughters out for lunch. We stopped in at a local eatery that opened up late last year- Ramen Bella. We have been to a variety of Ramen restaurants in Seattle, Calgary and even Tokyo. Finally having a Ramen Restaurant nearby our home made me happy. So naturally we had to test it out.

They have some unique fusion styles of noodle soup. I enjoyed the Matcha Latte Ramen. Which is exactly as it sounds- and it had a side of lime.

My oldest enjoyed The Black ramen. It had a very dark shoyu tare broth seasoned with garlic flakes.

My other daughter opted for the traditional miso style broth. All of our ramen came with the same style noodles, sliced pork, and corn in the broth. We left satisfied with our meals and full bellies.

Supporting small business is always something I encourage. Trying new restaurants and sharing positive experiences is something else I like to do. If you live in the Fraser Valley- head out to Ramen Bella for a lovely meal.

Never Too Serious

I’m a fan of living life for the sheer enjoyment of it. I have never taken myself that seriously. I don’t think anyone else takes me too seriously either. How could you?

Some days I dress based on how I feel. Be it a superhero or a goofball. I don’t think I have one set look. Jeans and a t-shirt is my comfort zone I guess. But I can still dress elegantly when I want.

When I take selfies with friends and family- I bring out some fun in their hearts as well. I love seeing people smile and express a bit more of their crazy side.

Even the few celebrities that I’ve taken pictures with have enjoyed that I don’t need to be uncomfortable or serious. The biggest constant in who I am is that I’m ever changing. Monty Python sang it best:

Life’s a laugh and death’s a joke, it’s true
You’ll see it’s all a show
Keep ’em laughing as you go
Just remember that the last laugh is on you

Old Dog Lex

Our puppy is growing old. I love him tremendously since we first met. We adopted him back in January 2013 to be a friend to our old dog- Chuppy. Little did I know that he would also be such an integral part of our lives.

He was such a goofball back then even at age four. This picture is from the day we drove him home with us. He has always been a perfect match for our family from the first day we met him.

As all dogs go- he is quite content to be lazy. But he also tries to stay energized when he knows that there is a potential walk about to happen.

He’s still a lovable goofball. Even as he gets slower and has difficulty keeping up. He wants to be a young pup- but his age is catching up. So Happy Belated Adoption Day Lex!

Blue Monday 2020

Today is the third Monday of the year. It is also dubbed “Blue Monday”. Last year I was having a string of bad luck (read about it Here: Blue Monday). This year has not been nearly as bad- knock on wood as they say.

However I am feeling more gloomy than usual. I’m not to sure as to why. I think it’s because I haven’t been distracting myself lately from the daily routines. Perhaps it’s the weather? Maybe it’s those bills that I don’t like. Chances are it’s an accumulation of everything.

I think tonight after dinner it will be time for a nice cup of tea and a book. Try and change up the routine of passing out to some show on Netflix. Shake up the monotony of life a bit.

Do you experience Blue Monday? How do you combat Blue Monday?

Fireplace Cooking

The other day I mentioned how we love to use our Fireplace. After discovering a better way to warm our home with it, I wanted to go the next step. Let’s cook!

I’ve also always loved Cooking with Cast Iron. The versatility of the cookware is amazing. I love having the ability to move the cookware to any type of cooking area. Be it stove top, oven, BBQ, or open fire- Cast Iron is fantastic.

Last night I chose to make dinner in a Cast Iron Dutch Oven while using our fireplace. I already had a warm fire going for a couple of hours. I moved the fire and embers to one side of the fireplace and lay a cast iron griddle across the grate on the other side.

I prepared an eye of round roast with a dry rub of salt, pepper and Montreal Steak Spice. I put that into the Dutch oven and let it cook using indirect heat. I kept the fire going on the opposite side in order to keep the heat at a continuous hot temperature. I ended up cooking the roast for approximately 2 hours in order to fully cook it. Once o removed the roast from the fireplace I key it rest prior to carving it.

While I kept the fire going, my wife and daughter worked on the side dish. Roasted Root Vegetables. This included potatoes, garlic, beets, and carrots mixed with olive oil and some rosemary stems. My wife cooked them on a baking sheet at 400° for approximately 40 minutes. The vegetables turned out amazing.

The roast also turned out perfect. Inside of the dutch oven was quite a bit of liquid, so we made a gravy for dinner as well. For a first time using our fireplace to cook with, I’d say dinner was eligible for a repeat occurrence.

Have you ever cooked in a fireplace

Fireplace

I love our wood burning fireplace. It gives off a great ambiance to the home. Recently I tried to figure out– How do you build a good fire in a fireplace?

With winter in full force for the first time in years, we have been using our fireplace to heat up our home more often. Here is what I was taught to do when building a fire:

  1. Crumple some newspaper and place under the grate and on the grate.
  2. Place wood kindling lengthwise with the grate. Put on two pieces of wood on top.
  3. Put two more pieces of wood perpendicular to the first two.
  4. Ensure the damper is open.
  5. Twist a long piece of newspaper and light it. Hold it carefully into the flue in order to create a draft.
  6. Light the paper under the grate.
  7. Enjoy the fire.
  • I have been lightning fires like this for decades. I found that I kept adding wood and burning faster thinking I needed flames to create heat. The other day I discovered a new technique and it really made the house much warmer.
  • Essentially you build the fire upside down compared to what I had been doing for years.
    1. Start with two or three large pieces of wood and lay them lengthwise and tight together.
      Lay three more pieces perpendicular on top of the first layer. Again making sure it is tight.
      Now add the kindling on top along with crumpled newspapers.
    1. Ensure the damper is open.
    2. Twist a long piece of newspaper and light it. Hold it carefully into the flue in order to create a draft.
    3. Light the paper and kindling that was stacked on the top.
    4. Enjoy the fire as it burns from the top down making more of a hot ember base.
  • The six or so pieces of wood burn slower and last much long than the old way. Going for ambiance- I’ll still light a fire my old way. But with negative temperatures- heat is the priority.
  • Here is a video that I found that explains the new way: Perfect Fire. I’m in no way connected with the YouTube video- I just found it very helpful and wanted to share.
  • I love living in the country and the lifestyle that comes with it. But one day we will move and I’ll have to enjoy a gas fireplace instead.
  • Are you keeping warm the winter with a wood burning fireplace or do you prefer gas?
  • Winter Hats

    Who makes the best winter hats? Clearly I’m going to tell you it’s my wife! She has been making fleece hats for almost fifteen years. So she knows a thing or two about what she’s doing. She’s the definition of a “Mompreneur”.

    What does the Fox say?

    As a family, we’ve had so much fun because of her small business. From sporting these great hats to attending a Multitude of Comic Conventions. Nowadays, my wife and I are far too busy to attend those shows, but she still makes hats from her online store- Ningen Headwear.

    So while your stuck at home and despising the weather- surf the Internet and check out Ningen Headwear . My wife would be happy to make custom colored hats to keep you warm this winter!

    N’Ice

    Oh man. It’s been cold in the Vancouver area lately. An unpleasant type of cold. The kind of cold that only the rest of Canada experiences. Hey Winnipeg-come get your weather, it appears to be lost.

    For the first time ever, the water on our downspout chain froze. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen ice formed from our roof or eaves ever. It’s not right!

    Someone can come and take this snow and ice away any time now. Our two days of winter are over. I really hope it doesn’t last much longer. Not experiencing snow and ice is the main reason we stay living in the Lower Mainland.

    More BC Winter Games Excitement For Our Family

    Besides the awesome news that our son will be competing at BC Winter Games (read about it here: 2020 Skating Journey), we received some other news yesterday as well. Our daughter Darwin is also attending! However, she won’t be skating competitively, she will be there in a different role.

    She applied for and was accepted to take part in BC Speed Skating’s Young Officials program. That means as a young official, she will receive officials’ training and will officiate at the Games (primarily as track stewards), as well as serving as athlete mentors to the skaters competing at the Games. This is a perfect position for her since she was once a cheerleader and has always supported our club in many aspects. She is a junior coach a couple of times a week and has volunteered at numerous meets throughout BC.

    Young Officials also get to travel and be with the athletes throughout the Games. My wife and I will be attending as spectators during the BC Winter Games. We will be hiding in the audience as our children take center stage ice. This event is exciting for us all and kind of a big stepping stone for the future of our children.

    Thanks for reading this proud parent post. Be aware that many more are still to come!

    Frosty

    I find the biggest downside to winter is warming up my car. I can deal with snow and even ice. I just hate waiting for my car to get warm and de-fog.

    This morning I decided to sit in my car and write this blog as I waited for my windows to clear up. I did my best to wait for complete visibility, but I’m cutting the blog short so I can start driving as the rest of my car warms up. My seat warmer works really well and I just feel like getting going.

    I can’t wait for warmer weather to return.