Do You Remember?

Do you remember? The 21st night of September?

My wife loves that song. Her friends often look forward to singing it to her every year. I find it humorous and have written about it in the past: 21st Night of September . Today got me thinking about my wife and how she remembers the way I like things done. Specifically preparing food.

Now, I’m not saying that the way I like my food prepared is right, but it is how I like my food. It used to cause many discussions years ago, but now my wife just goes with it. Usually.

I’m a big texture and taste person when it comes to food. I don’t overly care if different food touches on a plate, so that’s not it. It’s more how the flavors mix. For example- when making a sandwich- the mustard side needs to be the side the meat is on, not the cheese. Cheese on mustard has a very different taste and texture compared to meat and mustard. Trust me.

Mr Noodles… the instructions on the packet are wrong. The noodles need to be placed in the water immediately and then brought to a boil. Once the noodles are soft, drain all the water. Then put the noodles in a bowl and add the flavor packet. This isn’t a soup we are making! It’s called Mr. Noodles not Mr. Soup.

Because of these preferences, I will admit that I am the one who usually ends up making the lunches. My wife will adhere to my choices when making something for me, which is nice, and has on occasion agreed with how I make foods. Like a dash of salt after goulash is served. It brings out the flavor immensely as you are about to eat.

However it’s not just food preferences I need to work on with her. I still need to get her to understand that the toilet paper flap goes over the roll, not behind it.

And with that, I am off to escape to work to avoid confrontation once she reads my blog.

Love you honey!

Oktoberfest 2022

Last night some coworkers and I went out to Oktoberfest at my favorite brewery- Trading Post. We went four years ago at the Fort Langley location (read about it here: Oktoberfest 2018) and had a blast. Last night was at their brewery location- which was really fun.

I reserved a large table last week because I knew there would be at least six of us. At the last minute, I had my boss’s boss join us as well. I was honestly surprised at how little we talked about work and just had a riot.

With the table came three large platters of food. We also ordered one more because with eight of us- we were drinking a lot and eating a lot.

Throughout the night, we enjoyed some Bavarian Oompah music from a trio of musicians. As well, we entered a couple contests- like chugging a 2 liter boot of beer in the fastest time- our group came in second. But at the end of the night, I won a draw and got to bring home a smaller boot of my very own.

If you are wanting to let loose in Langley on a Friday night- there are two more weeks of this going on. Check out the Trading Post Website for more details and to book a table. You won’t be disappointed. Just make sure you have a safe ride home like we arranged.

Cheers!

Harvest Followed by Relaxing

Today was a bit hazy and hot out. My wife decided that it was a perfect day to harvest some of her tomatoes and peppers. That way she could work in the kitchen preparing ways to preserve them.

She began by cutting up her banana peppers into rings. She kept the colours of the peppers separated once sliced up. While she was doing this, she had a vinegar brine solution simmering on the stovetop. I stirred it up occasionally. (I’m helpful!)

We currently have three jars of pickled peppers on our counter. Even though I’m not a big fan of pickled food, they sure did smell good. I have a feeling we will be enjoying these over the next couple of months in a variety of ways.

My wife took a break from doing anything with the tomatoes today. As the sky began to clear up, and the smoke rolled away- we hit the swimming pool for a little Sunday relaxation.

We spent hours in the pool. At one point before dinner, our 16 year old and 18 year old also hit the pool. It was a nice afternoon of using the water to cool off. Summer sure doesn’t feel like it’s over. But nature is sometimes pushing to get autumn onto our doorstep.

We can tell by the fruits and vegetables from our garden being ripe and ready to consume.

Road Trip: Leaving Disneyland

We said goodbye to Disneyland yesterday and began our journey home. It was supposed to be 14 hours. However it took us 16.5 hours. We stopped for lunch and dinner, but we also took a wrong turn at one point.

Starting another early day meant the teenagers were exhausted. They slept and were generally quiet the entire drive. No fighting or bickering was happening. Honestly, they lasted longer than my wife and I did at the parks. The rest in the car was well deserved.

We stopped for lunch at In-N-Out Burger once more. Across the street was a McDonald’s, so we picked up some Road Nuggies as well. This is where things went a bit sideways as we left to get back on the I-5.

At this point we were driving on the I-5 heading towards San Francisco/Sacramento. Somehow my wife was distracted and we missed the split and wandered towards San Francisco. We caught it after about forty five minutes. Time to turn around and get back on track. Worst part- we did the same thing last road trip three years ago! Ugh.

We probably would’ve noticed sooner if we had our cellphones on. But paying a roaming charge in another country is a little bit outrageous. So we had gone old school and printed off directions prior to the trip. Although… maybe we should have read them instead of just driving… oh well.

We finally made it to our hotel by 11:30pm. About an hour and a half later than we wanted. Just enough time for popcorn, some television and sleep. Road trips mean hitting the road early. So sleep is limited- and we are off for the last part to get home.

Disneyland 2022: Day 3- Another Disney Day

We just finished our third day in a row at the Disneyland Park. We were there bright and early again. In fact, we were able to get to rope drop and be first in line.

Once the rope dropped, we hustled to Galaxy’s Edge and got onto Rise of the Resistance without stopping. That walk took us six minutes and was worth the rush.

Most of our day was casually hitting a few rides, meeting some characters and eating. Theory got a set of ears and had them embroidered. We got lucky and we arrived in Tomorrowland just after Space Mountain had broken down. As our son walked up to ask if they knew how long it would be down for- the ride reopened. Again, we walked right on to the ride. Once it was over, three of us walked right back on before the line grew once more.

The rest of the afternoon was shopping, followed by hours at Galaxy’s Edge. Our two kids decided that they wanted to build their own Lighsabers. Which was a pretty cool experience.

For day three, we had a pretty good time. Now onto our fourth and final day!

Road Trip 2022: Beginnings

Wednesday we departed our home at 4:30am. Our trip was taking us south towards California. Because we were so early, we missed the rush hour traffic in Seattle. Shortly after that we paused at a rest stop and traded driving- it was now my turn. That lasted only about an hour until I got a speeding ticket. Now I’m not allowed to drive the rest of the trip.

Anyways… I got us to Voodoo Donuts in Oregon for 11am breakfast. After getting a sugar rush, my wife was driving and we were excitedly bouncing to some sing-along-songs until our next stop.

Shortly after 2pm we stopped for In-N-Out Burger. Seriously good burgers for an amazingly good price. Five burgers for $21. With fully bellies, it was time to get on the road for our final push for the day.

Ok, we drove for about an hour before we stopped at our usual rest stop in Weed. A quick stretch, bathroom break and photos… then it was onto our last stop. About five hours later we made it to the hotel. That last chunk was not so bad, until about the last leg of the journey. Because we knew today was coming to an end. All of us needed to get our bodies out of the car. It was as if we were suffering from rigor mortis.

On the bright side, we are now spaced out and refreshed in our hotel room. With only five and a half hours tomorrow remaining for our trip, I’m pretty sure we will do it in one go. Then we will be free of the car for almost five days. During which time, we will be walking. A lot. But that’s where the fun comes in!

Road Trip 2022: Beginnings

Wednesday we departed our home at 4:30am. Our trip was taking us south towards California. Because we were so early, we missed the rush hour traffic in Seattle. Shortly after that we paused at a rest stop and traded driving- it was now my turn. That lasted only about an hour until I got a speeding ticket. Now I’m not allowed to drive the rest of the trip.

Anyways… I got us to Voodoo Donuts in Oregon for 11am breakfast. After getting a sugar rush, my wife was driving and we were excitedly bouncing to some sing-along-songs until our next stop.

Shortly after 2pm we stopped for In-N-Out Burger. Seriously good burgers for an amazingly good price. Five burgers for $21. With fully bellies, it was time to get on the road for our final push for the day.

Ok, we drove for about an hour before we stopped at our usual rest stop in Weed. A quick stretch, bathroom break and photos… then it was onto our last stop. About five hours later we made it to the hotel. That last chunk was not so bad, until about the last leg of the journey. Because we knew today was coming to an end. All of us needed to get our bodies out of the car. It was as if we were suffering from rigor mortis.

On the bright side, we are now spaced out and refreshed in our hotel room. With only five and a half hours tomorrow remaining for our trip, I’m pretty sure we will do it in one go. Then we will be free of the car for almost five days. During which time, we will be walking. A lot. But that’s where the fun comes in!

Fun Lies To Children

Having small kids is filled with telling them lies. Many of the lies are done in order to calm or control the kids in some way. I know many parents who have told the same lies I have told.

The Three Big Lies

Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy are the three main lies we have told to our children. These fibs led to some good behavior and some magical moments as they grew up. It is always fun to be the character behind the curtain and make their dreams come true. A few gifts, some candy, a dollar or two. But I have a couple of other lies I have told over the years that I found amusing.

ID4

Telling our children at a young age that the move Independence Day was based on true events brought me joy. I wrote about it here: ID 4. Watching the film every year is one of my guilty pleasures. The kids also enjoy the film, so no harm no foul in telling them that lie.

However, my favorite lie was telling my kids that when the ice cream truck was playing music- it meant they were out of ice cream. That worked for a very long time. Each of them just grew to accept that we weren’t going to buy a frozen treat. Our youngest was the last to discover the truth. One day our son was over at a neighbor’s house and those parents went and bought ice cream from The Ice Cream Man.

I saw him getting a treat as I was leaving for work that day. Not sure if it was guilt in his face for being caught, or the look was the fact that he realized that I was always lying about the music. At least now if the truck comes to the neighborhood, our teenagers have their own money to spend if they choose to.

Is there any lies you have told kids in order to humor yourself, save money or perhaps your sanity? Let me know in the comments.

Finally A Cheap Breakfast

With everything going on in the world, it’s nice to find a deal locally. Food prices are high, gas prices are fluctuating, but sometimes a place just goes against the norm and delivers.

Our downstairs tenants mentioned they went for breakfast yesterday at a local restaurant called “The Henry”. They told us that there is a $4.99 breakfast. Two eggs, hash browns, toast and a choice of bacon or sausage. For five bucks, it was worth a shot.

Honestly, the breakfast was pretty darn good. The service was also good. However, the coffee was not something I would buy again next time. Yes, there will be a next time.

So if you live in Langley or Surrey- definitely make your way to The Henry in Cloverdale for some cheap eats. It’s located on the street just south from the old Clova cinema. Some of my old friends may remember the location as an old strip club (just sayin’). My how times have changed.

I digress. It was a good Sunday brunch. Now to relax.

Aqua Thursday

We had another fun filled afternoon and evening yesterday with our friends. We listened to music, had a few drinks, lounged in the pool, and ate a wonderful meal out on the deck. Our friend even did synchronized pool floatie dancing to Celine Dion for us.

It was a ton of fun, as always. I really enjoy their company and love spending time with friends.

I only captured a couple of photos as my phone is often the one that is playing music. This gives me more opportunity to be attentive to the conversations. A lull in talks didn’t have me reaching for my phone. In fact it was quite the opposite. It meant it was time for a new conversation topic.

Joking and playing around in the pool is loads of fun. Being an adult doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. If anything, I realize that who cares what other people think- just enjoy life! And enjoy it with friends.

We Made Pizzas!

Yesterday we made homemade pizzas. My wife made the dough and then I rolled it out once it was proofed. After the dough was in the pan, I let the pizzas proof a bit longer before we added toppings. That was one of the tricks I learned working at Chuck E. Cheese’s.

We had enough dough that we could have made four large pizzas. However, I only had two pizza pans. So I used a thin cast iron pan, two smaller individual cast iron pans and a baking sheet for the other pizzas. Surprisingly they all cooked perfectly!

The two small ones we put on bbq sauce instead of pizza sauce. Then we added pork, peppers and onions. The baking sheet one was just two types of cheese and super gooey! One of the pizzas we used ranch dressing (with a bit of flour to thicken it) and put only spinach and mozzarella on top.

Every single pizza had its unique flavour. As an added trick I learned from Chuck E. Cheese’s- I spread garlic butter on the crust once each was out of the oven. Best crust ever!

I really enjoy making things with dough. Time to start experimenting with other breads and treats. I think we should make some cheesy breadsticks next.

Home Cooked Memories

Taking pictures of a meal might seem a little bit facetious and cringe worthy at times. But I appreciate that I shared them years ago, because it has inspired me to make the same or very similar meals again.

Years ago, we made a “Surf n’ Turf” dinner. Steak, pasta, and crab. We are outdoors on our back deck- which was always something that my wife and I have done. The blue plates have been put aside for a few years now, same with those old placemats. So I know this picture is a few years old.

Last night we had almost the same meal. A steak with pasta and crab. The only change was instead of an Alfredo sauce, we had sautéed spinach with garlic butter. Again though, we are outside on our back deck to enjoy the meal. This time instead of trees and dusk settling in on us, we were watching the clouds roll on by.

I love to cook and try creating new meals. Sometimes classics are equally as amazing. Once you make a perfect steak- you always want to try and recreate that moment. Taking a picture of some of our other meals has inspired me to make them more often. Homemade breads are popular in our household, yet we don’t make them very often.

Do you take pictures of your meals? I’m glad I do. Especially when you don’t know what to have for dinner. Boom- inspiration.

Theory aka The Roy Turned 16

Today is our youngest’s birthday. He turned 16. It’s a big deal because now he can go and start to learn how to drive. That’s truly exciting!

He also wanted to do something else more grown up- he wanted to make dinner. He asked if I could help him make schnitzel the way I make it. Which is a variation on the recipe my father used to do. Theory’s comfort level with cooking is getting better. Dinner was delicious!

In true teenage fashion, getting a nice photo of him wasn’t happening. So I ended up with a bunch of blurry, hands in the face, head turning photos tonight. But in the end, he wanted to spend time with me. Both watching tv and making dinner. That was more a gift for me I think.

The one gift I’m really happy about that we gave him was a license plate. It was hand painted by a street artist who tags rail cars. His name is also Theory. I reached out to him a while back and paid for a piece in order to gift it to our son. I’m really happy with how perfect the gift was for Theory since he will soon be driving.

So a big shout out to our son on his birthday!

Happy birthday Theory! Who also goes by these names:

  • The Roy
  • Theor Bear
  • T Bear
  • Bearbee
  • B Bear
  • Bear
  • Scrufty
  • Boy Darwin
  • Boy Random
  • The Boy

We love you buddy. We are so proud of who you are becoming.

Pretzels!

Yesterday was National Pretzel day (as well as Alien Day). So naturally pretzels needed to be eaten. Something wonderful about eating fresh made, salty, doughy treats! I do enjoy store bought crunchy pretzels as well. Those go great at parties.

Homemade pretzels and pretzel bites are something else. Check out Terri’s amazing Pretzel Bites Recipe here. Super easy recipes that kids can make. Of course these soft pretzels needed mustard as a side.

Delicious soft pretzels… especially if served hot and fresh… can make you feel so good. I’ll even order some at a pub or Oktoberfest because what besides mustard, what else goes good with a warm pretzel? Beer! I just wish I had one of those last night, but alas no beer was available for me.

Did you enjoy some pretzels yesterday? Or did you watch Alien? Perhaps both like I did?

Best Burgers Ever

Las Vegas definitely has a lot to offer. But the one thing that was outstanding was the burgers we ate.

Two days in a row I hit up In-N-Out Burger. I’m not going to lie, they serve up the best fast food burgers in the Western United States. I have never had a bad experience at any of the restaurants. I have blogged numerous times in the past about In-N-Out Burger and how much we love it. (My wife is upset that I went twice on my trip!)

But the best burger I have ever eaten in my life was at Gordon Ramsay Burger. I can’t even… seriously… absolutely delicious! The quality of beef, the spices, the cheeses, the bun- all of it was cooked to perfection. I also had it medium done, which was something I have never had in a burger.

If I didn’t spend $60 USD on a burger and beer, I’d consider going there again. But I do worry that in doing so, I may not love the food as much in the future. It’s the sensation that the memories and the first time experience are most vivid and exciting.

At the end of the day, I’ll always have In-N-Out Burger. They have not disappointed.

Daddy/Darwin Time: Day 1

My wife and son have taken off to Quebec for a few days. Our son is competing in a speed skating event this Thursday and Friday. So as they are off jet setting to the icy tundra of central Canada- I am at home with our middle child.

It started off not so great. I was at work, and She went off to school. But right at the start of her day- she texted me that she had lost her Compass Card (that’s the bus pass for the Vancouver and Fraser Valley). I had just put $30 on it the other day to make sure she had a way to get to and from school. Needless to say, I had to cancel that card and move the amount to another card. She had to borrow $2 from a friend to get home.

I was certain that this event would make for a crummy start to our week at home together. Luckily, I was wrong.

I came home to a messy kitchen. Darwin decided to make fresh pasta for dinner! She was hoping to be done and cleaned up before I got home. I am so happy that she didn’t let the little set back affect her attitude today. Now I’m cleaning the kitchen and we are getting ready to have a nice dinner together.

I’m going to cut my blog short so we can hang out. I do hope we have more ups than downs this week!

Food Trucks!

This weekend there is a Food Truck Wars going on just up the road from our home. My wife and I took our middle child and wandered around. There was so much food! Plus it was busy. Feels as though we are getting back to a sense of normalcy in the world.

We hit up four of the trucks in order to sample some of the goodies. By far the Greek Honey Balls were the favorite of ours. But all of it was delicious. We spent a little over an hour there wandering around trying to figure out what to eat. The lineups were huge, but well worth the time spent!

I haven’t had much in the way of food truck foods. In fact I can count it on one hand how many times I’ve eaten street food prior to today. All of these vendors are good at what they make. I do enjoy supporting small businesses as well.

If you’re looking for a chance to get out and enjoy the sun- hit up a food truck or two!

Friday Fun

Today was a day of shopping and just having fun. My fun consisted of the following:

Finished shopping at Costco, so I sat in a prime spot and ate my hotdog. Numerous people wanted my spot, but I just sat there eating. Now don’t go thinking I’m a jerk. First of all- there is no seating at Costco, and who wants to drive home and eat a cold hotdog? Secondly, I built some karma points to offset this by helping and older lady lift some heavy items into her trunk. I was also being kind to drivers on the road and allowing merging from store driveways. So there’s that.

For the afternoon, it’s time for some European treats. My favorite drink combo: IRN-BRU and vodka will bring forth some memories and fun. The chocolate Flake bars will also necessitate a sugar high.

Time to enjoy the afternoon!

Pantry Organization For Average People

My wife and I have been at odds over how to keep the pantry organized. I put things in the way I like it, and she re-arranges it to how she likes it. In the end, I have to concede and like it the way she likes it.

My way of organizing was so that I could see the stuff I wanted to mostly use at eye level… for my height. My wife wants things to be at “normal” eye level. It’s not my fault that genetics made me over two meters tall at six foot eight inches. Currently in our household I am still the tallest.

My wife and I have often made meals together. I guess now, she’s the one who has to get the items from “eye level” and I get the things from the upper shelves. Most of the stuff is at her height because that how she likes it.

I will say I do like the organization of items. I guess that’s a popular thing to do these days- take stuff out of packages and put it into new containers. In the end, if my wife is happy, then I’ll be content with the organizational style.

Spring Break Staycation

As my last day comes to an end, I think I had a relatively great staycation. A quick look back at the last ten days showed how busy it was. As well as how productive it ended up being.

We did a bunch of gardening, went to a speed skating meet last weekend, had a night on the town for my birthday, and built a gazebo as a family. We built some Lego, and our oldest came to visit and we all had a delightful time. There really isn’t much more I could ask for.

All in all it was a great birthday week. I’m glad I spent it with my family.

Dinner And Music

Last night my wife took me out to a fancy dinner at the hotel we were staying at. We went a bit early to enjoy the lounge because there was live music being played.

We sat across from the piano player. He mentioned that he was taking requests. So I asked for “Easy” by Commodores. He played it immediately and my wife and I grooved to the song. When we were being seated for dinner, the maitre’d asked if we still wanted to be seated near the piano. So we did.

We had a beautiful dinner together. I requested a couple more songs, and the pianist obliged. He played “Memories” by Dean Martin (the piano player said he will add this to his repertoire after) and “Your Song” by Elton John. Our dinner was elegant and by far the best meal I have had this year.

I enjoyed my birthday dinner tremendously. The company was exactly what I wanted and the entertainment was on point.

Skinflint Supper

All my life I have been very conscious of my spending. I’m not always good as saving money, but I do my best. Shopping is a lot of what’s on sale and price matching.

If I choose to eat fast food, which is maybe twice a month, I will order from the value menu or use coupons. Last night I order some McDonald’s using the app. And I saved big time. (No, I am not sponsored by the Golden Arches, nor do I really consider it a healthy food choice.)

My total should have been $10.58 plus tax. Instead I paid $1.05 after taxes for my order. That’s because the app gave me a coupon for a $1 burger which I used. But because I generally use the app to order food (I find the accuracy of my order has increased) I am now gaining “Points”. So I used some points and got a free large fries. I felt really proud of myself for such a good deal.

However it got me thinking… since it was so cheap does that mean I can get an extra day of fast food this month? The other question that arises is, what is the dollar amount that would constitute a “meal” because clearly spending one dollar isn’t it in my mind.

For now, as I try and sleep after a night shift, I’ll just let the stomach pains tell me it was a bad idea- and that twice a month for junk fast food is more than enough- no matter the cost.

Too Busy For A Real Meal

This morning was a hustle and bustle kind of day. Kids to school, get gas, hit Costco, grocery store and Home Depot… rush home to unload and then off to a different Home Depot to buy what I wanted. Kind of frustrating trying to get a patio set these days it seems. But I was successful in acquiring it!

What was great was the sales associate at Home Depot was happy to help me load up my car- it meant they didn’t need to find a place to store the set as it was on a palette and in the shipping area. Once at my vehicle- two more employees came to help load it up. Which was awesome! I strapped everything down and drove home.

I got home and my wife came to meet me in the driveway. I was taking the straps off and we took the table off the roof rack. The remaining benches and chairs were in my vehicle and very heavy! my wife made a comment that I should wait until I could get friends over to help move the set. At this point, some random jogger stopped and offer help to move it from my vehicle to the garage. Awesome! Totally appreciated it. Then he ran off.

Because of all my running around, I didn’t have time to make a nice lunch for myself. So I went old school living on my own style. Mac n’ Cheese with a can of tuna and a cheap beer on the side. Perfect for just myself. Honestly, who am I trying to impress these days?

I’m looking forward to the spring and summer when I can really enjoy the weather. Even the small glimpse of it was a nice addition to my day. But I want to give out a big cheers to the three Home Depot employees and the random jogger who helped me today! You guys are the mvps of my day! Thank you!

Costco Membership

On Saturday afternoon my wife and I braved the Costco hordes. Not the smartest thing to do. Parking was a nightmare (as it always is on a weekend). And everyone seemed grumpy. But we were there for something completely different than our regular shopping.

I finally got myself a Costco Membership. The last time my name was on a Costco Card was in 2004. I had needed it working at Chuck E Cheese’s for last minute food items.

My wife had been sharing a membership with her parents for nearly 20 years. It worked out that at one point my wife and her parents were technically at the same address when they signed up for the card. Everything was working well up until recently.

My wife used to have a work schedule she would be able to maneuver around in order to go shopping when it was slow. But since we moved, she has been working steady 8-4 Monday to Friday and is stuck late evenings to go shopping or the dreaded weekend.

Now it is my turn to do the grocery shopping. I have been going out on Thursday mornings after dropping the kids off at school. But since I couldn’t hit up Costco, she would have to go again for another shop. I’m legitimately thrilled that on my days off, I can do this shopping. It will allow for more quality time with the family not running errands anymore.

The challenge will be to not spend an abundance on things we do not need!

Goober

So my wife bought something from Costco the other week that she was really excited for. It was a snack food item called Smucker’s Goober.

This item is peanut butter and strawberry jam in a single jar. I had heard of this from the 70’s and 80’s, but never tried it. Which is really very odd since I grew up during that time when snack foods were heavily processed and my mother actively brought home many of the iterations of food products for us to consume. I was always more partial to orange marmalade and honey vs jelly and jams.

As pretty as it looked, I was unimpressed by the taste and texture. My wife was also a bit disappointed and assured me that the grape jelly flavor is superior. I don’t doubt that. But grape jelly is not one of the flavors we ever have stocked in our home even if it’s not pre-mixed with peanut butter. My wife prefers raspberry or mixed berry jam and I’ll eat strawberry jam on occasion.

Perhaps we will try the grape/pb Goober one day. Or that may end up being that special treat that we will have in our pantry as we get older and are closer to retiring. Like when we eventually get An RV To Travel it would make sense to minimize how much stuff you have.

Have you tried Goober? Is the grape flavor better, the same, or worse than strawberry?

Let me know in the comments while I go and make a goober sandwich.